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Unusual Migraine Symptoms: Earaches, Ear Pain

Unusual Migraine Symptoms: Earaches, Ear Pain

Do your ears ever hurt or burn like you have an earache? Does the pain come and go, but never lasts very long? Have you had a doctor look at your ears and tell you there’s no sign of infection? Migraine could be the culprit.

It sounds bizarre, but that’s exactly what I discovered after years of earaches that puzzled my doctors. I’ve since spoken to other migraineurs with the same experience.

For some, the pain is short-lived and usually comes in the prodrome phase of a migraine. Others have it throughout the migraine. Sometimes it’s a deep ache or a shooting pain, other times it’s an itching sensation; sometimes it’s exactly where you would expect an earache to be, other times it feels deeper in the ear or further down the neck.

Despite the anecdotal evidence, there’s not much research on the topic, which means that a reason for the ear pain is hard to come by. The doctors and dentists I’ve asked about this have given me two explanations. Trigeminal nerve activation is the most likely one. That’s the nerve that starts near the ear and has branches throughout the face and it is thought to be a key player in migraine pathophysiology. Another possible reason is irritation at the temporomandibular joint, which might flare up during a migraine due to teeth clenching or other factors.

The next question is how to treat the earaches. One small study by an ENT found that 92% of 26 patients in his practice who unexplained ear pain found relief from migraine treatment.1 That’s great if you have effective migraine abortives or preventives. If not, applying heat or an ice pack (whichever is more comfortable for you) to the location of the pain may provide some relief.

The good news is that your ears are probably fine (though you should get checked by a doctor to be sure). The bad news is that the treatment is the same thing you’re probably already searching for – helpful migraine medications (either abortives or preventives), other preventive treatments, and ways to avoid or minimize triggers.

Knowing the source of the ear pain has gone a long way toward relieving my anxiety about it. Sometimes it comes early enough in the migraine that it alerts me to take a triptan when it is most likely to be effective, which halts the migraine and the ear pain.

Do you have unusual ear pain, too? Have you noticed any connection to your migraine attacks? How do you soothe the pain?

Poll

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. Teixido, M., Seymour, P., Kung, B., Lazar, S., & Sabra, O. (2011). Otalgia associated with migraine. Otology & Neurotology, 32(2), 322-325.

Comments

  • Tatiana
    11 months ago

    Hello
    I was diagnosed with migraine 2 years ago but at the same time i feel pressure on both ears all the time. I am getting crazy and very depressed. No doctors can help me..when I am stood up it gets much worse. Please, help me.

  • LeilaniRL
    2 years ago

    My ears have started to hurt before or during my migraines. This started around September. In 2007, I started suffering from migraines without aura. Last year, I started to have migraines with a sensory aura (right arm and right side of face tingles). Last September I started on the ketogenic diet, which kept me migraine-free until August-September. Now I have an ear ache, nausea/vomiting, and vertigo along with the other stuff I already have.

    Blood work came back normal. Might get another MRI. Right now I’m taking 500mg of generic Aleve as my aborter and still on the keto-diet instead of using Topamax.

    I need help. I’m stuck at home, not safe for me to drive. 🙁

  • petitemathilde
    3 years ago

    I often experience earaches before or during my migraines but there is something else that still puzzles me after four years. Almost without a fail, I find a very small amount of dried blood in the outer part of my ear after a migraine. I usually notice it because the dried blood accumulates and it eventually bothers me. Up to now nobody ever addressed the issue that is seemingly not problematic since the bleeding is not internal. My hearing has never been affected so I have stopped worrying over it, but I am curious as to where that blood could come from.

  • Brooke H moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Petitemathilde,

    Thank you for taking the time to post your concerns. We’re glad you could relate with the article. That is a symptom to be curious about! If you haven’t already, it may be worth checking in with your medical professional. Glad to hear that the symptom doesn’t bother you and doesn’t affect your hearing. We appreciate you being a part of the community!

