We all know what it’s like to get a song stuck in our heads. However, some people hear music when none is playing. The song sounds as real as it would if it were playing live at Union Transfer.
The condition is referred to as musical ear syndrome (MES) and it causes people to hear music or singing when there is none.
While it can be disconcerting to have a musical hallucination, it is very likely not harmful. Some who experience MES fear it is a sign of dementia or a psychological issue. While that is a possibility, if the musical hallucinations exist absent of any other symptoms, it is most likely related to hearing loss.
In the case of one 87-year-old woman with bilateral hearing loss, she complained for a month that she could hear a concert playing that no one else could hear. She initially believed the music was coming from next door. However, when the noise became persistent and she realized no one else in her family could hear it, she sought medical attention.
Musical Ear Syndrome and Hearing Loss
While MES seems to be related to hearing loss, the mechanisms behind how it actually occurs is unclear. Some believe that the brain seeks to replace the input it used to get from your ears before hearing loss. In place of actual sound, your brain starts to fill in the blanks with sounds it already knows like pop music or Christmas carols.
Managing Musical Ear Syndrome
The knowledge that your MES is likely related to hearing loss and nothing more severe often goes a long way into easing people’s minds about having the condition. In addition to reassurance, there are several treatment options available that can help ease your symptoms.
Addressing your hearing loss may be the first and best step in treating MES. Hearing aids can improve your hearing and take away your brain’s need to fill in the gaps with remembered sounds.
In addition to hearing aids, several other treatments and lifestyles changes may be helpful in managing MES. These include:
- Background noise like music or a white noise machine
- Anti-anxiety medication or sedatives
- Meditation and mindfulness techniques
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Breathing exercises
For more information or to schedule an appointment with an expert, call Pinnacle ENT Associates today.