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nebule's avatar

Does anyone have any experiences of hearing voices inside their heads?

Asked by nebule (16379 points ) September 4th, 2012

First of all I don’t think I’m bonkers…but who can tell eh? In all seriousness it occurred to me last night whilst trying to get to sleep that I was hearing voices inside my head; people with specific voices, not my own, in different dialects talking about really random subjects that I know nothing about.

This happens to me somewhat frequently but I’ve just ignored it before thinking that it was something to do with the TV or books or radio… but I’m not so sure…I has happened to me all my life in fact and as a child it was quite scary at times. I’ve just been reading this website and find some of what it has to say very interesting.

I also have visions as well, scenes happen in my head that have nothing to do with anything I have seen or watched; this also happened last night. They are really very specific too..I couldn’t recall the image or conversation specifically now (from last night) but I know that at the time it was incredibly vivid and more so than any dream. I was fully conscious.

I’m wondering if anyone else has experiences like this? And if you want to proffer your explanation I’d love to hear it. I guess I am a little concerned about my mental health but as this has happened to me for a long time… I’m just intrigued and perplexed really….

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42 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

Not since I had this demonic possessioGRJKAJFDJHKJFDSFA I AM COMING FOR YOU

Shippy's avatar

If it happens only when you are trying to sleep, it possible is just one level below conscious thinking. (Hypnagogia ) If it is happening in a wake state I would personally get it seen to. However I am no expert just my opinion.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I think you might be crazy if you don’t hear voices. I have inner dialogs with myself a lot.

We’re crazy here…

nebule's avatar

@ragingloli hee hee x that’s not scary at all ;-)

@Shippy possibly only happens before I sleep… but then my mind is often so busy during the day, as is anyone’s.. but I wasn’t even on the edge of sleep. But even if I was…why would I get this? They were actual real conversations being had between two people at one point that I wasn’t in control of at all but totally listening to… very very odd…

@uberbatman Thank you x That is very comforting indeed :-) xx

Trillian's avatar

If they’re not specifically talking to you, then you can rest assured it has nothing to do with you. Feel free to ignore it. They might notice you if you’re listening and tell you to mind your own business.

Pazza's avatar

WOOOOOOOOW! that’s so cool.
I’m actually pretty gealous, but having said that, I’m also pretty sure I would cack myself if they started speaking to me….

I’ve had several experiences myself when I’ve been on the edge of sleep, as have a number of people I know including my brother, my dad and my nan.

Personally I think we do have are a soul which inhabits a flesh and blood vessel, and I think most of the time our minds are locked into our five senses. But as we begin to fall asleep those main senses start to shout down, or to put it another way, our mind starts to let go, and stop paying attention to them, which I think leaves us open to say ‘other frequencies’ or ‘other information’ maybe another sense that our minds are to busy to pay attention to whilst we’re awake.

I wouldn’t worry about it unless the voices start telling you to do stuff!........

Well, unless they tell you to come round and clean my house, or cook me some tea haha.
or buy me a porche!!!!!!!

rojo's avatar

I do what the voices in my wifes’ head tell me to.

Pazza's avatar

@rojo – haha….Ace.
I have a thumb print on my forehead….

BhacSsylan's avatar

So, this randomly came up recently on a podcast I listen to (Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe), whose host is a neurologist. From what I gleaned from that, hearing voices is relatively common, as hallucinations go, and can many times be benign. They can also be a symptom of low-level schizophrenia or other disorders, so it probably is not a bad idea to get checked out by a psychiatrist (especially in combination with such intense visual hallucinations, as well). But, as the article states, while they are a symptom of many disorders, that does not mean that the presence of the voices means you have a disorder. Like a runny nose is a symptom of a cold, but if you have a runny nose it doesn’t mean you have a cold. So, yeah, I would personally suggest getting it checked out, but mostly just to be sure, and not because there’s necessarily anything wrong.

However, take this all with a grain of salt, as I work in a field with no more then a passing connection to neurobiology, and just happen to know a decent amount about mental health.

poisonedantidote's avatar

I often hear a cynical or sarcastic version of my self spouting wise cracks at me.

Coloma's avatar

I just hear myself, no other voices, no. haha
I would tend to agree with all of the above, especially @Shippy ‘s answer. If it is only occurring before sleep when your brain is in defrag mode and you’re in an altered state of consciousness I wouldn’t worry. If you start hearing them all the time, well…..I’d get checked by a doctor and mental health pro.

flutherother's avatar

When I was a young I experienced the hypnagogic images @Shippy mentioned. I saw silent images like television pictures playing in my head when trying to get to sleep. They were completely silent but I remember they scared me. I think hearing voices is similar and may be a symptom of extreme tiredness. You recognise that these voices are not ‘real’ though they sound real. That is different from believing the voices are an actual presence with which you can engage which would be of more concern.

cheebdragon's avatar

If the voices start telling you to do something, DO NOT DO IT! and seek help immediately. It’s not ghosts, or premonition, it’s probably schizophrenia.