    Best,
    Brooke (Migraine.com team)

  • ProfTina
    3 years ago

    I’m still looking for a diagnosis after nearly 5 years and countless doctors. I was a migraine sufferer from my first menstrual cycle until I had a hysterectomy in 1993. As long as I take a minimal dosage of estrogen, I am headache free…..or am I? I have “pain attacks” that come out of the blue: Pain in my gums, ears, up the side of my neck with redness and a sensation of heat. Often they are movement or exercise related. They more often occur if I’ve eaten and alcohol is definitely a factor. it was my daughter, also a severe migraine sufferer, who clued me in to the fact that this could be migraine related. Pain relievers including percocet don’t work. I have to literally stand up and will myself to relax. After reading your posts, I’m thinking of going to see a migraine specialist. Maybe we’re on to something here.

  • 1soro31
    3 years ago

    I get the worst earaches with my migraines but botox for migraines helps a lot.

  • indianagirl
    3 years ago

    Whatever side my migraine is happening on, that ear’s auricle will just burn. it will feel hot to the touch and often times be visibly red. I also feel a fullness in that ear, and a pain deep inside the ear. It almost feels like fluid…I get some relief if I pop my ear, but the symptoms soon return. I wonder if I need to book an appointment to an ENT doctor…

    All of this is in addition to the usual migraine symptoms (sensitivity to light/sound/smells, nausea/vomiting, eye pain, neck pain, throbbing/pounding, etc).

  • POCKETFA
    3 years ago

    I wpuld like to know if any of you can actually “move your ears” I mean the muscles…I think it’s directly related to my deep ear pain that goes trough my neck.

    Sometimes I can relieve the pain by simply a long excercise of deep breathing and meditation…other times I just can’t even stand light, sound and even use a ear tampon to avoid the sensation of air “passing” trough my ear.

    I take “sumatriptan 50 or 100 mg” when necessary but try to avoid it since looks like migraine returns later.

    It triggers with bad sleeping, crying, depression and stressful days.

    I would really appreciate your answers since here in Mexico doctors seem to know nothing about it and this pain has been as long as 2 days.

  • jns192 moderator
    3 years ago

    Hello Pocketfa,
    Thank you for sharing your experience with us.
    In addition to the feedback you might get here, I thought you may also wish to pose your question on our forums
    and/or on our facebook visitor’s posts: to maximize your feedback:

    https://migraine.com/topic/ear-pain/
    https://www.facebook.com/MigraineDotCom/posts_to_page/

    If you haven’t already discussed your deep ear pain through your neck with your doctor, we encourage you to do so.

    Best,
    Jillian (Migraine.com Team)

  • Pam<3Tide
    4 years ago

    My ear on the side of my migraine gets red hot. The other side stays cool. It comes at the beginning of the migraine.

  • Christine Crawford
    4 years ago

    I’ve suffered with migraines for probably 30 years and within the last few years, have gotten them as close to under control as I think is possible. I used to go thru my 9 imitrex within 2 weeks of getting it filled. But since starting on a daily beta blocker (metaprolol) and being pre-menopausal, my 9 imitrex last me a few months now. However, within that same time frame, I have been experiencing a lot of issues with my ears. I definitely don’t get these symptoms directly related to a migraine attack but I do get these quite often, usually in one ear or the other but not both at the same time … my inner ears itch very badly, I get sudden stabbing pains that usually go away just as quickly, occasionally I have dull pain in my ear, just like an earache, and my jaw muscle will ache for what seems like no reason. Most of these symptoms occur totally separate from each other and, while they happen quite often, they do happen randomly. As I said, they’re not tied to a migraine episode. However, if I can tie them to my migraines at all, it will help my peace of mind some as my Dr hasn’t diagnosed me with an ear infection in over 10 years.

  • Christine Crawford
    4 years ago

    I forgot to mention one other symptom I get and that is the feeling of fluid in my ear. And it feels kind of like a sheet of fluid, sort of running down from the top. It’s the most bizarre feeling of all my symptoms.

