Why Does My Head Hurt When I Listen to Music?


Music is an essential part of our lives, and many of us cannot imagine going a day without listening to our favorite tunes. It can be relaxing, motivating, and even therapeutic. But some people experience a strange phenomenon: they get a headache when they listen to music. If you’re one of these people, you’re probably wondering what is causing this pain. In this article, we’ll explore the reasons behind why your head hurts when you listen to music and what you can do about it.

Noise-Induced Headaches

One of the most common reasons why your head hurts when you listen to music is because of noise-induced headaches. These headaches occur due to exposure to loud noises for an extended period. When you listen to music, you could be unknowingly exposing yourself to sounds that are too loud, which can lead to a headache. Below are some points to consider:

  • Listening to music at full volume can cause hearing damage.
  • Wearing headphones for extended periods can cause discomfort and headaches.
  • Noise-induced headaches can be mild or severe, depending on the level of exposure.

To prevent noise-induced headaches, make sure you listen to music at a moderate volume and take breaks to give your ears a rest.

listen to music
listen to music

Migraines Triggered by Music

For some people, listening to music can trigger a migraine headache. This type of headache is different from a regular headache and can be much more severe. A migraine is a neurological condition that causes an intense, throbbing pain, usually on one side of the head. It is often accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound.

  • Migraines triggered by music are more common in people who already suffer from migraines.
  • Certain types of music, like heavy metal and techno, can trigger migraines more than others.
  • Listening to music with a low-frequency beat can also be a trigger.

If you suffer from migraines triggered by music, you may want to avoid certain types of music or listen to music at a lower volume.

Tension Headaches

Listening to music can also cause tension headaches, which are commonly triggered by stress and anxiety. Tension headaches can cause pressure and pain in the head and neck region and can last for a few hours to a few days.

  1. Stressful life situations, like work or relationship problems, can trigger tension headaches
  2. Listening to relaxing music, like classical music, can help alleviate stress and prevent tension headaches.
  3. Taking breaks and practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing can also be helpful.

Ear Infections

In some cases, a headache when listening to music can be a symptom of an underlying ear infection. The middle ear, where the eardrum is, is responsible for transmitting sounds to the inner ear. Infections in this area can cause pain and discomfort.

  • Other symptoms of an ear infection include ear pain, discharge, and fever.
  • If you suspect an ear infection, see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Sensitivity to Sound

Some people are more sensitive to sound than others, and loud music can trigger a headache. This sensitivity can be due to certain medical conditions, like hyperacusis or tinnitus.

  1. Hyperacusis is a condition where normal sounds are perceived as being too loud.
  2. Tinnitus is a condition that causes a ringing or buzzing in the ears.
  3. People with these conditions may have a lower threshold for sound and can develop headaches more easily.

If you suspect you have hyperacusis or tinnitus, consult with an audiologist for proper diagnosis and treatment.


Lastly, dehydration can also be a cause of headaches when listening to music. Dehydration can cause the brain to shrink, which can lead to pain and discomfort.

  1. Drinking water before and during listening to music can prevent dehydration and headaches.
  2. Caffeinated drinks like coffee and soda can have a diuretic effect and dehydrate you even further.


There are many reasons why your head might hurt when you listen to music. It could be due to noise-induced headaches, migraines triggered by music, tension headaches, ear infections, sensitivity to sound, or dehydration. Understanding the cause of your headache can help you prevent and treat it. Be sure to listen to music at a moderate volume, take breaks, avoid triggering music, practice relaxation techniques, and stay hydrated to reduce the risk of a headache. Also, if your headache is severe and persists for an extended period, don’t hesitate to see a doctor.


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