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Hearing Blog

I keep hearing the same music over and over

September 24, 2020

Many people will have an occasional ringing or buzzing in the ear. It may even be a clicking or a chirping, rushing or whooshing. These sounds are considered tinnitus. They may be constant or intermittent. They are a form of auditory hallucinations.

Musical Hallucinations are a complex form of auditory hallucinations. People will hear melodies, music or actual songs. Musical hallucinations are infrequent. They have been linked to depression, psychiatric illness ... such as schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorders. It is important to note that even though it is linked to psychiatric environments ... it is not the most common cause. Musical Hallucinations are most prevalent in patients with neurological pathologies. They are associated with temporal lobe lesion. There may be vascular cerebral disease, epilepsy, or Parkinson’s. People who are obsessive compulsive or OCD and undergo added or excessive stress may have periods of Musical Hallucinations.  

Often the Musical Hallucinations are in the form of songs or melodies from childhood.  From an easier time in life. It may not be the whole song. It may just be a few repetitive lyrics. Unfortunately, most people do not welcome the music.  It is very disconcerting.  

Severe and even moderate hearing loss when auditory deprivation is present can bring about Musical Hallucinations. Auditory deprivation is when your brain can no longer process information from the ear due to lack of stimulation.  The main cause of this is having a hearing loss and refusing to wear a hearing aid to stimulate the brain.  Auditory Deprivation = “use it or lose it.”   

Risk factors of experiencing Musical Hallucinations are being female and of advanced age ... above 60. Some medications may contribute but it is rare. Brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, hearing loss and even substance abuse are common causes of Musical Hallucinations.  
There is no cure for Musical Hallucinations.  There are treatments....first the underlying reason needs to be discovered. If depression or OCD is a contributor then medicine may alleviate the Musical Hallucinations. If a hearing loss is the problem then treating the hearing loss with the very best hearing instruments will provide proper stimulus to the brain to alleviate the unwanted music. In a study by the
Professor of Cognitive Neurology, Newcastle University; Tim Griffiths... it was discovered that providing the brain with increased or amplified external music allowed the brain to dissociate itself with the phantom Musical Hallucinations and carry on more normally and provide reduced level of stress. “Listening to music actually suppressed the hallucinations.” 

Additionally, Dr. Tim Griffiths study proves that “Better hearing aids also appear to help suppress hallucinations, so we would advise people who are experiencing musical hallucinations to seek medical attention, if for nothing more that to ensure they have the best available hearing aids.”   

The results of this study confirm our beliefs.  We have had a few patients over the years that have experienced Musical Hallucinations.  Providing the best hearing possible and thus reducing their daily stress levels have provided much welcome relief.  If you are experiencing Musical Hallucinations then reach out for help.  Let us help you to develop a plan to combat that unwanted music today!         
To Hear Better Is To Hear Better.


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