Patient Blogs | Migraine
What the Power of Silence Means For Migraine Warriors
photo of woman sleeping under blanket on sofa

The noise of the world exhausts me on a good day. On a migraine day, the noise of the world is nauseating, literally. Those who have migraine need no explanation of what I mean. The power of silence possesses a convenient spot in the seasoned migraineur’s toolbelt.

Sensitivity to sound is a common symptom of a migraine episode. To be clear, I’m not referring to sensitivity to crazy loud sounds like alarms, sirens, a rock concert, or the round house filled with screaming Wichita State University Shocker basketball fans. Think in terms of everyday sounds at a normal level:

  • Words spoken in a conversation at work
  • The dialogue between characters in a television show
  • The ringing of a doorbell and a friendly greeting from a guest
  • A family member laughing, coughing, or sneezing a few feet away from you
  • An average volume ringtone of your cell phone

These simple, low-decibel sounds can be like sharp little daggers of noise piercing the brain during a migraine attack. As the episode progresses, the pain becomes more intense and is accompanied by waves of nausea.

Over the decades, I’ve learned that slight sensitivity to regular sounds can be an early warning system. Early detection is a key element in taking down a migraine before it takes me down. The sooner I take medication, the better chance the migraine will be eliminated before it leaves me curled up in a fetal position waiting for the vomiting phase to begin.

It’s not always easy to tell if my sensitivity to a sound is because of an impending migraine or not. This is when I rely on the people around me to understand what I need to know. It’s important to educate your family, friends, and co-workers about your illness.

“Does the television seem loud to you?” I’ll ask my husband. The answer I want to hear is, “Oh, yes. I had to turn the volume up for the show we were watching last night, and I forgot to turn it back down.” Too many times the answer I hear is, “No, it isn’t. Are you having a migraine? Do you need me to turn the volume down?”

It’s nice to have a supportive spouse who is willing to quiet the noise for me. Sometimes quieting the noise isn’t enough though. Some migraine episodes need the peaceful bliss of silence to remove the sharp blades of sound from my head.

Retreating from life to my dark, quiet bedroom is necessary at times. The blackout shades deny access to painful light from the windows, the closed door keeps household sounds at bay, and I head straight to bed. My head hits the pillow, my eyes close, and I wrap myself in the power of silence.

As I exhale, a little bit of my pain and nausea exit my body, replaced by a sense of peace and hope. Peace doesn’t eliminate the pain, but it helps calm my perspective and allows me to remember the pain isn’t forever. There will be relief.

Silence isn’t a magical cure for an attack, but it does ease the burden a little. Even a small amount of temporary relief is a welcome friend during a painful, nauseating migraine episode. This is the power of silence.


Tap into a community of fellow migraineurs on Facebook. Learn, share, connect in our Migraine Support Community.



Photo Credit: izusek via Getty Images

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Tammy Hader

Tammy Hader

Diagnosed since 1986

Tammy Hader has been a migraine warrior for over 5 decades. A staunch proponent of migraine management, she has developed the knowledge base to help her navigate relationships, an accounting career, and many lifecycle changes. Hader lives with her husband and cat in southcentral Kansas and enjoys writing, cooking, hiking, and football season. Follow her on Twitter, Medium and Bizcatalyst360.

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