Why can I hear sounds that aren't there?

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Offline thedoc

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Why can I hear sounds that aren't there?
« on: 13/07/2012 18:30:02 »
Kris Oliver asked the Naked Scientists:
   Hi there,

I'm a huge fan of the podcasts. I've got quite an intriguing question/skill and would love it if you guys could help or point me in the right direction.

I'm a music composer and there are times when I am relaxed, just about to sleep and have no distractions in the room, I can bring sounds/voices/music to my ears. The sound is so clear that it is almost the same as having headphones or the person right next to me. If I focus too much on the sound I lose the skill and it disappears. The sound stays there for roughly 5secs at full volume. I can bring any sound or voice I choose hear as long as I know it well.

The noise is directly in my ears like real sounds and not in the same place as normal thoughts in my head during the day.

I would love to know what is happening here and if there are any other people who have this ability.

Is this a 'miswiring of the brain' and I can trick my ears to send the same signals as it would for a real sound?

I've only known of one other person who has a similar experience. She is a graphic artist and she can visualise things with her eyes closed as clearly as if she had her eyes open.

I would love to find out what is going on here, could I train myself to hear sounds for longer. Would scientists be interested in my brain activity as it happened?

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Kris Oliver
Paris, France

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 13/07/2012 18:30:02 by _system »