Auditory hallucinations in migraine.

Auditory hallucinations can be associated with chronic headaches, according to a report by our own Dr. Sara Crystal and three other neurologists from the Bronx.

These four doctors reported on 7 of their own patients and also described 8 patients previously reported in the medical literature. Half of the patients had migraine with aura. Regarding hallucination content, the most common sound was distinct human voices in 8 patients, followed by hearing crickets in 2, and ringing bells in another 2, general white noise, also in 2, and repetitive beeping in 1. Regarding timing, 12 experienced hallucinations along with the headache while 3 heard sounds prior to attacks. The duration of the auditory hallucinations was less than one hour but occasionally lasted 4-5 hours or for the duration of the headache. Ten patients had either a current or previous psychiatric disorder, mostly depression. Improvement in both headaches and auditory hallucinations occurred both spontaneously and when prophylactic medications were used, which included propranolol, topiramate, and amitriptyline.

In conclusion, auditory hallucinations are uncommon, but do occur before or during migraine attacks. They usually feature the sound of human voices. Because these are unusual manifestations of migraine, doctors should consider other possible causes, such as a brain tumor, epilepsy, or schizophrenia.

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