Otoacoustic emission (OAE) testing enables us to identify the cochlear component of a hearing disorder and to monitor objectively minute changes in cochlear status undetectable by other audiological methods. Contralateral sound-induced suppression is mediated by medial superior olivary complex efferents which induce hyperpolarization counteracting the amplifying effects of outer hair cell (OHC) activity. The aim of this study was to assess functions of cochlea and its efferents in migraine using OAE testing and contralateral suppression of transiently evoked OAEs (TEOAE). Fifty-three migraineurs (106 ears) and 41 healthy subjects (82 ears) were included and pure tone audiometry (PTA), speech discrimination scores (SDS), distortion product OAE (DPOAE), TEOAE and contralateral suppression of TEOAEs were tested. PTA and SDS of migraineurs and controls were not different (P > 0.05). DPOAEs were tested between 1 and 6 kHz and a significant difference was detected only at 5 kHz frequency, where DPOAE amplitudes in migraine with aura (MA) were lower than in controls (P < 0.03). The mean amplitudes of TEOAEs were statistically insignificant between controls and migraine groups. Contralateral sound stimulus induced significant decrease in amplitudes of TEOAE (P = 0.005) in controls. In patients with migraine without aura and MA, mean amplitudes of TEOAEs were not suppressed by contralateral sound stimulus (P > 0.05). As PTA, SDS and DPOAE tests demonstrate normal functioning of inner ear between 1 and 4 kHz, absence of suppression of the TEOAEs by contralateral sound stimulation indicates the presence of dysfunction either in the medial olivocochlear complex in the brainstem or at the synaptic transmission between olivocochlear efferents and OHCs in the cochlea. Disruption in the contralateral suppression may be one of the mechanisms predisposing to the phonophobia symptom associated with migraine headache.