YARNLADY's avatar

I did for most of my life, but it mostly stopped a few years back.

augustlan's avatar

Every once in a while, when I’m drifting off to sleep, I’ll hear someone shouting my name. The first several times it happened, I was certain it was real. Now I know better. It still brings me to a fully alert stage, which is annoying.

More disturbingly, I used to get recurring images/scenes in my head frequently. Almost always when I was in bed and not on the edge of sleep. They were very unpleasant scenes, too. Scary! My therapist suggested that it had to do with obsessive thought disorder (OCD without the “C” part). It hardly ever happens anymore, which I attribute to A) taking anti-anxiety medication and B) only going to bed when I’m fully exhausted and more than ready to sleep.

Like you, I have a very busy brain during the day and often had a hard time shutting it off to go to sleep. My guess is that somewhere between the fully awake (busy) stage and the drifting off to sleep stage, the ‘veil’ that keeps that shit from intruding during the day drops and the brain begins to amuse itself.

Crumpet's avatar

It happenes to me very rarely when I’m very relaxed, or in bed, but I’ve never worried about it because I just assume its because my brain is shutting down and I may be almost dreaming.
Sometimes when I’m fully awake during the day I’ll hear my name being called, but I don’t worry about that either.
I’m not an expert in these matters, but little things like this and de ja vu, and seeing things inside your head every once is a while is probably normal. The brain is an amazing thing, and can act pretty weird sometimes.

It’s when you can have a conversation in your head, and are not consciously speaking the replies to yourself… then you should see a head doctor!

filmfann's avatar

Yes, I struggle with Schizotypal personality disorder, and I occasionally hear voices.
Amusingly, I tell people the voices are teaching me Latin, but they really aren’t.
It can be unsettling, but you can live a normal life by learning the triggers, and ignoring them when they come.

snowberry's avatar

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mazingerz88's avatar

Yes. I’m a guy but I keep hearing someone calling me “Stella! Stellaaaaaah!”

this_velvet_glove's avatar

Yes. Two voices, just talking about random stuff or laughing (at me). Once, they told me to ‘kill the child’, which scared the shit out of me. I also see things (like places I haven’t visited yet, or things that are about to happen) but I’m kind of used to it now. I’ve talked to my therapist about it, but I don’t know yet. I don’t think it’s serious, though.

nebule's avatar

Thank you for your responses everyone. x I am inclined to think it is nothing to worry about of course. As I’ve said I’ve had these visual and auditory hallucinations for a while..pretty muhc as far back as I can remember but not frequently…well not every night anyway. I am under a lot of stress at the moment and my sleep patterns aren’t great. I do find the whole thing absolutely fascinating though, how our brains can do such amazingly weird things!!

As these voices are as scary as some of things people have reported I feel humbled and my heart goes out to anyone suffering with the condition in it’s more worse forms. Thankfully mental ‘problems’ are becoming more accepted and the more we talk about them with openness and without judgement this will increase, I’m sure. If I have any more voices I’ll keep you updated… maybe we can support one another xx

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

If they’re not telling you to kick widows and orphans, drown kittens, or kill random people, I wouldn’t worry about it. However, if they tell you to kill this guy I used to know, let me know so I can help.

In all seriousness, I’m with the folks who say it sounds like it only happens when you’re relaxed or on the verge of sleep and is pretty normal. I’ve had some pretty weird shit happen to me during those times, so you likely have nothing at all to be concerned about.

cheebdragon's avatar

Maybe you should start writing down what the voices are saying, just incase future generations need a new bible.

Pazza's avatar

Ok. since we’re all sharing…......

I SEE DEAD PEOPLE!

Seriously though. Can you write down what they say?
I’m really intrigued to know what these voices talk about.
I had no idea this was so common or that so many people were affected by it.

@snowberry Rings a bell that does. Also, you just reminded me of a video on ted:
Woody Norris: Hypersonic sound and other inventions

(From 10 mins 30 is very interesting.)

YARNLADY's avatar

I can share what my voices said to me – they told me the answers to questions on tests and when I was reading in my library book during class, they told me the answers when the teacher called on me.

The voices also told me how to try and act like other people, so I would have some friends, but it never worked out. They also told me how to stop being hurt or angry when I got upset, and how to think of things instead of being bored.

this_velvet_glove's avatar

Does hearing noises count?

Pazza's avatar

@this_velvet_glove – I have tinitus. Its very annoying trying to get to sleep. Takes me about ¾ to 1 hour to get to sleep every night. Weirdly, don’t know if anybody else has the same problem but the more I concentrate or listen to the noise, the louder it gets.