  • Meaghan Coneys moderator
    4 years ago

    Hi Christina,

    Thank you for your comment and sharing your experience with us! I am sorry to hear you experience such intense ear pain and itchiness. It sounds like it is frustrating to not know if the symptoms are directly connected to chronic migraine. Know you are not alone. The following article discusses the same dilemma – https://migraine.com/blog/ear-pain-related/. It is written by a fellow migraineur who also experiences ear pain. You may find the community member comments helpful as well. Wishing you all the best today. Glad you are a part of our community!

    Warmly,

    Meaghan (Migraine.com Team)

  • Crystal Deeb
    4 years ago

    I’ve had constant ringing in my ears since June of last year and hyperacusis. It’s so painful. When I tried Topamax as a preventative it seemed to make me a chronic migraineur with the added ear sensitivity. Something as simple gently shutting a door or setting your glass down on the table makes my ears flutter or contract. I’m really not sure what term to use to describe it, so I went with both of those. I’ve tried Topamax and Verapamil and now I’m trying Adderall. Neither of the first two helped, the Adderall will give me a couple of hours pain free but I still get migraines everyday.

  • Crystal Deeb
    4 years ago

    Thank you Joanna 🙂

  • Joanna Bodner moderator
    4 years ago

    Hi Crystal, Thank you for your comment and I am so deeply sorry to hear you are suffering. While we are not permitted to provide medical advice for your safety and we always recommend speaking to your doctor (as it sounds like you already are given new treatments) regarding any new or worsening symptoms, but I wanted to share this article with you as you mention the symptom of ringing in your ears: https://migraine.com/blog/tinnitus/. Thanks again & hope you have a gentle night. Joanna (Migraine.com Team)

  • Debbie O'Brien
    4 years ago

    Quite often, ringing in my ears is a sign that I’m going to start a migraine.

  • Jan Flow
    4 years ago

    For some people, referred pain from the muscles can be a factor. A good self-help workbook that explains more and shows how you can self-treat is ‘The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook’ by Clair Davis and Amber Davis.

  • Laura Ritenour-Hollis
    4 years ago

    Does anyone else get the “rice crispies)snap crackle and pops in their head during migranes?

  • Michelle Rhodes
    4 years ago

    I had my rook pierced and that has helped as far as my head pain but my ears hurt constantly. I’m on migraine preventive meds daily. The pain gets unbearable at times.

  • Freckles
    4 years ago

    I have had moderate success with my ear pain by being treated for trigeminal neuralgia. Its a rare condition but a neurologist treats it as well as migraines. Yes, I still treat for migraines and TMJ, but this helps too.

  • Melissa
    4 years ago

    I get a variety of ear pains such as tingling, a crawling spider sensation, fullness and pressure, and always a buzzing ring.
    It’s enough to drive one mad.

  • Laura Ritenour-Hollis
    4 years ago

    Me too(the ringing) and along with migranes all my life I also have trigeminal neuralgia

  • EricRichard
    4 years ago

    I have had migraines since I was 11. They were worsened when I was in a accident at 16 and received a tbi. I get them a lot but today was a particularly bad day. The ear pain was completely new. Has never happened before but I just wanted to thank you for the information. I’m certainly going to talk to my doctor about it since it is new but I was quite worried it was an unsual problem. Thanks again. Good luck to you all.

  • jgknsh
    5 years ago

    I started having migraines a year ago. They came on strong and quickly, 24/7, and I’d never had one before. A month later they were followed by severe nerve pain, then ear pain. They thought it might be MS but it was ruled out. A year later I still have no answers, but at least it’s fairly under control. I still have headaches almost daily, but the migraines are not as frequent. The ear pain, however, is constant. Its deep but also behind my ear, and definately is exasperated by sound and wind. I’ve been told it’s TMJ but it’s not. I had it ruled out by a two doctors, and wind would not do anything to bother my ear if I had that. I also have constant nerve issues every day throughout my body (the top of my had kills in the afternoon and evening too, for example, until I take my meds) so I’m sure this is just another one of them. It’s so painful and cost me my job (I wore earphones). I wish there was something I could do besides take medicine. I take gabapentin, Topamax and bystolic. Of anyone has any thoughts, let me know.

