Christmas carols in an otherwise silent world?  Moonlight Sonata ringing through deaf ears?  If you have experienced such musical hallucinations, you are not alone.  In fact, it is not uncommon for those who are hard of hearing, or deaf, to experience a condition known as “Musical Ear Syndrome.”

Hearing Loss: Learning the Notes

Musical Ear Syndrome (MES), a term first coined in 2004 by Neil G. Bauman, Ph.D. refers to a condition in which those with hearing loss experience musical auditory hallucinations.  According to Bauman, auditory hallucinations can range from simple sounds such as “ringing, roaring, buzzing, hissing, etc.,” to complex sounds, such as music, singing and “voices that sound vaguely like a radio broadcast playing in another room.” Those with MES tend to experience hearing sounds in the complex range.  According to Bauman, the most commonly conjured tunes heard by more than half of people who experience MES are Christmas carols and patriotic music.

Hearing Loss and Musical Ear Syndrome: A Friendly Auditory Hallucination

Despite the term auditory hallucination, it is necessary to understand that having MES does not make you crazy.  According to Bauman, the hallucinations associated with MES are purely non-psychiatric, meaning they are not associated with mental illness. In fact, there exists a wide range of auditory hallucinations, such as those associated with tinnitus, a common condition of persistent ringing in the ears. According to the Mayo Clinic, approximately 1 in every 5 people experience this.  Like MES, the hallucinations experienced with tinnitus are non-psychiatric.
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Hearing Loss: Not a Solo

If you experience such hallucinations, you are not alone.  Professor Oliver Sacks of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York explains in his journal article, “The Power of Music,” “Musical hallucinations are surprisingly common, affecting at least 2% of those who are losing their hearing.”  Interestingly enough, phantom sounds are becoming increasingly common in youth. An article by Professor Jess Dancer of the University of Arkansas explains that cell-phone users whose cell phones are integral aspects of their emotional and social lives experience phantom vibrations or ring tones.

Hearing Loss: The Science of the Symphonies

MES is most common in individuals who experience bilateral sensorineural hearing loss.  Sensorineural loss, which can be unilateral (in one ear) or bilateral (in both ears) is caused by damage to the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain, also known as the cochlea.  Studies suggest that sudden bilateral loss of inner ear function releases neuronal groups that store auditory memory.  As a result, the lack of inhibition can result in the release of the “stored musical sensations,” despite a lack of external stimulus.  These sensations are the memories of tunes and voices, which are the complex sounds associated with MES.  The vibrations of nearby air conditioners or refrigerators can also stimulate these sensations.  Further conditions that can predispose people to MES include:

– Aging

– Tinnitus

– Living alone

–  Stress, depression and anxiety

Hearing Loss: Tuning Out

If you’ve had enough of the music, there are a variety of methods offered to decrease the musical hallucinations of MES, such as hearing aids and anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medications.

While there is no staunch cure for MES, studies continue to research the intriguing condition.  For more information on hearing loss and hearing aid options, refer to the Guide to Hearing on Audicus.


Audicus Hearing Aids, Mayo Clinic, Deafness, Center for Hearing Loss Help, Advance for Nurses, Informa Healthcare, Tinnitus Formula, “The Power of Music,” Science Daily, Wikipedia



by Brad Miller

86 responses to “The Ghost in Our Ears: Hearing Loss and Musical Hallucinations

  1. This is such a relief to me to read this, and all the comments.
    I’m 49, and after having a panic attack a year or so ago, I started hearing music when I’d try to sleep.
    I was convinced it was my neighbour, but my wife couldn’t hear anything.
    The music changed depending on which room I was in; country in the bedroom, brass band downstairs etc.
    I even went outside and heard different music there.
    Whenever I entered another room – the same style of music would be playing.
    It sounded tinny, with no bass, as though it was in the neighours house.
    I’ve been involved in writing and recording music for 35 years, and I’m used to having ideas stuck in my head.
    This was something totally different though, and I had no control over it.
    I’ve found out now that I can turn it on – but have no control over the style or the ability to turn it off.
    I have a slight bit of tinnitus, but nothing severe.
    Thanks to you all for sharing your experiences!

  2. My son just had a tumor removed that took out all of the insides of his right ear. He’s 42. He told me he was hearing Opera Music. So I googled it and found this group. Surprised to find it’s a real thing. Especially interesting to find it can be stored memory of music you’ve heard before. His dad was an opera buff and I’m sure we can blame it on him. Ha ha. Once the stitches come out and they “hope” to fit him with a hearing aide maybe it will go away. I have ringing in my ears and would take his opera any day.

  3. OMG someone get Amazing Grace out of my ear. I have a really bad ear infection and have been hearding Amazing Grace and Symphony music for days and days. It’s driving me crazy. I have no history of hearing loss, but a raging ear infection I am on antibiotics.

  4. Lovely to hear all the comments. Luke most of you, I’ve been hard of hearing a long time, and am 76 now. Tinnitus since my twenties just like my dad. Music started a few months ago, often monks humming but also full songs and even symphonies. I’ve always had persistent earworms, or songs running thru my head, as did my dad btw. This is on a spectrum with those. Sometimes a song will become just an earworm or vice versa, and sometimes it will be sort of in between. Anyway my audiologist gave me some good tips and a wonderful device to stream music from phone directly to my hearing aids, so I can listen to music wo bothering my husband. The great advice is that this is a wakeup call that your environment has gotten too quiet. I’m lucky, it stops whenever there is speech or music playing or my mind is engaged. So having more sound in my ears helps. And I can change the song also. Plus I’ve never been too annoyed about tinnitus snd this is much nicer! Anyway try adding music to your day. ..just listened to James Taylor Carolina in my mind, a nice song to change to.

