Hearing Loss

What is Musical Ear Syndrome?

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Leopold Stokowski once said, “A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence.” Music can lift our spirits, speak to our innermost feelings, and impact us emotionally. The joy that comes with hearing your favorite song can turn a bad day into a great day. But what happens when the music that you’re hearing isn’t actually present?

What is Musical Ear Syndrome?

Music Ear Syndrome (MES) is a condition that can affect people with hearing loss, and results in people hearing music when none is actually playing. Hearing sounds that are not actually present is not uncommon with a hearing loss. However, the more commonly reported sounds are buzzing, hissing, or ringing in the ears, known as tinnitus.

What Causes Musical Ear Syndrome?

Researchers suspect that the cause of musical ear syndrome is hypersensitivity in the auditory cortex. This is the result of sensory deprivation, an impact of a hearing loss. As a hearing loss can result in a lack of auditory stimulation, your brain will sometimes work to fill in the “blanks” with auditory hallucinations, such as MES or tinnitus.

While anyone can experience MES, it is more common in women than in men. It is believed that certain conditions increase the likelihood of experiencing MES:

What are the Symptoms of Musical Ear Syndrome?

The symptoms of musical ear syndrome can vary from person to person. They tend to be short pieces of music, or in some cases simple melodies. Commonly reported symptoms include:

Can You Treat Musical Ear Syndrome?

Treatment for musical ear syndrome largely depends on the underlying condition. In some cases, medication can help with the symptoms, but the evidence supporting the prescription of medication for MES is limited. Other ways to help treat MES include meditation, distraction, or training your brain to ignore the sounds.

Although rate, in some rare circumstances MES could be a symptom of a more serious underlying health condition. If you have been experiencing MES, we advise speaking to your general health practitioner.

If the musical ear syndrome is caused by a hearing loss, treating the hearing loss will help to minimize the MES. If you’ve been experiencing MES, book an appointment with the hearing specialists at Come Hear Greenville. We’d be happy to provide you a complimentary hearing assessment, and explore hearing loss treatment options. Call us on (864) 546-5708 today and arrange your next appointment.

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