  • bakeslady
    4 years ago

    For some reason, I considered the ear pain the beginning of a migraine right from the beginning and took my Imitrex and it worked. My headache specialist always said that if you have a headache or possible “sinus infection” and the Imitrex relieves it then it is a migraine. The ear pain is terrible like any other migraine headache and now, about 70% of my migraines involve ear pain. I also, take Topamax and propanol ER. I also found that Magnesium 450mg day was helpful but it gave me diarrhea. As a chronic migrainer, I get Botox injections every 3 months which also helps. So for all of you with ear pain, try your triptan medication next time. See if the pain goes away and let all of us know by posting here. It makes sense because of the Trigeminal Nerve location. Good Luck!

  • kmripple
    5 years ago

    Yes! Does anyone get “drippy ear”? It is almost like you have something mechanical, like a watch, inside your ear and you can feel the gears moving, going one, two, three. Or I also visualize it like a windmill, and you feel the movement of each bucket and a little water falls from a bucket every time the mill moves. It is the weirdest thing. I get it on both ears, but usually one ear at a time. When I feel it, I know my symptoms are ramping up. It makes me feel absolutely crazy!

  • Crystal Deeb
    4 years ago

    It might be Hyperacusis. I have that from my migraines.

  • Shaylie
    5 years ago

    This actually never occurred to me until I read this. I had a lot of ear infections as a baby and I had tubes in my ears when I was two. I started to get migraines when I was 11, and now just 6 years later, I have chronic migraines. I’ve been to the doctor numerous times thinking I had an ear infection, but the doctors always told me I was fine. Thinking about it now, it makes so much sense that my ear pain is connected to my migraines. Thank you for writing about this, it makes me feel less crazy and paranoid.

  • jen
    5 years ago

    I too have had ear pain and went to the Dr thinking it was an ear infection but it wasn’t. She referred me to an ENT but I never went. I bought a mouth guard I wear at night. I don’t wear it every night but I probably should. Its not one of the cheapo ones. If you try it get a good quality one. I have been diagnosed with TMJ along with my chronic migraines. So the Dr said the pain could be from me clenching that muscle by the ear. It has helped when I wear it,but it gets annoying lol so I don’t always do it.

  • Carmela H.
    5 years ago

    yes yes yes my ears get so under pressure now it started about a year ago and its just getting worse, I have had migraines for about 25 years now but not this ear pain pressure, and its not thru the opening of the ear but by the temple,jaw area, if it weren’t for the rescue meds I think that my head would explode, it is so good to hear that I am not the only one with this I was sure that I had an infection, but the drs tell me that my ears look fine. I cant imagine that since during a headache it is so bad. lately it has gotten more intense and the meds help the migraine but just lessens the ear pressure, I already take very hot showers and that help some when I keep my face under the hot water. not too good for the skin, but as I am sure you all know that is nothing compared to the migraine pain. any sugggestions out there.

  • Betsy Thompson
    5 years ago

    I experience more earaches now than the vision problems(incredible brightness of lights or sun). And I seem to be almost hyper sensitive to sounds. I also have sinus problems so I was just including the earaches to that. hmmm…. but I don’t know how to “classify” my migraines. All I know is that I can tell you what the weather is like by my headaches! I am curious as to how many chronic migraine patients ALSO have fibromyalgia or irritable bowel syndrome too…. I am just sooooo tired of having 28 + days per month of headaches. And the only thing that I can take is a generic comparable to Excedrin Headache. I am also Bipolar Manic, and so I have a lot of problems trying to find preventatives that don’t make the Mania worse….:-( But… I am hopeful that soon there may be some new meds to help us out!!! Btw…..has anyone tried acupuncture for migraine management? Just curious. Well, thx for posting such helpful articles! It makes me feel less alone knowing that there are others that share my whatevers too! LOL!! Hope you all have a good and low pain weekend!!! Love & Peace!!!