  5. Busted ear drum and I have been hearing the music America, I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas and Silent Night. I thought maybe I was just crazy.

  6. Is there any cure or way to stop the continuous music playing in the mind? This has begun just last month. Will it become more profund as time goes by? Is it something to do with medicine taken or hearing loss. Will it get better with hearing aids?

  7. my wife is 75 years old has had tinnitus for many years, and wearing hearing aids for the last 10 years, she is in great shape no medical problems, takes no medicine at all. in the last 2 months she started hearning music and would start singing along with it because she always would sing thought nothing of it , then realized it was playing over in her head she than starting hearing voices many different voices some very distinct she said they sometimes praise her sometimes mock her sometimes say the are coming into the house or o=are just outside or in the basement some times say things that make no sense at all and seem to repeat things she is reading or talking about. We are having a hard time trying to find a doctor or some medical person to talk with that does not take 4 to 6 weeks for a appointment she had a MRI last week and all is fine we a are at wits end.

  8. It’s a relief to know this is common. I am a 78 yr. old male and have worn hearing aids since 2003. (I am surprised to find that hearing aids might cause this, since I’ve worn them for 15 yrs. and they have no effect one way or another.) The MES began for me only this past yr. (20018) Prior to that I had some ringing tinnitus, superseded by a ‘plink’ sound, which some people describe as clicking. I still hear an occasional plink. This was followed by the dissonant sound of a car alarm; i.e. 2 or 3 closely related tones occurring at once. This in turn was superseded by my now-constant inner concert of an organ playing passacaglia chord changes (or perhaps chaconne changes) under a bass-baritone male singer weaving a continuous oratorio-like aria (reminds me of Robt. Merrill, or Cesare Siepi, or Tito Gobbi, or Ezio Pinza, or Leonard Warren). No words. Lots of appoggiatura. I have an extensive musical background, from nearly ‘going pro’ as a trombonist instead of attending college, to singing in a quartet (shades of the Four Freshmen), to learning to play the piano from scratch starting at age 46. I still play lots of Bach, easier pieces, but never approached either an organ or a passacaglia. I have no idea where this comes from, though my head is stuffed with music of many sorts including tons of Tin Pan Alley songs, words and music, which I often rehearse in my head (ask my wife!), but while singing a TPA song will chase away the Bach, or Handel, etc.) for a moment, it immediately resumes when the song is finished.

  9. I am a 55 yr old gal who was diagnosed with Menieres about 20 yrs ago. I remember my ENT saying I would lose my hearing in my right ear & lo & behold he was right. Now it is my left ear as well. I have many of the symptoms & noises & tones we all speak of including a torn ear drum which can be repaired but then that’s another story :). And then the annoying epilepsy which is totally controlled but always in the back of my mind. With all of what all of us experience with MES, anxiety & stress becomes more & more a part of our lives. I love the idea of humming along with the tones … thanks for the suggestion. I have an incredible husband who understands my quarks and I am an optimist thru & thru. Is there a cure … I so wish & hope. But until then when I can relax .. maybe with a nice cup of tea… I feel fortunate I now know I am not crazy & I try to just accept one more part of this life I lead.

  10. I am a 49 yr old woman. I lost hearing in my left ear late march 2018 after being sick a few days. My ear had started draining. Four days later the right one joined my left ear with pain and drainage and over the course of the day I noticed I couldn’t hear people’s voices. The next day is when the music started. I heard the Beatles’ Yesterday but only certain verses repeated. Not so bad. Then my brain took it from there mixing other songs. And I hear I WON A NEW CAR! Over and over, ugh! If I yell stop it the music will quiet to the back ground. I appreciate this site cuz my Dr has no clue. I was told I torn both my ears drums. I think there’s more going on but have to wait until August to see if they heal. I work for a hotel and need to hear as part of my job so I purchased an amplifier and now can hear better like human speech and doors creaking and phone ringing to do my job. Very frustrating not being able to hear. Lip reading takes time to catch regular conversation. Sudden hear loss is something that changes your perspective on life.

  11. I’m a 90 yr. old woman, a retired nurse, with MES for almost 30 years, when I started getting hearing loss. I hear gentle monks chanting in my ears, especially when it’s very quiet. I have worn hearing aids for 25 years. Once in a while I hear a gay caballero riding through on his horse, singing! It is usually a very pleasant sound, and often, when there is something scary, they are a comfort. It increases in volume when I’m under stress as if it’s trying to protect me. It took a few years before I found research to explain it to me, and I could convince doctors I wasn’t off the deep end hallucinating! The medical profession is slow to change. Thank you for letting us discuss this and share thoughts.

  12. This column is incredible. My MES began in 2014, but at that time I figured out that it was a psychic phenomenon and was sort of excited. Some reading lead to “music of the spheres” and I was going to write to the author only to discover he had been murdered years ago. Then reading lead to Oliver Sacks. He died. My daughter-in-law got on the computer and checked into music in the head, which led to the book on MES. So far I have not written to the author. But my case involves variety. Right now I am listening to Amazing Grace. Decided to experiment and found I can change the song temporarily. Always reverts beck to AG. At one time a doorbell would ring around 3am, and used to get up only to find nobody. The actual bell I have now is weak, and the one I heard in my head was really loud. It rings very seldom now. I have 2 hearing aids, but get the sounds with or without the aids. I’ve noticed that the singing is getting fainter. Amazed that so many are experiencing this. Not enough medics know about it. My advice is to keep trying different things, and enjoy the music, although some of the noise would be awful. I hope that no one tries suicide because you are not crazy. I wish there were dates on these responses so we could know how recent they are. I’m July 2014.

