Is there a word similar to hallucinations, but applied to hearing instead ? What do you say you when you feel like you heard something ?

  • 16
    An auditory hallucination?
    – Anonym
    Commented May 27, 2016 at 22:29
  • 1
    – Hot Licks
    Commented May 27, 2016 at 22:36
  • Yyp, that definition makes the most sense. I guess I thought there'd be a single word for it like hallucinations, but I guess it's not as common ?
    – mahimams
    Commented May 27, 2016 at 23:58

3 Answers 3


"auditory hallucinations" , as mentioned by Anonym, is one of the main features of schizophrenia.

  • A paracusia, or auditory hallucination, is a form of hallucination that involves perceiving sounds without auditory stimulus. Auditory hallucinations need to be distinguished from endaural phenomena in which sounds are heard without any external acoustic stimulation but arise from disorders of the frontal lobe, temporal lobe, language processing system, ear or auditory system. A common form of auditory hallucination involves hearing one or more talking voices. This may be associated with psychotic disorders, and holds special significance in diagnosing these conditions. However, individuals may hear voices without suffering from diagnosable mental illness. There are three main categories into which the hearing of talking voices can often fall: a person hearing a voice speak one's thoughts, a person hearing one or more voices arguing, or a person hearing a voice narrating his/her own actions. These three categories do not account for all types of auditory hallucinations.
  • 4
    This is not a criticism nor a request (as you can tell by my +1), but you might consider offering credit to @Anonym for suggesting this in the comments 2 minutes after the question was asked.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented May 27, 2016 at 23:10
  • 2
    @DanBron Being an M.D., the answer seemed so obvious to me that I never even read the comments before posting. Otherwise I would have offered credit to whoever had mentioned it, as I usually do.
    – Centaurus
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 0:08
  • 1
    Brief auditory hallucinations can also occur on the edge of sleep, of course. When I've been working excessively long hours and am starting to microsleep, this is one of the indications that I'm not entirely tracking reality. I can sometimes provoke something like a lucid-dreaming state that encourages them. But I'm under no illusion that they are anything more than random memory firing.
    – keshlam
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 3:11

Also, you can try tinnitus

Tinnitus is the hearing of sound when no external sound is present.

It may be defined in the dictionaries only as a ringing or buzzing sound in one's ears but doctors use it when hearing is stimulated by a sound that is not there.

Also see tinnitus at mayo clinic

  • 9
    "tinnitus" is not a hallucination at all. It's a buzzing sound due to organic disease of the auditory system.
    – Centaurus
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 0:06
  • @Centaurus What does organic disease mean in that context? Commented May 28, 2016 at 6:23
  • 1
    @RockPaperLizard It means it's not "all in your head".
    – philipxy
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 8:36
  • 1
    @philipxy Ah, thanks. Although, ironically, in this case, it is all in your head. But I understand what you meant. ;-) Commented May 28, 2016 at 8:43
  • 1
    @Mazura You are right, tinnitus is not a disease. (I never said it is) As I mentioned in my previous comment, it's (a symptom) due to organic disease of the auditory system. Unlike auditory hallucinations, where the subject can hear voices, conversations or even orders, tinnitus is a perception of sound (not voices) in the absence of an external source. It's a common complaint in my daily practice and prescription drugs can be effective in some cases, depending on etiology.
    – Centaurus
    Commented May 29, 2016 at 0:27

More informal than auditory hallucinations would be "hearing things" as in, "I must be hearing things" (with the implication that the "things" do not exist).

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