by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
Musical Ear Syndrome (MES) is a condition where a person hears phantom, non-tinnitus sounds—typically music, singing, voices or other sounds.
Although it is quite common, especially among people with hearing loss, few people openly talk about it for fear of being thought crazy.
The good news is that Musical Ear Syndrome is not a psychiatric condition, but rather something not working quite right in the auditory system. In other words, yes you can hear phantom sounds; but no, you are not crazy.
I have been studying MES for several years, and have written several articles and a book on the subject based on the hundreds and hundreds of people that contact me for help.
Unfortunately, medical doctors do not recognize Musical Ear Syndrome as a “real” condition, and many even tell their patients that there is no such thing as MES. This needs to change.
As a result, I teamed up with a psychiatrist, to study MES in greater detail with a view to having it become a valid medical diagnosis. When this is done, people suffering from MES will hopefully be correctly diagnosed and treated, rather than being thought “crazy” and being drugged with anti-psychotic medications as so often happens now.
[Update: Unfortunately, this hopeful beginning has basically come to nought because psychiatrists want to make this into a psychiatric condition and therefore use drugs to treat MES even though MES is not a psychiatric condition at all.
Yes, MES is a sign of something not working quite right in the auditory processing parts of the brain, just like tinnitus is, but as in the case of tinnitus, you do not treat it by prescribing anti-psychotic drugs.]
Therefore, if you have Musical Ear Syndrome, my book, “Phantom Voices, Ethereal Music & Other Spooky Sounds” or my article “Musical Ear Syndrome—The phantom voices, ethereal music & other spooky sounds many hard of hearing people secretly experience” are likely your best bets to understanding what Musical Ear Syndrome is, and what you can do to help bring it under control.