  13. I started hearing snippets of songs on repeat in my head during Chemotherapy treatment 18 months ago. I have also been diagnosed with a bilateral sensorineural moderate hearing deficit and have worn hearing aids for 20+ years. I am aged in my mid 50’s. After the Chemo affected the nerves in my toes and fingers, I decided to have my hearing checked and found out my hearing loss at the high frequency ranges has now become quite severe. It looks like the Chemo has affected the nerves in my ears as well which then likely produced the musical tinnitus. I also have OCD and the British Tinnitus Association writes that 4/10 people with OCD also have MES ( or musical hallucinations). I also have OCD thoughts that attach themselves to the music in my head and that goes around in a continuous loop 24/7. I need medication to sleep as it is very intrusive and although I can change the music by listening to something else on the radio, I can’t stop it. The music continues even in my dreams. It is very debilitating to live with and I have concerns it will never stop. I can sometimes shift my focus when I am absorbed in an activity but it is always there in the background.

  14. Mine started when I learnt to meditate 20 years ago first song was amazing grace, as the same as the others checked every where to see where it was being played,onward Christian soldiers christmassongs hymns I’ve never heard of went to my gp he didn’t believe me so never said anything since till I just saw this I’m not nuts , how can I hear songs I’ve never heard of today was make me a channel of your peace

  15. My MES started one day after my 91st birthday. I am hard of hearing and wear hearing aids. I, too, hear Christmas carols, old Sinatra tunes, Beatles, etc. It is a full orchestral rendition with clarinets, flutes, keyboard, etc. If I want to change the tune I just sing another one and it changes immediately. It’s tolerable but unfortunately there is no OFF button. Am to see my primary care doctor next month and hope there is a medicine that will help.

  16. I have just found this website and I am like lots of other people relieved to know I am not alone and that other people have music in their head. I am now 63 and am determined this is not going to overtake me. As someone else called it “It is like having a radio in my head” the difference is I can’t turn it off!!! I have Meniere’s Disease and on Friday August 11 2017 I had a massive vertigo incident at work it was the first time I had had vertigo away from home. I woke up on the Saturday morning and had no hearing whatsoever, it was just so scary and I was laid up in total for four days. I went back to Hearing Service several times and each time my hearing had deteriorated and then as it hit rock bottom I started to hear music in my head. It felt really odd and it played the same notes over and over again, but then suddenly one day I heard songs I knew like “Love Changes Everything”, Christmas Carols which seemed to be sung by Il Divo and when one of my gradaughters had a keyboard this Christmas, even though I can’t pitch. I played Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring, next it was in my head, I watched the Sound of Music and had Do Re Mi and Edelweiss. Its seems to copy what music I am bale to pitch. I used to sing before I lost my hearing but can’t pitch even with hearing aids, I am waiting for some receivers for my new ones and am hoping with the better sound level, I will be able to pitch the music. I really hate not being able to listen to music, but if it copies music I listen to then I can play the music and it will play in my head!! It is really annoying sometimes and I have a real headache, especially when it doesn’t vary the tune. I was always deaf in my left ear, because they think I was born with mild Cerebral Palsy which affected my hearing. I started losing my hearing and have problems after I had worked for the NHS over Christmas and was forced to go to work in an office with not heating over two days and it was freezing, I was literally frozen to the bone and it was after that I started to have problems. I am due to see the consultant, but wanted to share my experience because it seems you can “alter” what it plays. I am going to experiment a little more and see if I can listen to music I love not the just same few notes over and over again.

  17. What the heck – I’m freaking out. Am I in the twilight zone as every tune in my near deaf ear is from before I was born in1970. I hear orchestra music – same tune over and over again that I’ve never heard before. I hear old Elvis, old Christmas carols, Spangled Banner and America America….over and over again… I have partial deafness in my right ear and that is where I hear the music. It just started After this last cold – please help

  18. 99age; hard of hearing; developed music syndrome the weeks after thanksgiving meal. diabetic and music apparent loudness varies inversely with blood sugar magnitude. A sound sleep seems to reduce or eliminate music for short periods of time.

  19. I am currently 43 years old and diagnosed with vestibular vertigo by a hearing specialist. I often get dizzy and nauseous with migraine, and hear strange noises. My kids tell me I’m nuts. The noises range from repeatedly hearing an old fashioned 70s type telephone ringing, a small child calling out “mom” ( my sons have manly voices now and are over 16) banging noises when I’m asleep, and whooshing sounds like noises in utero. Occasionally I hear music like pop tunes, but I can tune it out watching movies or tv shows, but still watch them closed captioned, because I miss what’s being said in a quiet scene. I was also diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, fibromyalgia, and spinal stenosis that has caused nerve damage in spine. I glad I’m not alone in this, but it’s very eerie and troublesome that this is a phenomena with no cure.

  20. I am also musically trained, a percussionist, lyricist and producer, My symptoms seem to somewhat different then those I have read on this venue, while having been diagnosed, with having a stroke, labrthintitis, sever vertigo and 95% hearing lost in my left ear I began to notice every song I hear whether from radio, television or just a child humming I will hear only one song melody which takes over all the original score of every song. doesn’t matter if its Zeppelin, Yes, ELP or the 4 Seasons even ad jingles, doctors are investigating the possibility of acoustical neuroma. If the ever was a curse meant to punish someone who’s whole life evolves around music and the joy it can bring this is it

  21. Hi I lost my hearing in my left ear and some in my right and I have tinnitus and for past 3weeks I am hearing songs different songs as I speak I hear banging and then it changes I have hearing aids I went on new tablets to help with migraine and to sleep I feel very down at the moment it very hard to live with people say you have it for good no quiet moments any more Help Barbara.

