Feeds

iPod users in musical hallucination threat

More music, more madness, says brain boffin

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.