Feeds

iPod users in musical hallucination threat

More music, more madness, says brain boffin

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The increasing use of iPods and greater exposure to music generally may lead to an increase in "musical hallucinations", a psychiatrist has claimed. These are not, explains Victor Aziz of Cardiff's Whitchurch Hospital in today's Guardian, simply a case of getting Crazy Frog stuck in your unwilling brain, but the full-blown equivalent of visual hallucinations.

As Adrian Rees, an expert in auditory neurology at Newcastle University, elaborates: "It's not like having a tune going around in your head. This is something you can't turn off or change to another record."

Aziz expands with a chilling example: "People will all of a sudden start hearing a song, such as Yes, We Have No Bananas," although he adds that musical hallucinations are uncommon and often associated to psychiatric conditions, brain tumours or epilepsy.

Aziz's research probed the experiences of 65 to 90-year olds. Boffins had previously thought that musical hallucinations were more prevalent among those who had given their ears a bashing during their youth, but Aziz reckons that a lot of his guinea pigs were hearing more recent material.

The upshot of all this is, according to Aziz, that the more music we're exposed to, the more likely we are to suffer musical hallucinations. He warns: "We are now exposed to a barrage of music and it seems that we might well see more cases of this in the future. We'll only know if we test people in 20 years' time."

One last thing: if you do find yourself suffering from a sudden and full-blown attack of Yes, We Have No Bananas, then your iPod might actually prove your salvation. Sheffield University psychiatrist, Peter Woodruff, says: "What they [hallucination sufferers] find is that by playing real music, it competes with the hallucination and suppresses it."

So there you have it. Detach youself from that iPod or pay the price. Or, if you've already effectively overdosed on garage/dance/trance, keep it close to hand for when the banana song comes back to haunt you. ®

Related stories

Poor diet + pollution = brain damage
University bans iPod adverts
iPod users deprived of muff

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.