  22. I have had hearing loss and tinnitus for nearly 50 years now. About two weeks ago I started hearing musical tones in my ear. It started with the same 3-5 notes repeating over and over for few days then progressed to a few songs–The National Anthem, 3 Blind Mice, The first Noel–and has since progressed to countless other songs. I found I could change the song by thinking of another one, then that one is added to my automatic repertoire. It is purely instrumental–like an orchestra. It is non-stop! I researched and found out it was MES, so at least I know I am not crazy! I find myself often humming along.

  23. I am a 77year old female, quite deaf and have been hearing music for the last six months with or without my hearing aids. Unfortunately it is more of a musical organ sound and the tune never changes.and is driving me crazy. I blamed my neighbour but she apparently never even had a radio on. I just wish the tune would change now and again and give me some relief.

  24. I have had MES since March of this year. I fall into the category of being elderly and have medium range hearing loss. I wear hearing aids. I hear The National Anthem , Happy Birthday and Handel’s Messiah. Often times the song just gets stuck in its “track.”I can live with this syndrome but what causes me grief is that I can no longer listen to my beautiful collection of classical music on my CD’s or listen to any music on the radio. The “music in my head” completely distorts the music on the CD – the music I hear on the CD is out of tune , totally flat and plays at the wrong speed. I would not even recognize the piece playing were it not that I heard it announced or read the title on the album’s cover. Am interested if anyone else experiences this ?

  25. I’m so glad I found this! I’ve had tinnitus and hearing difficulties for nearly a year now because of an inner ear infection I had last year. Lately I’ve thought I’d heard songs and chalked it up to being bored and tired. But about a half hour ago I took my headphones off after playing a video game and am 100% sure I can still hear the overworld theme in my bad ear.

  26. I’m a 16 year-old girl who plays both cello and piano (mainly classical music). I’ve also been involved in choir for many years. While I don’t seem to have any signs of hearing loss other than the occasional ringing in my left ear, in the past year, I’ve been hearing phantom music, music that I’ve never heard before, often duets between the violin and piano, and more complicated piano pieces. There were also several instances where I thought my mom was whistling a new song, only to find her sleeping. I told my friend about it, and she dismissed it, saying it was most likely a cause of my desire to compose. Whenever this music comes up, I think it’s just a speaker system, or someone else is playing their music. But when I ask others, they say they never hear anything. I used to be afraid, but now whenever it happens, it’s often a welcome surprise, and something I listen to. However, what puzzles me is why I hear these when I don’t have hearing loss or damage, and why I hear tunes that are completely new to me.

  27. I`m a 74 yr old male . I played violin since I was 10 . My hearing declined in my sixties. The last few years the continuous music began . Some days it can be a very simple repetetive combination of 3 or four notes. Other times just one continuous chord that lasted for hours. A very nice sound really. Then tunes from WW2 came “on air” from when a child . A German march theme made me check up on youtube . It was the Nazi theme tune . I had no idea it was that . I always liked that tune . If a Rugby international is on tv I start hearing the Marsellaise even if the sound has been muted. Also the Welsh national anthem .Last week I was treated to large sections of a Beethoven Violin Sonata . That was a treat . Today was a slightly annoying version of a Charles Aznavour song “She” , played with a very mechanical rhythm . I am collecting as I go .The American anthem pops up quite often .I have never heard “God save the Queen ” though . I don`t know any way to stop the music so train myself to be patient . I don`t get emotional about it .

  28. I am 81 years old, I gradually loosing my hearing. The worst part of it is, I am not able to listen to music. The sounds are of pitch. Missing especially the classic. I had tinnitus already for years and I kind of excepted that. Now I am having MES. Of course first I thought , I am loosing my mind. I didn’t want to tell anybody. I am so glad I googled and I am relieved. Now not being able to listen to my Cd’s or Radio because of the distortion, I found those accords I am hearing almost pleasant. I figured out I can almost control the music, only needs concentration. It is turning into melodies I like. Stopping it, is a little more difficult . But when I am trying to go to sleep I concentrate on the tinnitus .

  29. Hello, I am in my 4os. Never listened to loud music or worked in a loud environment. I started to hear crickets, snakes, etc in my ears/head. I went to see my regular doctor and he suggested me to see an ENT doctor. 1st ENT doctor, I had an audiogram with very little hearing loss. He said you have severe Tinnitus. He couldn’t do anything for me. So, I went to see a “tinnitus” specialist 2nd ENT, he suggested me to take Magnesium as that may help. I have been taking daily, but no difference. I had an audigram, again little hearing loss. Had tri-testing, CPT, EGON, and VNG. MRI, EEG done in the past few months – all came out negative. For the exception, it has been ruled out that I have severe Musical Ear Syndrome. Fun! No longer seeing the 2 ENT doctors as they couldn’t help me out. I tried hearing aids, sound over sound, that was not pleasant, so I sent them back. I have severe Tinnitus and severe MES for over a year now, but each day it gets louder. I now have a hard time hearing my coworkers and it is very hard to focus on my job. I had hearing aids, but hearing noise over noise, that was not pleasant, I had to return them. I have been prescribed sleep medication, which helps a couple of hours. I usually get up between 1AM and 2AM with my ears screaming. I then can’t get back to sleep. People tell me to ignore it…how can you when it is screaming. How can anyone change the music when it sounds like an orchestra/piano at a funeral, with crickets and snakes all the same time 24/7. I had a thyroidectomy done a couple of years ago, which I now take Synthroid every night. I just had a thyroid test T3/T4 and that came out normal. I am tired and frustrated as I do not know what to do. I no longer go out of the house for the exception of work. People without Tinnitus and MES just don’t understand. Tinnitus and MES should be more visible in our country, just like Alzheimers, Muscular Dystrophy, etc., With our technologies today, I wish there was a cure. If anyone out there has any ideas, suggestions please share them. I would really appreciate it. Thank you in advance for listening.

