Musical ear syndrome MES

If you just started noticing changes in your hearing, Amplifon is here for you.

Musical ear syndrome (MES): you hear music or singing when there is none

People with hearing loss may experience a condition known as musical ear syndrome, which can cause auditory hallucinations.

What is musical ear syndrome?

Musical ear syndrome (MES) is a phenomenon in which individuals with hearing loss experience auditory hallucinations, often in the form of music. This condition is thought to occur when the brain, deprived of input due to hearing impairment, tries to compensate by filling in the gaps with its existing knowledge of the world. Similar to tinnitus, MES is sometimes referred to as "musical tinnitus." As a result, the brain generates a variety of sounds, and in the case of MES, it selects music to fill these voids.

What causes musical ear syndrome?

The primary causes of musical ear syndrome are hearing loss, cochlear implants, and the use of certain medications.

Hearing loss

When an individual experiences auditory hallucinations of music without any other cognitive or hallucinatory symptoms, it is highly likely that the underlying cause is hearing loss. Nevertheless, it may be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of musical ear syndrome (MES), and there are instances where it can coexist with other conditions like dementia.

Cochlear implant

Although it has not been extensively researched, there have been some reports of musical ear syndrome being caused by cochlear implantation or removal. Although the information is still limited, a small study involving 82 patients showed that some of them developed MES after implantation.


In rare instances, certain medications can cause hallucinations, including auditory hallucinations. However, medications are more commonly associated with hearing voices or noises. If you experience any auditory hallucinations, it is important to consult your doctor to receive an accurate diagnosis.

Other hearing diseases and symptoms

Find out more about other hearing diseases and symptoms.

Learn more

Who is most affected by musical ear syndrome?

Musical ear syndrome is quite common in older people who suffer from hearing loss. However, it can occur in those with hearing loss at any age or in people who have worked or are working in noisy environments.

Musical ear syndrome & Tinnitus

Musical ear syndrome is also often referred to as "musical tinnitus" because, just like tinnitus, sufferers hear sounds that aren't actually there.

However, unlike normal tinnitus which causes the sensation of hearing a buzzing noise, in musical ear syndrome, the sounds heard are real melodies.

Prevent hearing loss

Prevention is the best way to combat hearing loss. Schedule an appointment at an Amplifon center to check your hearing health. Discover all the solutions offered and the different types of hearing aids.

Musical ear syndrome treatment

There are several treatments available for musical ear syndrome. These include the use of hearing aids, cognitive-behavioral therapy, specific medications, and alternative methods.

Hearing aids

Wearing a hearing aid can be an effective way to alleviate the symptoms of musical ear syndrome. As MES is typically associated with hearing loss, using a hearing aid to improve hearing can prevent the brain from generating sounds to fill in the gaps.

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Another way to relieve the symptoms of musical ear syndrome is cognitive behavioral therapy. This treatement won't stop the music but it can help you live with it by training you to ignore it.

Use of drugs prescribed by the doctor

If other treatments have not been effective in relieving musical ear syndrome, prescription medications may be considered as a last resort. However, it is important to keep in mind that all medications carry potential side effects. Therefore, it is recommended to consult with a doctor to determine if this is the appropriate course of action.

Alternative methods

There are also several alternative methods to relieve musical ear syndrome such as:

  • playing music or watching TV to distract yourself from hallucinations and focus on real sounds;
  • breathing exercises;
  • getting regular physical exercise, including stretching
  • practicing yoga and tai chi.
Get a hering test in an Amplifon Store

Have a look at out related contents

Learn more on how your hearing works, thanks to our experts contents. You can also have a look at our blog, with our latest news. 

Get support and advice

Book a free hearing test

Book now

Test your hearing online

Take the test

Find your nearest store

Find a store