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Keywords:

  • migraine;
  • photophobia;
  • phonophobia;
  • discomfort thresholds;
  • age-related changes

This study investigated whether migraineurs are more sensitive to light and sound while headache-free than are: healthy people. Fifty-two migraineurs (mean age 39 years) were selected using the International Headache Society diagnostic criteria for migraine. Forty-eight healthy controls were matched for age, sex, and race (mean age 36 years). Visual and auditory discomfort thresholds were measured by exposing subjects to increasing light and sound until then complained of discomfort. There were significant differences; between groups in both the light discomfort threshold (P<0.90005) and the hearing discomfort threshold (P<0.0005) The thresholds for both were lower in the migraineurs.

Overall, for both groups together, there was a significant negative correlation between light discomfort threshold and age (correlation coefficient -0.2276, P=0.011), but not for the hearing discomfort threshold and age (P=0.275).

The results show that the migraineurs were significantly more sensitive to light and sound when headache-free than were healthy controls. The apparent increased intolerance to light in both groups together noted with increased age, did not apply to the migraine group.