  30. It is yourself the whole time. I am watching basketball right now. So I just paused the game to write this. And I’m subconscience is announcing a game without game that isn’t the one I’m watching. There are also a couple of songs I’m thinking about. Now if I turn my game back on that’s where focus goes. Everything else stops, I’m devoted to my game. Some people have that down. My wife came home today and told me I was just crazy. I focused on that alone and the next of life was miserable. Two kids voices were berating me. But is was just me. Short trick, sound off for the inner ear.

  31. Only third day and no sleep. Just found this article. I just found this article. I was just listening to Florence and the Machine. I tried to change to Michael Jackson. When I did I got Brantley Gilbert. Then it went in to combine the two. There were even two lines of rap. Does this happpen a lot? I’ve also had three innings of a Cubs broadcast, and not a fan. Now there are movie lyrics over the music.

  32. I am hard of hearing in both ears. About 7 years ago I started hearing noises in my head. It is sometimes music and sometimes just noises. I do not hear people talking but the music has voices that go along with the music. It sounds like humming. I was told I have auditory hallucinations. I have not been able to find any medication for it. My doctor does not know much about my problem. I cannot sleep at night and night and I feel like I am going to lose my mind. Help

  33. with meditation i can turn tinnitus into music that i either wrote, listened to recently or never heard of nor know when who what where and when it came from.

  34. Beautiful Dreamer has been playing for the past 2 hours…..I hear a lot of Christmas carols and some patriotic. At times songs play I’ve never heard before, vocal and all. I am a writer and have written songs in the past. I don’t know, but this might be a new beginning for me…..Now if I can just figure out how to write the words down as they play….I am 65 and this problem started when I was 64. I kind of enjoy it.

  35. Well I thought I was going round the bend until I read this. Thank you. I had surgery about a month ago on my hand and had general anaesthesia. I also take quite a lot of meds some of which I am trying to get off of. At night when I go to bed I get a bit of a ringing and then hear stuff – music – it can go from a Marachi band to a symphony and then an old fashioned voice singing “Feed the Horse.” My husband assures me there is no music playing. I heard stuff outside one night in our driveway playing — and there was nobody there at all. I am now putting this down to MES and the fact I take meds and had surgery. I hope it goes. I wish I could change the music sometimes. Oddly enough I do not hear it through the day. At night though I do sleep with fans on as live in California and it is hot and like to have the air circulating. I wear earplugs and they do not help as can hear it through them. I tried putting an ice pack over my ears and that worked a bit. Oddly enough when I prop up a bit it goes away – the music starts when I lie to one side. Anybody else with this. I am sick of the songs and wish could change them, but on comments above have a few tips. However, I will go to the doctor’s and mention it to her and she will send me to a specialist for this but I do not think any cure. I hear very well by the way.

  36. I started to hear the music intermittently about 7 years ago. 2 or 3 months I heard and then half of the year nothing. I heard mostly gospel and arias from many operas. I practiced mentally to play the music of MY choice and after several weeks I succeeded. My medical doctor sent me for a head CT Scan, it came normal and doctor said, there is no meds for tinnitus. So I accepted the opinion and tried to ignore the music. For the lunch break I used to go to the garden of our building, and I always said to my coworkers that I’m going to listen some music. And they laughed. Now since November I hear voices. Usually there are 3 people talking and arguing because I hear the irritation in these voices. Or sometimes it seems that a lector reads the news on TV in the next apartment. Most troubling for me is my mother’s voice. She talks with my nephew but I’m not sure. I never understand a word. Very seldom I hear particular word or two. (My mother died in 1999, and my nephew is in Poland). I’m so happy I found this page, actually my daughter sent me the link. Tomorrow I’m going to call an ear,nose&throat doc..

  37. I have, since my wife died 3 years ago, heard music and dialog. There has been no external sensations. My children age 50 and 45 can not hear this but now I know why I heard the ” British Grenadiers March”all the way through.

  38. I am 74 yo and have experienced gradual hearing loss. About two years ago I started wearing hearing aids, with the left ear having revealed a 90% loss & the right ear about 50-60% loss. The only cause explained has been this is hereditary. About two weeks ago we had to have our 13 yr old beloved precious lab girl put to sleep. She was the 2nd. one to lose in 9 mos. They were both extremely close to me and their loss intensely painful emotional and heart-piercing. Upon losing our second girl two weeks ago, I suddenly began to hear singing in my left ear. It is a male, low baritone voice, which sounds rather chanty at times like an old “monk” or singy-chanty in an unknown language. At other times I can hear very plainly and identify – patriotic music, church hymns, old southern style like “Old Black Joe”, and Christmas music. Some of these are repeated at times; other times as stated it is unknown language. It’s weird – the key changes, range, pitch, etc. all there! I am very solid mentally and physically for which I am thankful. I have suffered chronic depression since the sudden loss of my first born son in 2006. The trauma from that is indescribable, the pain and sorrow from which I shall probably never fully recover. The only medicine I take is the chronic use of antidepressant-anti anxiety pills. I find it extremely interesting that others profess to also hear similar music! aka Christmas, church hymns, patriotic, etc… Some of what I have read does state anxiety, shock, depression, etc. may contribute to this which would explain the recent loss of my beloved doggies. That may have been my “over the edge” plunge into such an emotional state(loss of those beloved ones, especially my son, and additionally my doggies) that opened this passageway either physically or spiritually now causing this phenomenon. This is also 24/7 and varies in volume at different times. When going to sleep it becomes very noticeable and now I have become rather used to this – as I just call it my lullaby! If it continues, as it seems plausible, I am OK with that and as stated, actually feel oddly comforted by the very ethereal singing! Hopefully this may be of some insight for others, just saying “enjoy the music”!!! Thanks

