Auditory hallucinations: causes and remedies

Hearing voices' is not just a saying, find out how to recover from auditory hallucinations
Last update on Oct, 25, 2022

What are auditory hallucinations?

Auditory hallucinations occur when a person perceives a sound without an external stimulus. This symptom is particularly associated with schizophrenia and similar psychotic disorders. However, they are not necessarily related. In fact, one of the causes may be hearing loss.

Auditory hallucinations & schizophrenia

Auditory hallucinations, which is commonly trivialized as "hearing voices", is actually one of the most common symptoms of schizophrenia, reported by as many as 75% of patients. It is also found in other psychiatric conditions, such as bipolar and unipolar depression and personality disorders, as well as in nonclinical populations.

Hallucinations at night & while sleeping

Auditory hallucinations are common even when the body is asleep. For this reason, we happen to "hear voices" when sleeping. These hallucinations are most common when a person is experiencing a high level of stress. The most common auditory hallucinations are simple and have no real meaning or purpose. Among the most common noises are: beeping, high-pitched, random and crackling noises. Severe cases of anxiety can result in more complex auditory hallucinations. These may involve voices, which are sometimes associated with rapid thinking. This can lead the affected individual to believe that the voices are real.

Causes of auditory hallucinations


Psychological problems are among the most common causes of auditory hallucinations. However, there are many other reasons, including: 

  • Tinnitus. Doctors do not consider the usual buzzing or hissing of tinnitus to be a hallucination. Nevertheless, this condition can increase the risk of experiencing auditory hallucination, especially in the presence of depressive symptoms.
  • Hearing loss. People with hearing loss in one or both ears can hear anything from sounds, music and voices that aren’t real. 
  • Alcohol. Heavy drinking can make you see things that are not there, as well as hear nonexistent noise, which can become a constant after drinking for many years. 
  • Drugs. Some drugs, such as ecstasy and LSD, can make you see and hear things that are not there. 
  • Epilepsy. When seizures affect the area of the brain that processes hearing, you may hear buzzing or voices. In some cases, it distorts the way you can perceive sounds. 
  • High fever and infections. Some infections, such as encephalitis and meningitis, can cause you to have auditory hallucinations, along with other symptoms. The same goes for high fevers. 
  • Intense stress. Severe stress, particularly following a traumatic injury, can cause auditory hallucinations. It is also especially common to hear the voice of a loved one after his or her recent death. 
  • Migraines. Some people with severe migraines experience auditory hallucinations, usually in the form of voices. 
  • Medicinal side effects. If you start having auditory hallucinations after starting a new therapy or increasing the dosage of a medication you are already taking, this may lead to auditory hallucinations, especially in the elderly. 
  • Sleep problems. It is quite common to hear noises just as you fall asleep or wake up. However, this is usually nothing to worry about. If you fall asleep in random times and places (narcolepsy) or have difficulty falling asleep (insomnia), this is much more likely to happen. 
  • Thyroid disease. Myxoedema is a rare condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones and levels drop dangerously. This is a life-threatening condition that can also cause auditory hallucinations.
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