Everyone hears sounds in their ears at some point. But this could be the music ear syndrome if the sound is a real song that no one else can hear. This is also known as tinnitus and affects many more people than you might think.
For example, about 15% of the population suffers from music ear syndrome in the United States alone, according to the American Tinnitus Association (ATA). This percentage shows how important it is to know what it is about.
What is music ear syndrome?
You already have an idea of what music ear syndrome is, but we will explain it in more detail, because many people are not familiar with it. We will base these explanations on the article “Frequently Seen But Rarely Diagnosed: Musical Ear Syndrome”. This syndrome is also known by its acronym: MES.
This condition is a type of disability. However, it is not psychiatric, but auditory, because it looks at the music that people perceive. It’s a kind of hallucination. The article also mentions that this condition is related to Charles Bonnet syndrome.
Charles Bonnet syndrome consists of visual hallucinations. People with this disability experience them as a result of irreversible myopia or blindness. Well, musical ear syndrome is similar, only it affects the ears instead of the eyes.
How common is it?
We have already mentioned that about 15% of the American population suffers from music ear syndrome. However, the figures are even more alarming according to a survey conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In fact, this authority claims that about 20 million Americans have to deal with this syndrome on a regular basis.
There are also claims that about two million people experience severe forms of musical tinnitus. This means that the disease affects their daily lives, social relationships and how they work.
Other data presented by the ATA indicate that tinnitus is more common in men than in women, as well as in the elderly and music lovers (or musicians). Those who work in environments where there is a lot of noise and those who have held military positions also fall into this category.
Causes of music ear syndrome
Musical ear syndrome does not appear suddenly. This is why there are various causes identified, such as hyperacusis. People who have been exposed to high volumes of sound for a long time may experience this problem.
Also, the reason why the disease affects the elderly is hearing loss. As with Charles Bonnet syndrome, hallucinations can occur in an attempt to compensate for decreased function when a sense begins to fade.
As the above article explains, researchers believe that the source of phantom sounds is the hypersensitivity of the auditory cortex. In this case, it is not just any sounds, but songs. In other words, we are talking about auditory hallucinations.
Treatment for music ear syndrome
There are different ways to treat this syndrome. One of them is the management of stress that causes hallucinations due to anxiety related to hearing loss. Practicing yoga, meditation, pilates and physical activity can be very helpful.
The use of hearing aids, in cases where they may be useful, reduces the hallucinations caused by music ear syndrome. Another way of treatment is to create more noise. Singing at home or turning on the TV are ways in which the ear stops hallucinating and begins to focus on the sounds that are really around.
The last option is to use medications prescribed by your doctor. This should be the last resort when nothing else is working, so that the patient can continue his life and not be frustrated.
Musical ear syndrome is a hallucination
You have probably experienced sounds and buzzing in your ears, but you may not have known that there are such auditory hallucinations. Fortunately, you can treat them thanks to the various options available today.
Have you ever experienced this phenomenon? Do you have a loved one who suffers from this syndrome?