People can hallucinate about hearing music that isn't being played

Last Updated: Wed, Aug 21, 2013 06:30 hrs

Neuroscientists have reported a new type of hallucinations, where patients start hearing music that is unrecognizable to them though is familiar to people around them.

According to Dr. Danilo Vitorovic and Dr. Jose Biller of Loyola University Medical Center, the case raises 'intriguing questions regarding memory, forgetting and access to lost memories.'

Musical hallucinations are a form of auditory hallucinations, in which patients hear songs, instrumental music or tunes, even though no such music is actually playing.

Most patients realize they are hallucinating, and find the music intrusive and occasionally unpleasant. There is no known cure for this type of hallucination.

Musical hallucinations usually occur in older people. Several conditions are possible causes or predisposing factors, including hearing impairment, brain damage, epilepsy, intoxications and psychiatric disorders like depression, schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Hearing impairment is the most common predisposing condition, but is not by itself sufficient to cause hallucinations.

Vitorovic and Biller describe a hearing-impaired patient who initially hallucinated music when she was trying to fall asleep. Within four months, she was hearing music all the time.

The patient was treated with carbamazepine, an anti-seizure drug, and experienced some improvement in her symptoms.

The neurologists have described the case in the journal Frontiers in Neurology. (ANI)

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