    1. Hi Rita….You are “lucky” you hear the music. Besides the music, I also hear a bunch of people arguing. Sometimes it wakes me up, and most of nights doesn’t let me sleep. I just want to tell you that you can control what is playing in your head. All you have to do is to choose your favorite song or piece and try humming it. It would go to the “library”, and the next, and the next. All the best and good luck…

  39. Does anyone hear someone taking to them directly? In addition to the music, my 88 year old mom hears a man talking to her. He travels with the singers and keeps saying he wants to see her. She lost my dad six months ago and I’m not sure if the two are connected or not.

    1. Mary, given your mother’s age and the physiological stress that results from losing a husband, I encourage you to take her to a doctor who is familiar with MES – I’m not sure all ENTs are. I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on the Internet, but I do have fairly extensive knowledge of psychology. The music your mom is hearing may be MES, but I feel strongly that the man’s voice she hears speaking directly to her may well be indicative of an underlying issue directly related to the loss of her husband. If she were my mom, I would seek input from a professional. I hope you are able to find a solid diagnosis that leads to successful treatment.

  40. I just started hearing this music about a week sgo. At first it was a men’s chorus in rounds. Then swing low sweet chariot, frere Jacques. Chorus of oh come all ye faithful, and when the saints go marching in, I can’t change the music. when there is not a recognizable tune it is back to the men’s chorus singing a round. It is driving me crazy. What can I do to stop this constant music????

  41. I was diagnosed with Bilateral Sensioneural Hearing Loss 5 years ago and developed MES for two years ago. Initially I thought I had gone completely mad. It started with tinnitus, then humming along with the electrical appliances in my apartment. The sounds morphed into what I call “Gregorian Chanting” – which I am hearing as I write this. The chanting changes to actual songs…Happy Birthday, National Anthem, Old Lang’s Zine (not sure of spelling), and other songs never heard before. This collection of music changes during the course of the day, and the volume varies as well. This condition is very distracting when watching TV because the music morphs with the sounds on TV! I have to really keep the volume high to drown out my ear music. Very bizarre and annoying at times but over all it is on no consequence.

  42. Did you get my msg.mes came upon me abt 2 months nw. Need. Help. To understand and learn

    1. My mom has a issue with hearing music and people fighting she is very hearing inpaired she has called the police on her neighbors several times i took her to the doc and found she has a lingering bladder infection. Antibiotics dies help for awhile then she hears it again so prob music ear

  43. Volume in my cell don’t work well I can’t call but txt

  44. These sounds are not hallucinations! They are real and they change every time I hear them. It is easy to write these off as hallucinations when you haven’t experienced them yourself.

  45. I’ve experienced a phenomena ever since I was a little girl in which repetitive sounds, like ceiling fans, humming motors, etc., suggest beats that develop into complex, multilayered compositions of my own creation i.e. they are not songs or works I’ve heard before. The type of music varies, depending on the original sound. There is often singing, but the lyrics are unintelligible, and are very much subdued in the background, like quiet mumbling. My hearing is fine; no tinnitus, etc., and I don’t hear voices (I’m not psychotic). Any ideas about this? Thanks.

  46. July of 2014 I had an accident. Among other injures, I received TBI to my left side of my head/brain and the bottom of the back of my skull. My question is, only at night when the house is quiet I hear, very faint music playing, or tunes of some sort. But tonight, I thought I could hear people talking, it again was faint. I can never make anything out, so frustrating. Is this normal. Yes I have had issues with ringing,dizziness, fatigue ect, but now I’m a bit worried.

    1. Hi M. Williams, you should consider seeing a doctor about this. It sounds like musical ear but we can’t be sure!

  47. I hear ringing, voices, and full songs. Sometimes I hear a person hollering for help or a baby crying but there’s nothing there. And it’s driving me crazy. I have been awake for nearly 48hours because I am still hearing it. Like right this very second I am hearing children’s toys. It’s 446am. There should be no kids with toys singing row row your boat. I need sleep. Does anyone have a method that doesn’t involve medication, I already feel like pharmacy with all the medicines I already take. Car alarms, toys, songs, the national anthem downstairs…. No that last one is actually real…. Yay that one is real. But, even that shouldn’t be playing at this hour. Oh well.

    1. My suggestion is for you to go to your primary Dr. and have him/her reevaluate all the meds that you are taking. I would bet that, since you are saying you feel like a pharmacy, you probably are taking some things you don’t need. It could be the combination that is causing the problem. Good luck.

  48. I have never been one to like listening to music orchestras or instruments playing but I was having great difficulties at work then one evening I went to bed as I was getting into bed I could hear loudly clearly etc from my left ear music it was beautiful cellos , harps and it felt so good calming and soothing I got up walked around the room thinking it came from outside called my kids and said can you hear that beautiful music I sware it felt like I died and went to heaven it was that beautiful. I don’t have hearing loss dr even gave me an MRI nothing all clear. The feeling felt amazing. Since then I have purchased music similar but nothing comes close to what I heard.

