Nothing throws you for a loop like when you swear you can hear something that doesn’t seem to have an explanation. If what you heard really doesn’t have a source, it might be an “auditory hallucination.” It can range from a simple sound to hearing music so clearly, it’s hard to believe there’s no band or radio nearby.
Often, what people hear is voices. Sometimes, they’re mean, critical voices. But others might be neutral or even pleasant.
No matter what the sound is, it’s a clear sign to go talk to your doctor. The sooner you do, the quicker you can find out what’s going on and get treated.
Causes of Auditory Hallucinations
Mental illness is one of the more common causes of auditory hallucinations' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' >hallucinations, but there are a lot of other reasons, including:
- Bipolar disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
- Major depressive disorder
- Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Schizoaffective disorder
Your doctor will start with your health history and symptoms. You may answer questions like:
- What are you hearing? Voices? Buzzing? Other sounds?
- When did it start?
- Does it tend to happen at certain times, like as you’re falling asleep?
- Do you have any other symptoms when it happens?
- If it’s voices, are they threatening, rude, pleasant, or normal?
- What medicines are you taking?
- Are you using any other drugs?
After that, you’ll get some tests based on what your doctor thinks might be the cause. For example, your doctor might suggest you see a psychiatrist to check for a mental illness.
You could have some tests based on what your doctor thinks might be the cause:
- Electroencephalogram (EEG): This measures electrical signals in your brain, to look for epilepsy.
- Hearing exam: This checks for hearing loss or tinnitus.
The goal is to help your doctor narrow down what might be happening.
This depends on what’s causing you to hear things. Sometimes, once you and your doctor solve that problem, the hallucinations go away, or at least may not happen as much.
In some cases, there’s an easy solution. Your doctor may lower the dose of a medicine you take. In others, treatment is more complex, and you may need to try several things to see what works. For example, with an illness like schizophrenia, you might need a mix of medications, therapy, and other care.
Read more on: schizophrenia