When my mother told me on the phone at the beginning of December that her neighbours were playing the same Christmas music over and over again, and she was getting fed up of it, I sympathised and suggested she should mention it to them. Maybe ask them to turn the volume down? A few days later, she realised that she was hearing these beautifully sung Christmas carols even when she wasn’t wearing her hearing aids, and that it must be inside her own head.
The first thing you think about when this happens is that you must be going mad, but I remembered a friend, also deaf, who experienced exactly the same auditory hallucinations – except she was hearing Hawaiian guitars playing “Now is the hour” – a year or so ago. My friend’s music stopped when her medication was changed, so that was a reassuring fact I could pass on to my mother.
The Internet is a wonderful place for an enquiring mind and Google came up with some very interesting information about this phenomenon, which has been named Musical Ear Syndrome by a certain Dr Neil Baumann, including this short film about an elderly lady called Cath Gamester. Her Liverpool accent may make this lady a little difficult to understand for those unfamiliar with “Scouse” – but think of the Beatles and persevere! Well worth watching, and a beautifully made short film by Cath’s grandson.