  49. I have been experiencing musical hallucination since May 2014 after I was prescribed Avelox, Nexium and Amoxicillin to treat a H.Pylorri infection in which I do not have by Dr. Dana C. in Victoria. Dr. Dana C. has since moved to Langley. I was hospitalized and followed with a psychiatriest who prescribed Ran-Escitalopram, Activan and a whole range of anti-psychotics (Seroquel, Abilify, Olanzapine, Zeldox) even though I do not have a history of psychiatric illness. I do suffer from hypothyroidits, and I understand that patients with hypothyroiditis will often have tinnitus. I am so scared as I find the music extremely unpleasant and is disturbing my peace. Can you help or refer me to someone who may be able to.

    Thank you.

  50. I have very expensive hearing aids. They help in only a few situations. I have a condition called “upward slope”. Do you know about this. Do you have help for me?

  51. My mum has recently started hearing old songs from her past she has hearing loss and wears hearing aids, the doctor has recently prescribed her clonazepam are they to treat tinnitus or something like mental health.

  52. Im loosing my hearing. This information make sense to me. I hear a broadcast perfect when i close my eyes just before i get up. I could hear it so clear. In between i hear a horrible voice saying that they want me dead. Could someone could help?

    1. Hi Irma,

      That sounds awful! I would suggest seeing an ENT doctor. They might be able to suggest something to alleviate those scary sounds.

      Good luck!

  53. Was very helful

  54. My mother has this and has “learned” how to change the music or song. She does not have hearing loss that I know of. She has played the piano all of her life. Very interesting.

  55. MES is the worst. I can’t live with it.

    It affects my daily life, my hearing, my sleeping, and how I interact with people.

    It takes over your life and creates a different person.

    I don’t want to be negative but I feel for the someone who suffers from MES.

    Nobody understands. You are mental……….

    Thank you for sharing.

    1. I am so sorry that this is intolerable to you. I would suggest that you try to choose what you hear…imagine what that might be, and see if it works for you. You don’t say if it is music or other sounds. I hear music all the time. I played piano from an early age “by ear” Ha ha. So there is a load of musical memory. They say it is your memory that triggers what you hear. I hope you can resolve your dislike of your situation without medications, which I believe will only heighten the problem. My thoughts are with you.

  56. I have tinnitus and musical ear/head. I was in hit by a car 5 years ago with mild head injury most of my injuries are in my legs. I have metal implants in my pelvic area (front and back) and both legs have implants as well.
    I am wondering if the metal implants could be a contributing factor with the music in my ears. The music is repetitive and very irritating. Not sure what to do to stop it.

    1. I have this same issue, always had functional tinnitus up in till a few weeks ago when the tinnitus spiked and on came the music… Unfortunately it drives me crazy, to the point of the hospital and needing drugs 🙁 Hoping an implant can help as im totally deaf in that ear !!!! I feel your pain !!!

      1. im totally deaf but only to the tv and voices i hear music and noices it drives me insane i dont know whats caused mine i used to be an alcolic i had a break down and iv also had 2 operations and a metal plate put in my sholder i cant communicate with anybodu im so lonely i just want a cure

        1. Have u thiught to see if u have a bladder infection as this can cause adutiry halu

  57. does anyone accept medicaid for payment

  58. Unfortunately for the many
    Also I filled all the fields asked
    For. If I missed some allow me
    To correct the required info!
    Dr RDW

  59. I Disagree on the source of this musical phenomenon, of
    The hearing impaired. I am
    Hearing impaired bilaterally
    And and wore hearing aids for
    10 years, then the left ear became worse and opted for a Cohclear implant. The MES
    Began the day of the surgery
    Which left me totally deaf in
    The left Ear. I had a lot of tinnitus in that ear when I left
    The Surgical Center. However
    Inside of all this noise was clear solid tone that cut thru the maize. Then when laid down for the nite as I lay quit
    Clearing my mind The solid
    Sound began to have rhythm
    To it the I meditated upon humming revealed itself then
    Musical instrument could be
    Heard in the background. This
    Progressed over a month before the devise was activated. Using that time I
    Heard @ least 1 dozen Hymns;
    A song intirely in French which I never studied. However when a sang it to my
    Spouse she translated it for me. Two other songs that I would call amusing . 1 that
    Helped me to have a greater
    Appreciation for my spouse;
    Plus O say can you see & also
    The Marine Hymn. I am not
    A Vet or a Marine. I have a
    Feeling that many of May be
    Hearing through a spiritual
    Ear which penetrates the Vale;
    And not an hallucination. Once the Cohclear implant
    Was turned on it ereased the
    Tinnitas but not the music which I appreciate very much
    I don’t think God wanted to
    Live in a Vaccume for the rest
    Of deaf lives!
    Dr. Richard D. Weber,PhD,MDh

  60. To Chris Vorhees,
    Regarding your lack of information on someone changing the music they are hearing:
    I like you have been hearing this music for the past month. I even complained to my neighbor, believing it was them. Well, I noticed today that I am able to change the song at any time. Geez. I really thought I was losing it as I heard it and my neighbor came over and didn’t hear anything.
    I am on Quetiapine (Seroquel) for my inability to fall asleep. This I cannot tolerate. Maybe this suppose to put me to sleep? Thank God it is not heavy rock playing in my ears! Most of the music I hear are church songs, Christmas songs and the real goodie: “God Bless America”. Most of the time, the music is low but I can tell what song is playing. I hope you can be cured of this, as well as, anybody else experiencing it.

  61. This identifies my own experience that parallels, including timeline, that of Chris Voorhees experience. The redundancy of some music can be annoying but it does pass. The early sensory loss began as bilateral tinnitus. Now 77.

  62. I am taking antibiotics for it. I have been taking them for 3 days and it is better but I still hear music and cannot shut it off. I am 85 and I have had it for about 3 months.