  • Teresa
    4 years ago

    Have you tried Depakote (generic is Divalproex)? It is a med for Bipolar, but is also a good prophylactic for migraines. I was on it for years, but just recently got off of it, because I am very susceptible to side effects, and the effects of the Depakote became too bad to be worth what relief it gave me. My husband is on it as well, but for bipolar. I also have migraines almost every day, and the Depakote gave me about 5 straight days with no headaches each month. Those 5 days were the most amazing days of my life, although no one else understood.

    Back on topic, I had to have tubes in my ears when I was only a few days old, and then again when I was 2. I have had problems with my ears for as long as I can remember, including tinnitus, but I never thought to equate them with my migraines, even though I have been getting weird symptoms for several years, and I also had a doctor tell me there was nothing wrong. I have had stabbing pain, dull aching, intense itching (that I could never seem to scratch in the right place, lol), feeling of fluid in my ear, pain when I move my jaw, etc. Practically every type of pain that you could attribute to your ear. Great to know that I am not alone, or just crazy, lol.

  • katecloquet
    5 years ago

    Wow! Great article! I often get piercing/stabbing inner ear pain before I get a migraine. My neurologist stated that’s so unusual, so this makes me feel not alone. Thanks!

  • Amy
    5 years ago

    I can’t believe you posted about this. I am at the tail end of one of my 5 day break through migraines and I am having the stabbing pain in my right ear usually in the evening and the pain runs from my ear down about mid neck. I find comfort in the fact that I am not the only one that has ear pain with migraines.

  • M2the4
    5 years ago

    I experience this a lot. One day it was impairing my ability to breathe. Because I had this tightness from the ear ache go into my jaw and down my neck and back and I am in my 60s, I finally went to the hospital. They were all concerned with a heart attack as pain and tightness going down the neck is one of the symptoms of that. I stayed three hours and nothing showed on the monitors. Blood pressure normal. No signs of any heart issues. They sent me home but said to come back if it reoccurred. Well it occurs often and the migraine meds stop it, I know what it is. It gets harder when you age because certain meds are out and other medical issues arise complicating things. Thank you for confirming the ear ache part of the migraine. This site supports me in ways I’m sure you never imagined!

  • tammay
    5 years ago

    I’d say that probably in the last year or so I’ve had earaches added to my migraine symptoms. They are usually pretty low grade, though. They come during the migraine episode. In fact, I am on day 3 of a migraine episode now and I’m having a bit of an earache in addition to head pain (though, since it’s day 3, it’s relatively low grade so I can at least function).

    Tam

  • Star71
    5 years ago

    I a daily migraine sufferer and have been since age 13.
    I take 400mg. of Topamax a day.
    The pain is still severe.
    My doctor finally ordered a MRI, and I too have the ear pain, itching and ringing.
    I’m hoping it shows something, I’m to the point where I want to just scoop my brain out w/ an ice cream scooper.

  • Mitchell
    5 years ago

    My headaches were getting worse,no sleep,it was a matter of time before it came.I was outside shoveling snow came in and my left ear was clogged?About a hour later it was like a blown up balloon and someone was letting the air out slowly.My left ear would hurt on and off and got a crackling sound also.I finally went to a ear specialist and I’m getting MRI for brain and internal auditory canals,which comes down to tinnitus and migraine headache?It seemed the ear doctor new that there was a connection!I”m getting my mri next week and will come back with the results but I say to all migraine people look up TINNITUS and review your symtoms about this,i was floored………….Droverdude

  • RHgriggs
    5 years ago

    Wow!! I get ear pain but never associated it as a migraine precursor. I read this trick somewhere on Facebook and it really works:

    Put a small drop of Olive Oil on a Q-tip and rub in your ear.

    Don’t know how or why it works, but stops the pain everytime !!!

  • B. Morebello
    5 years ago

    This is so crazy, I have been having the worst earache off and on but my doc always says my ear is fine, but she’s never mentioned that it could be a part of my migraine! And I’ve been trying everything, drops in my ear, ear ache meds, garlic oil! But the only thing that kind of helps is an ice pack and massaging a pain ointment all around my ear and neck.. it’s been bothering me for at least 2 years, I thought I was going crazy, thank you so much for posting this, I really thought I was going insane, it helps so much to know that I’m not the only one with weird migraine symptoms..

