Question about mental illness

If one were mentally ill, or were suffering from a degenerative brain condition and one experienced auditory hallucinations, would these hallucinations be eradicated by simply placing ones fingers in ones ears? Or would it remain constant as it originates from inside your head to begin with.

In other words, if you think you may be experiencing an auditory hallucination, is it a good litmus test to stick your fingers in your ears and see if it goes away? If it does, then surely it is not a hallucination.


From everything I’ve read (and heard), the hallucinations are in the brain, not the ears, so blocking them doesn’t help.

If it doesn’t go away when you put your fingers in your ears, many people rationalise with things like “well then, it must be a CIA implant”, etc., hence many of the delusions.

I wonder though, if the person is delusional, and is having auditory hallucinations, could blocking the ears work? One delusion breaking another so to speak.

No, because (AFAIK), blocking the ears doesn’t stop the hallucination.

To clarify what I mean: you’re dealing with two things here. One is a hallucination, and the other is a (potential) delusion. It would be a coincidence if a person who is hallucinating could be deluded into thinking their hallucination has gone away.

Thanks, that makes good sense. I guess i failed to differentiate between the two. :slight_smile:

Be careful **Ben]/b]. Before you label something as an auditory hallucination, what you may be experienceing is simple or objective Tinnitus. It is quite common. But blocking your ears never helps, even if you are really experiencing an AH.

One thing you may try to help differenciate would be when you experience another AH go somewhere completely quite and see if you hear a ringing, or actual different pitches. It does matter. Good Luck!

Hallucinations are caused by a chemical reaction in the brain. External stimulus will not change the chemical reaction and will not affect the hallucination - whether aural (auditory) or visual.

This doesn’t exactly apply to Ben’s question, but supports mipiace’s response. I used to work with folks with schizophrenia, and even my Deaf clients “heard” voices.

That is a fascinating concept, were any of them deaf from birth? How do they account for a sensory input they had never experienced before?

Sorta on-topic:

In college, one of my psych professors showed us a filmed interview with a schizophrenic who was having visual hallucinations at the time. He described seeing an old man standing by the door, but oddly, his eyes never moved toward the direction he was indicating. When asked about this, the professor pointed out that the hallucination originated in the patient’s brain and not in some visual stimulus occurring by the door, so it wouldn’t matter where his eyes looked – he’d still see the old man.

The internal dialogue is so persistent and maddening in some schizophrenics that they use anything to drown out ‘the voices’ (or at the very least live with them) like drug abuse (including abuse of their prescriptions), loud music (usually via walkman), humming, fits of rage, suicide attempts, etc.
This is from my experience working with them.
Even with an extreme paranoid schiz who insisted that ‘they’ were planning to kill us all and were just outside the door or down the hall, he never seemed to be ‘deluded’ in the sense of hearing these voices externally. It was always an internal hallucination.

My theme to people is that the brain is utterly weird when you get to know it.

There is a thing called blind sight (this is getting a bit offtopic, but just a bit). People who have absolutely no vision due to brain damage in the visual cortex can sometimes accurately point to an object in front of them.

What this means is that what we are conscious of seeing or hearing can be different from what our brain is actually seeing.

One aspect of the brain is that it attributes explanations to things. It’s quite possible that an auditory hallucination can be seemingly stopped by putting fingers in your ears. But I think it is more likely that a hallucination will continue despite blocking the ears.

So anything is possible.

**Fear Itself[B/]–yes, some of them were born profoundly Deaf. They would sign to the voices in response, the same as some hearing people talk back to their hallucinations. I was “introduced” to a few voices by my Deaf clients as well. It really was fascinating. I wasn’t fluent enough in ASL to really talk to them about the voices (their counselors were fluent in ASL. Why didn’t I ask them? Duh!).

The one time I had audio hallucinations, I was able to tell that they were not real by concentrating very hard on something (like singing a song in my head). They’d go away when my mind was on something and would fade back in as soon as I let my mind wander.