Auditory Hallucinations

I had a perfect auditory hallucination this morning. I was asleep in bed and heard very distinctly **“HEY <MY NAME>.” ** I almost woke up and said “WHAT?”, thinking my husband needed me, but then I came to and realized that he was sound asleep beside me and that I had imagined it. Took a while to fall back asleep - it was that clear and that freaky.

Anybody else get those?

From time to time. When I was in my teens I heard them more frequently than I do now, though.

Usually I’ll hear somebody saying my name, clear as a bell.

I’ve read sources that say up to 25% of normal, not mentally ill people will have at least 1 auditory hallucination in their lifetime, and hearing your name called is one of the most common. Your brain just takes ambient sounds, mixes them with random neural firing, and then tries to interpret them as meaningful signals. Oh, and yes, add me to the list.

Not words, but I do get the exploding head thing. Perhaps three or four times a year I get woken up by a nonexistant explosion, I used to mistake them for our occasional car crash [we live about 400 feet down from a curve and a few times each winter some jackass skids off into the corner of our property. We have given up on restacking the fence after 20+ years of it. We just call the cops and let them deal with it except for the time it was a head on collision between 2 cars of idiots cutting in on the curve at the same time. mrAru grabbed his go bag and responded.]

I do get migraines, but have never gone through benzo withdrawl nor do I have epilepsy.

Sounds like a classic hypnopompic hallucination. They’re very common, and one’s name being called is a frequent manifestation.

Yep. I get the name-calling one occasionally when I’m on the edge of sleep. It’s oddly consistent: a woman’s voice, but not one I recognize as belonging to anyone I know or have known. It’s soft and has an inquisitive inflection, not so much calling me as asking if I’m awake.

I have that thing where the fan we have running in the bedroom for white noise makes a sound like music off in the distance to me. I know that’s what’s going on now, but I still occasionally ask my husband if he hears the music (he never does).

I hear Christmas songs, opera, rock songs, cowboy music, and random nonsense songs in white noise. This has happened most of my life but has gotten worse in the past year due to a brain injury. Sometimes I hear a baseball game but that’s caused by tinnitus in my right ear.

I also have the hypnopompic hallucinations but they’re mostly visual and involve animals such as rats or giant spiders.

My mother had “Exploding Head” auditory halucination for years. Turned out it was Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) and somehow had affected the nerves in her ears.

I used to get them very occasionally in college when I was extremely tired and stressed (almost always after pulling an all-nighter to get a paper finished in time for a morning class). Under the same circumstances, I would also occasionally get frightening sleep paralysis episodes.

Anyhow, as for the auditory hallucinations, they were really cool. I loved these things, and they were always musically related. I never would hear voices, but I would hear full original music, completely orchestrated, and I would hear it clearly as if it was on radio. I would be aware that I’m hallucinating, but I would try to keep myself on that edge between wakefulness and sleep so I could experience the hallucination as long as possible. I would often try to bring to mind songs/melodies I was working on, and they would play in my head, fully arranged and completed. Trippy and very cool.

I don’t think I’ve had one since my 20s, though, and when I was having them with any relative frequency, it was my junior and senior year of college. But, overall, I don’t think I’ve had more than about a dozen or so of these experiences.

I’ve had the ‘heard my name called’ version multiple times, almost always when I’m falling asleep.

About three years ago, I had an auditory hallucination of a cell phone ringing about fifty feet away from where I was standing. It was out on the street, I was the only person out there, and it was clear as a bell. I had just precipitated myself into an asthma attack (allergies, heavy exercise), and by the time I got home, I had myself an old fashion anxiety attack to go with it. Very unsettling.

Last year I had Lyme disease, and for about 10 days or so before the signature bulls eye rash appeared I was terrified I was going crazy. The thing is, once you’re aware you have a easily treatable bacterial infection you can relax and accept you’re going to feel a little crazy for a while. Prior to that I was trying unsuccessfully to convince myself I wasn’t hearing things.

At first it was a lot like the hypnopompic hallucinations jjimm linked to, which I’ve experienced infrequently in the past.

I have something similar to that. Whenever there’s something making a consistent noise (a fan clicking, a clock ticking, me drumming my fingers on a table), if I focus, I can sort of make myself hear different pitches with each sound. I can go through basic melodies and scales by adjusting the tempo to fit whatever click I’m hearing. Thing is, the sound never changes pitch, and if I stop focusing, it reverts to one pitch - it’s kind of weird.

For me it happened somewhere in the preteen years, maybe 8-11 or so. Mine were not like the ones described here or typically in other depictions of auditory hallucinations; but when listening to This American Life just now, I was jolted into remembering what I experienced because the woman being profiled has psychotic episodes which include (among other things I never experienced) an acute awareness of things “rustling” (like sheets, or papers) as if they are extremely loud and vaguely ominous.

I would also at this stage of life sometimes hear something kind of reverberate “wah wah wah” in my ears; and the weirdest of all was sometimes having a feeling like I had a strange terrible superpower: that if I focused and concentrated just right on a certain kind of “pattern” (for lack of a better word) as I lay in the dark, I could trigger the ultimate doomsday effect, instantly annihilating the entire universe (I know, right?).

But then that stopped happening and I have never had a recurrence of this or any other pathological mental condition. I wondered, “was I temporarily mentally ill, and it somehow went away?” Doing some Googling, I was reassured (and also fascinated) to learn that research finds auditory hallucinations to be remarkably common in childhood. So then my question is: why? Something about the way our brains are still forming at that time has some kinks to work out, sort of like a neurological analogue to growing pains, acne, or a cracking voice?

It used to happen to me quite frequently but hasn’t for years now. It used to happen as I was falling asleep. I would hear a fragment of conversation that made no sense as though someone was walking past talking to a friend, “it was too expensive” or “under the table” or “first available opportunity.” I quite liked it but as soon as I tried to pay attention it would stop.

I wonder if stuff that goes on when you are falling asleep really counts. I normally don’t remember that mental state; but when I’m interrupted from fully falling asleep, I do remember and am suddenly aware that I’m thinking/“hallucinating” all kinds of weird, fantastical shit. I feel though like this is in a way just basically half dreaming, so I only consider it hallucinatory if I’m fully awake.

Sometimes I will wake up around 3 or 4 in the morning and swear that I can hear a radio or TV on in another room. It’s at that barely audible range where I think I hear something - and it may be music, or it may be talking - but I can’t quite make it out. I’ll get up and walk around the house, and of course nothing is on. My hearing is kind of shot anyway, so I assume it’s just “white noise” in my head that my brain is trying to make sense of somehow.

That is probably what is occurring with me too, although mine frequently happens when I’m awake. If it happens at night (usually around 2:30 am after an intense, violent dream) I hear a buzzing, whirring, or mumbling noise that gradually becomes repeated words or phrases such as “gutenheimer”, “yoyt”, “no no no”, or “Nixon bowling.” The voice is rather sinister and unpleasant but I suspect it’s my brain trying to make sense of the tinnitus noise.

That space just between waking and sleep is quite funky indeed. I’ve been getting “exploding head” events as I get older (thanks, aging body!). I’ve never heard my name being called, thankfully.

That, combined with my house’s habit of producing loud noises from the wall and attic as the temperature changes, can make for an interesting evening.

I did have a plethora of entertaining visual and temporal hallucinations for about six months after I became a widower, but interestingly no auditory stuff at all. I guess my brain was busy rewiring itself and merrily ran over a few curbs and ditches along the way.

How is it a hallucination if it happens when you are asleep? Isn’t that just called dreaming?