  • Dorothyofoz
    5 years ago

    My ears itch but I’ve never associated it with the migraine. Thanks for bringing up this topic. Anything that gives me a forewarning is very helpful in treating the migraine before the headache starts.

  • Martha
    5 years ago

    WOW! This is such a great finding … I have been experiencing bizarre earaches (always in my right ear) but rather sporadically. I haven’t visited a doctor about them because the pain is so inconsistent. I would never have thought to correlate them to my migraines but now I will start paying closer attention to them. Thank you for sharing this information – it might just clear up what’s been a mystery for a while now!

  • Chrystal ann
    5 years ago

    I don’t have typical migranes but found this site because of bizarre symptoms that have been occuring for nearly a year now. It started with fullness, pressure, and pain in my right ear and then progressed to sinus pain, right eye pain, right front neck pain, jaw pain, and insanely painful stabbing pain behind my right eye that was gone with a few seconds but recurred several times a week. The pain behind my eye really scared me. I worried I had an aneurysm and tumor. Being a RN I’ve turned into quite the hypochrondriac. After numerous rounds of antibiotics for ear and sinus infections I finally had a sinus CT and was told by my ENT that I didn’t have a sinus infection and my ears were fine. He thought I had TMJ and referred me to my dentist who said no. I then made a neurologist appt and within a few minutes he diagnosed me with occipital neuralgia and did an occipital nerve block and 3 days of prednisone. I had 5 days of bad headaches and then my symptoms all began to subside. I see a chiropractor regularly now because I’ve found I have trigger points near my right shoulder blade that cause the same symptoms when pushed upon. I get routine trigger point massages and this helps a lot. When I quit going my symptoms return within a few weeks. I still have daily “underwater” sound in my right ear and frequent itchy ears but have a more manageable life. I also had a MRI which was negative. My neurologist gave me samples of Relpax which I have not taken yet because my head pain is severe and fleeting (thank god). I am starting to get more right temple pain and I wonder if I have trigeminal nerve involvement too. I am getting trigger point injections next week to see if I can get longer term relief. I am otherwise a healthy active 38 y/o. I still think that most of this issue is stress related and have tried accupuncture, meditation, etc without improvement. I would love to hear from anyone out there with similar symptoms because I feel like I’m crazy most of the time.

  • Jovial Tam
    5 years ago

    I have a minor earache right before a major migraine. The first time I made the correlation between the migraine and the earache I had been swimming in the ocean. I assumed I had gotten water in my ear. I have no idea how long I’ve been experiencing this symptom (years?) but had never connected the dots. I usually take Sudafed. Realizing, of course, it may not be helping.

  • Christian
    5 years ago

    I also have TMJ, and.often find that it coincides with migraines. It is quite annoying, and mixture of pain from different areas can become too much.

  • Karen Todd
    5 years ago

    I began having chronic migraines in my fifties almost 20 years ago. Jaw pain was often the first symptom. The pain was almost always one sided, but symptoms changed through the years to the top of my head, often a band around my head, and often starting with neck pain. Now I am back to jaw pain and lately I have been having ear pain. Doctors never can find anything wrong, as others have mentioned. Today I had very severe ear pain leading to a migraine. I kept thinking, this is crazy, I am having a migraine in my ear! I sometimes get relief from the ear pain using nasal irrigation if I catch it soon enough and by massaging my outer ear. But this was not an option today. Someone mentioned that ear buds can be irritating, this morning I was actually participating in a competition shooting event and my custom fitted ear plugs definitely exacerbated the pain. I also have constant ringing in my ears which started in my youth long before I ever had a migraine. It was mild then, but has become very loud and annoying as I have grown older. Shooting may have something to do with it, but I always use ear protection. I understand that NSAIDs can cause the ringing also, and I have used lots of those for my migraines. I would welcome any suggestions for mitigation of the ringing. It is helpful and somewhat comforting to discover that others share the same problems that I experience.

