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Stacey Samuels-Cole, AuD
Music In My Ears Or Is It All In My Head? Part 2
Hearing Professionals Inc.
. http://www.hearing-professionals.com/

Music In My Ears Or Is It All In My Head? Part 2

Musical ear syndrome (MES) affects significant numbers of hard of hearing people. However, because few people are willing to admit to hearing musical phantom sounds, it is difficult to obtain accurate figures. The best estimates suggest that in excess of 10% of hard of hearing people experience these phantom sounds at one time or another.

Causes of Musical Ear Syndrome

There are a number of things that are thought to cause MES. The primary contender is lack of adequate auditory stimulation. The theory is that when your world becomes too quiet, your brain manufactures its own sounds. This is why MES is so common among elderly, hard of hearing people. First, they often have significant hearing losses. Second, they typically live in quiet environments. Third, they generally live alone after the death of a spouse. In addition, because of their hearing losses, hard of hearing people tend to withdraw from social situations and thus do not have much social interaction. This just further compounds their world of silence.

At the same time, hard of hearing people may feel depressed over their hearing losses and anxious about what is happening to them. This just exacerbates their phantom sounds.

Another cause of auditory hallucinations is drugs and medications. Elderly people tend to take more and more medications as they age. Unfortunately, numerous drugs can cause auditory hallucinations. In rare cases, brain abnormalities (tumors, infections) can cause auditory hallucinations. Have a neurologist check you out-especially if you do not fit the common profile of being elderly, hard of hearing and living in a quiet environment.

Controlling Musical Ear Syndrome

There are a number of things you can do to bring your auditory hallucinations under control. First, learn as much as you can about musical ear syndrome. This will reduce your fear and anxiety over the phantom sounds you are hearing. Second, enrich your environment with sounds. This gives your brain real sounds to listen to so it won't feel the need to generate its own phantom noises. Third, talk with your doctor regarding medications that may be causing your auditory hallucinations. Fourth, don't fixate on your phantom sounds. Instead, concentrate on the loves of your life and you will not notice them as much.

Finally, if you are hard of hearing and have diagnosed with MES or feel that the above symptoms describe what you have been experiencing, have your hearing evaluated by a doctor of audiology. The hearing professional will be able to work with you to explore auditory rehabilitation options that are best for you and your listening needs.

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