@YARNLADY – I always self anylaise everthing I do, and how I think people are perceiving my behaviour towards them, but when I do its always my voice in my head, which I’m assuming is run of the mill average thought. Do you think it’s your subconsious creating the voices as you try to work everyday situations out, and instead of you conciously working through stuff your mind does it in the background and then creates caracters for you to interact with? Do these voices sound like internal thoughts, or do you hear them as external voices?

this_velvet_glove's avatar

@Pazza What’s that noise like? The noise I hear is um… similar to the sound of a door being unlocked, or something. Sometimes it’s more like a whisper, though. A very annoying one.

Pazza's avatar

@this_velvet_glove
I hear three separate tones, each is a high pitched squeal.
I have a lump of wax in my left ear which I’ve been trying to soften up to get it out which is aggravating the situation. Usually during the day I couldn’t hear them through the background noise of people talking and typing and wind etc. But this blockage in my left ear seems to be aggravating the situation and I have a constant squeal in my left ear at the moment that I can hear all day.

I did a bit of googling and found that ear buds (which I have used regularly to clean my ears for many many years) are really a big no-no and shouldn’t be used, and in fact lead to the problem which I have in my left ear.

Also, it would seem that it can cause vertigo, which I also suffer with.
I think it’s time for a trip to the quack’s for a good ear syringing

nebule's avatar

Ok so last night I got this one very vivid image of a huge bone on a medical table with some sheets covering one end..it wasn’t attached to any…‘body’ as such. but I could see the rest of the room behind it,... well the floor and walls and see through glass panel on one side of the room. Then it disappeared.

just documenting for future reference! but comments welcome :-)

Pazza's avatar

@nebule
When you get these images, are your eyes closed or open?
Is the image 2d or 3d?

(sorry to pester, but its fascinating)

YARNLADY's avatar

@Pazza I perceive the voices as ideas presented by someone other than myself. It’s very much like hearing a voice on the telephone, only non-auditory.

this_velvet_glove's avatar

@Pazza I didn’t know that (about ear buds). But how can someone clean their ears without using ear buds?

Pazza's avatar

@this_velvet_glove
Same way we’ve done form 1000’s of years.
Apparently, they’re self cleaning. Jaw movements and rolling from side to side when you sleep
help to move debrix/dust particles transit along your ear canal until they are expelled.
(or you stick your finger in, wiggle and lick lol).

cheebdragon's avatar

@Pazza I had an very mild inner ear infection a few years ago, the doctor said it wasn’t too bad, but it completely messed me up for a couple of weeks. There was no pain, but I was really lethargic, my vision was very choppy (like a sequence of still images with nothing in between), I could not figure out what the problem was, but I could tell that something was seriously wrong, I was getting very panicky, and my equilibrium was way off. If that’s how bad I felt with a mild infection, I can’t even imagine how bad a severe infection could be.

rojo's avatar

This is unusual for me but this morning, during meditation, I very clearly and distinctly heard a womans voice say “Hello”. I did not recognize the voice and was startled. It sounded like she was in the room with me and was so real that I got up to see who had come into my house but the dog was still asleep on the sofa in the room between me and the front door so I have to assume it was an auditory hallucination..

OpryLeigh's avatar

I’ve experienced something similar on a few ocassions (not regularly but often enough for me to remember times). It’s almost like I can hear a distant tv or radio. I’ve never been bothere by it and it’s never been a frightening experience.

Pazza's avatar

@Leanne1986 – I get that a lot when I’m lying in bed trying to get to sleep!......
I always assume it’s next doors tv or two people talking next door even if its silly hours o’clock. I didn’t mention it in any of my posts because I thought it would look like I was just trying to get on the ‘band wagon’. I can never make out what’s being said, but it usually sounds like two blokes talking but its so faint I can’t make anything out. Also, it doesn’t matter where I sleep, the conversation is always located at about 1–2 o’clock in my field of sound.

Made up it’s not just me.

augustlan's avatar

@Leanne1986 and @Pazza I get that a lot when I’m sitting at my computer in the middle of the night, with only ‘house sounds’ to keep me company. Like a very low radio sound. Sometimes it drives me a little nutty.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Pazza and @augustlan I know what you mean about having it whilst awake when there are no other “life” noises around you. Also, I can quite often understand what the voices are saying but it only lasts a matter of seconds.

Pazza's avatar

good job nobody knows are real identities…....we’d all be sectioned under the mental health act!
not quite sure how they’d section a strawman though….. maybe they’ll just stick me in a barn!

Ps. heard somebody whistle me twice the other night after these posts.
It woke me up? It was about three in the morning and I jumped up to look out the window to see if anybody was outside creeping around as a lot of garden furniture and my bike went missing from several gardens down our street about a week ago.

Anyway. Suffice to say that there was nobody outside?

What’s stranger, I often throw out questions into the eather just in case anybody is listening, and after all these posts, I sort of asked if anbody wanted to let me know if they we’re hanging around, if they would kind of do it discreetly so as not to scare the living s#*t out of me! lol.

Anyway, the next night I got a whistle, so who knows?

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