What is auditory hallucination?
Auditory hallucination occurs when people hear voices or other noises although nothing is there. As with visual hallucinations it is important to rule out possible causes such as physical illness and the side-effects of medication. It is also worth checking the person's hearing and making sure their hearing aid is working properly, if they have one. One sign that the person may be having hallucinations involving voices is when they talk to themselves and pause, as though
waiting for someone else to finish what they are saying, before continuing. However, it is important to remember that not everyone who talks to themselves is having hallucinations. Shouting at people who are not there also suggests the possibility of hallucinations. People are less likely to hear imaginary sounds while they are talking to someone real so company can help.
Auditory hallucinations are more common in psychotic conditions such as schizophrenia, although they may sometimes be associated with high doses of cocaine, amphetamine or other stimulants. High doses of stimulant drugs also frequently cause a sensation of bugs crawling on or immediately under the skin. Auditory hallucinations (particularly of one or more talking voices) are particularly associated with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia, and hold special significance in diagnosing these conditions. This does not mean that the experience of 'hearing voices' is necessarily a sign of mental illness and many people may have these or similar hallucinations without ever becoming impaired or distressed in any way.
Auditory hallucinations can range from primitive noises such as bangs, whistles, claps, screams, ticks, and others to speech and music. Commonly people who have auditory hallucinations hear voices which utter short comprehensible phrases. Sometimes the person may recognize the voice as one of a family member or deceased friend and sometimes it may be the voice of a stranger or even God. The voices or sounds can be thought to originate from anywhere. The walls, the ground, trees, a shoe are all possible origins of hallucinatory sounds.