  63. My mother now 82 has had this for three years after having back surgery. She had a bad reaction to the meds they used during surgery and had hallucinations in recovery. Shortly after that the MES started. She is also hard of hearing in one ear but was fine prior to the surgery. I think certain meds can bring this on as well from what I’ve been reading. 368 medications and other substances that can cause hallucinations, including Zyrtec and Claritin. Hearing

  64. I have some hearing loss and tinnitus in my left ear due to a scuba diving accident about six years ago. However only these past seven months I’ve started experiencing MES. I thought I was going crazy. However, after doing some research I recognized he triggers associated with MES. For example I have been in Afghanistan for a year now and the job got stressful. Plus, there is constant noise 24/7 due to the military vehicles.

    1. im deaf in both ears and hear noices and music i cant cope is there a cure

  65. Chris, I have been hearing music for the last two yrs. I am a 73 yr. old women. You wondered if there was anyone who has MES who has the ability to change the song., thankfully I do have that ability. I can change the song in an instant. Sometimes, all I have to do is see something and it conjures a song related to it, ie, one day while shopping I saw some cherries, and to my surprise the song “Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries” began playing! The music I hear, is music I enjoy, words complete to the extent of my knowing them. Sometime, the music is all instrumental, this seems to happen when I am reading, or being distracted by something . It is very beautiful music, both men and women’s voices at times. Sometimes it’s just men singing or just women, but always very beautiful either way. However, at times I just wish it would stop, but it never does, I don’t hear it when I’m asleep, but as soon as I open my eyes there it is! Very strange, but something I have to learn to live with.

    1. i hear music songs and noises i lost my hearing 2 yers ago im 44 i can hear everything else just not the tv or people talking my doctors havent diagnoised me i havent spoke to them since i found thhis article im so depressed wiv it i dont want to live like this anymore im so isolated

      1. This has just started happening to me over the last couple off months I’m already on medication for depression and anxiety I’ve been on the same tablets a few yrs now but due to being so low again I believe the medics are going to try changing my medication I just hope it works I would say to you with or without the medication your probably still get the annoying songs etc so it might be worth going to see your doctor for some advice and see what he recommends

  66. I have been hearing impaired since I was 6 1/2 moths old and always had very strange experiences with hearing issues. It ranges from hearing music of various kinds, ringing, buzzing and someone calling my name loudly when my alarm does not go off. I do feel this is the body’s way of compensating for the hearing loss and reminding someone to pay attention. I don’t like the idea of being put on anti-depressant/anxiety drugs. Their side effects will create more problems and learning to cope with it is much healthier.

  67. I call it the radio in my head, and have so since I was a teenager, I am now late 30’s. It is rare for me to hear music or songs or lyrics that I have heard from external sources. I found over the years how to focus in on my radio and create a song of my feelings at the time or about a theme. I find taking the emotion for tone and music riffs and tempo and using raw melodic words sometimes rhyming other’s depending on the song I create and what I want it to convey. I find myself humming tunes unaware or singing songs wherever I feel like it, writing lyrics into poetry which works wonderfully in relationships. But this is something I have had for a long long time. It never stops I can turn it down but it is still there I can always hear my radio no matter where I am or what I am doing often I even dream music and songs. However I hate it when I hear or sing lyrics that are just awful to me. ha ha. After so many years I guess I hate losing control and have to really focus on changing tempo or instruments, this is extremely hard to do like a deep mediation and takes a lot of concentration and focus, it is like bringing the unconscious to full conscious and making surrounding reality into the unconscious. I also manage to have rhyming conversations which sometimes drive my friends and family nuts, they ask why are you rhyming everything, talk normally I find I just can’t help it.

  68. I have been hearing whole symphony orchestras playing the British National Anthem and the U.S. Anthem sometimes I will hear a Welsh chorus………..This morning I was hearing William Tell Overture.
    I can tune out when I am reading, there maybe a faint echo of the music in the background but reading seems to block it pretty well

  69. I view something genuinely interesting about your website so I saved to my bookmarks .

  70. I have experienced MES for the past few months. I have been musically involved all my life (singing, piano, classical and folk guitar, choirs, choruses). I have a severe bilateral sensory neural loss starting in my 40’s and I am now 75. It started in a YMCA workout room with loud music. It is constant when I’m awake and probably continues when I’m sleeping. The thing I haven’t found in my reading so far is anyone with the ability to change the music to a different song. The notes just follow simultaneously the notes I am singing or thinking. Sometimes it’s very annoying and at other times it’s kind of fun. I’ve learned the words to a lot more songs so I can sing along or follow along in my mind.

    1. Hi. I just found this site and am so relieved to know that I am not crazy. Also have musical background, and used to have always a song in my head! Now, because of labarynthistis, and loss of hearing, I have songs. When I get tired of one, I just say to myself, “have to change this song!” I think of another song, and “start” it in my head. It changes immediately . However, I usually get back to the original song some other time when I am not paying attention to it. I am 72, female, and I don’t mind the music, since I don’t hear anything else! Soon I will get a BAHA hearing aid, and then, according to the article, my music will stopl I think I will miss it!

      1. I am 70 years old and have gone from normal hearing (60 years) to the point where I am virtually deaf. I’ve had a cochlear implant for a little over a year. About 4 months ago I suddenly developed Musical Ear Syndrome and have experienced music constantly since. Like Penny, I am able to switch from one tune to another at will. The music sounds orchestral. I go from children’s songs to classical to hymns to pop. The music does seem to stop when I sleep but it resumes immediately when I awake. I have always been a music lover and the loss of the ability to enjoy music was extremely distressing. Before I (recently) learned about MES, I assumed that my brain was simply trying to fill the void left by my hearing loss.

        1. So did u have a hard tine adjusting to that inplant for some teason they dont want o give it to my mother whom has dementia

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