  • Judie
    5 years ago

    I’m an RN & I always thought a migraine was a “bad headache” until I had one. This is one of those things you to experience to understand. I had ear pain the other day which really puzzled me because I was fine otherwise , until I read this post , then it made sense, it happens occasionally but I never could figure out why. This site has been very helpful to me & many others, I feel less isolated & alone to hear other peoples experiences.

  • sanspen
    5 years ago

    My usual migraines always start with an earache (lately they’ve been changing and I’m gettingba new type that starts with ringing ears instead, joy). When I mentioned the ear symptoms to my doctor he said they are auditory aura. I also notice that after migraines, my ears will have produced more ear wax and that if I keep the ear canals clean, it can help prevent another migraine. Weird, huh?

  • Piglet
    5 years ago

    As a warning sign of upcoming migraine, i get what i can only describe as a cramp on the outside top cartilage of my ear, quite uncomfortable. No one seems to think an ear can get a cramp of course. During a migraine my ears feel itchy inside and ear buds are bothersome. Anyone else?

  • TracyM09
    5 years ago

    Last month I started getting this weird super high pitch ringing in my ear, they came just before/as a Migraine hit. It doesn’t last more than 2 minutes, however, it’s absolute torture while it’s there. I’ve never had an ear infection though. I just got my knee replaced so infections are a No Go!!

  • marycr8on
    5 years ago

    I have ear pain associated with my migraines too. Mine starts after the full-blown migraine and to me, they get hot and feel like my ears are bleeding. As a child, I used to hear sounds that no one else did, sort of like the sound of a broken incandescent light bulb. I still get the same full feeling in my ears, just before the migraine starts. I’m not sure if that’s related or not, but I have never been a fan of loud noises. I don’t do well in a situations like a band playing in a small bar or the sound bouncing off walls.

  • Amie Marie
    5 years ago

    I triggered such an migraine cycle with fourth of July fireworks. We really aren’t sure why it is happening, but it always happens after a really bad cycle, that I spent days in bed. I have chronic migraines, and a day or two doesn’t “trigger” it, 5 days or more. I agree fully with Brian from TN, which is why I posted about it. This site has made me feel more normal, for lack of a better term, then I have felt for 25 plus years of dealing with this. Glad to hear from others that what is my everyday normal is somewhat normal, at least for a migraine suffer.

  • Brian in TN
    5 years ago

    At least weekly since I found this sight I have and OMG moment where I have been ignoring something because it’s not as bad as my migraines turns out to be something related to my migraines. An earache that only lasts 1 day, pshaw, I don’t have time to worry about that. I keep getting a better picture of what this condition is really doing to me and to my life, and at the same time I find dozens of people who understand exactly what is happening to me. I want to thank everyone who contributes to this sight and especially the sight admins, you are all truly life savers.

  • Kerrie Smyres moderator author
    5 years ago

    Thank you, Brian. Your comment made me tear up. I’m so glad you find the site helpful. Lots of kind and knowledgeable people pour their hearts into it.

    Your response to the earache was the same as mine — what’s the big deal when I can barely get out of bed due to migraine. Finding out it was connected to migraine was a revelation and may actually help with treatment. I also discovered that my tooth sensitivity and feeling like I had something in my eye (or a torn contact lens) were also caused by migraine. These all indicate trigeminal involvement, so I’m going to look into trigeminal nerve blocks as a possible treatment. I don’t care so much about those symptoms, but targeting a nerve clearly involved in my migraines may reduce the frequency or severity of my attacks.

    Sorry for the long-winded reply. I wanted to share in case it might help you unravel some of your migraine mysteries and treatments.

    Take care,
    Kerrie

  • Amie Marie
    5 years ago

    I have been getting these freakish ear infections. Not only do I get an inner ear infection, but in less than a day I will have a big skin infection busting out from the the skin all around the ear. It has to be migraine related. It has occurred after a really bad cycle that had me flat in bed. Lying on that side a lot. But we keep doing tests, and there is nothing that shows why I am getting infection in the ear, and it bursts & infecting the skin around it.

