Sound sensitivity is a common symptom for migraine sufferers, often exacerbating their condition. For many, avoiding any form of noise serves as a palliative measure during migraine episodes.
Yet, this approach isn’t universally effective, spurring interest in alternative treatments like sound therapy.
This article scrutinizes existing evidence on the effectiveness of music therapy and binaural beats in mitigating the symptoms of migraines.
Does Music Therapy Help in Treating Headaches and Migraines?
While some claim that music alleviates their migraine symptoms, scientific backing is limited.
A study in 2021 with a small sample of 20 adults suffering from episodic migraines showed promising results: approximately half experienced a 50% reduction in migraine episodes after listening to music daily for three months.
Conversely, a 2013 study indicated that children undergoing music therapy experienced a similar 20% reduction in headache frequency, comparable to a placebo group.
A more substantial body of research exists on the efficacy of music therapy for stress reduction, a pertinent point considering stress is a key trigger for migraines in many individuals.
What Kind of Music is Beneficial for Migraine Sufferers?
In the 2021 study, the therapy utilized instrumental music from diverse genres such as classical, jazz, and world music. The study suggests that instrumental compositions with slower tempos (40-80 beats per minute) may be more conducive to relaxation.
Consulting with a certified music therapist can help tailor a more effective listening program for you.
What are Binaural Beats and Their Role in Migraine Treatment?
Binaural beats occur when the brain processes two slightly different sound frequencies, creating a perceived third tone. These beats could potentially normalize abnormal brain wave frequencies associated with migraines, providing relief.
Evidence for Binaural Beats in Migraine Therapy
The use of binaural beats for migraine treatment remains understudied. A 2019 study, however, recorded a marginal reduction in the monthly frequency of headaches among its participants over a three-month period. Still, there was no significant difference between the group that listened to binaural beats and a control group.
Some studies indicate that binaural beats may help in chronic pain management, although these studies did not exclusively focus on migraine sufferers.
Which Frequencies are Optimal for Migraine Relief?
Due to limited research, the ideal frequency of binaural beats for migraine relief remains ambiguous. It’s generally recommended to align binaural beat frequencies with natural brain waves for potential benefit.
Are Binaural Beats Risky for Migraine Patients?
The safety of binaural beats for those with migraines is largely unknown due to sparse research. Some adverse effects, such as worsening migraine symptoms, have been reported.
Other potential concerns include disturbances in focus and mental health, although these risks are not well-understood.
Sounds to Avoid if You Suffer from Migraines
Migraine sufferers often have altered sound perception, making even usually pleasant sounds, like bird calls, irritating. Avoiding loud, high-frequency noises is generally advised.
If you find that specific sounds, including music or binaural beats, exacerbate your symptoms, it’s best to steer clear of them when a migraine is imminent or occurring.