  • Kerrie Smyres moderator author
    5 years ago

    Amie Marie, wow, that sounds awful. I haven’t heard of that happening before. I’m sorry you have to deal with such a mystery. Best of luck getting it sorted out.

    Kerrie

  • Sara
    5 years ago

    I also get ear pain during migraines. However, having fluid (even clear) on my ears is a migraine trigger for me…so sometimes it is a chicken or the egg scenario. My doctor prescribed a nasal spray which seems to help reduce the fluid and make it more likely that it’s just a migraine symptom.

  • Sara
    5 years ago

    Sometimes I think yes, but my diagnosis is basilar type.

  • Kerrie Smyres moderator author
    5 years ago

    That’s interesting, Sara. Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m curious, do you have vestibular migraine?

    Kerrie

  • kim716
    5 years ago

    I went to my doctor several times for an ear infection and she would tell me my ears looked fine. We finally decided it was a migraine symptom, but she referred me to an ENT just to be sure there wasn’t something else wrong. He did a pretty thorough exam and told me that he thought I had a headache condition that was manifesting in my ear – pretty accurate. My doctor gave me some drops for the pain, but they don’t really help.
    For a long time, I struggled to find anyone else mention ear pain, but it’s nice to know that other people have problems with it too.

  • Kerrie Smyres moderator author
    5 years ago

    Kim, you’re definitely not alone with this weird migraine symptom!

    Take care,
    Kerrie

  • Jack
    5 years ago

    I occasionally have an earache on the right side, but a larger problem is the toothaches. I have full dentures top and bottom. Frequently teeth I don’t have will ache.

  • Doug
    5 years ago

    I get pain directly behind my ears during many of my migraines. My migraines are usually on one side of the head up higher than the ears. The ear pain is almost always on the same side of the head as the migraine. It often feels like pain is starting from the ear and extending throughout the rest of the head either in all directions or on a horizontal plane. It does sometimes spread down the neck, which can be rapid and jarring. Often the pain feels like an ear infection, but it’s obvious from the pattern of it that it is migraine connected.

    My chiropractor does not think I have a TMJ issue. My neurologist always checks my ears but doesn’t seem to have found any signs of infection. He is aware of the ear pain. I have a suspicion that there is a connection to hearing damage that I obtained over years of performing music and attending performances without proper ear protection. I often get ringing in my ears because of it, especially the right ear, which is the side of my head that gets worse migraines and worse ear pain. However, to my knowledge there are no studies tying hearing damage to migraines. The trigeminal nerve does seem to be a likely culprit.

    This further shows how much more studying needs to be done on migraines. We still have barely scratched the surface of this disease. We need more funding, more studies, and more doctors who are interested in studying migraines.

  • Doug
    5 years ago

    Thank you, Katie and Kerrie, for the replies. I think it is much more likely that my hearing damage was self-inflicted prior to the onset of my migraines than caused by my migraines. However, your hypotheses could suggest that my migraines worsened the damage. I exposed my ears to high decibel environments for long periods of time without ear protection from age 14 until my twenties. I did not get serious about hearing protection until I was already experiencing ringing, pain, and mild hearing loss. Some of those symptoms subsided considerably when I began using earplugs, but about 6 months into this chronic migraine phase they got worse again.

  • Kerrie Smyres moderator author
    5 years ago

    Doug, I also get ringing in my ear and temporary hearing loss on the side of my migraine pain. For me, both are caused by migraine, rather than the other way around. I don’t have any permanent hearing damage though. And, yes, I agree that we need more research!

    Take care,
    Kerie

  • Katie M. Golden moderator
    5 years ago

    Gmusic,
    I did some quick research on any studies between hearing damage and migraines. I came across this one case study that hypothesizes that migraine did have an impact on the hearing of one patient. Warning- the study is very scientific and goes into depth on the procedures used to study the brain. I just thought you might be interested. http://archneur.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=777903

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