What are Music Hallucinations?

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  • Written By: Diane Goettel
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 01 October 2019
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Music hallucinations are a kind of auditory hallucination in which a person seems to hear a piece of music even though that piece of music is not being played within earshot. Many people, over the courses of their lives, have times when they can't seem to get a tune out of their head. It may be a jingle from a detergent commercial, a song from childhood, or a piece of pop music that has been receiving a great deal of radio play. These are not music hallucinations because, in these cases, the people usually can tell that they are not actually hearing the music, but they are playing the memory of the music back in their heads.

Much like this situation that so many people have experienced, music hallucinations usually involve a piece of music that the person knows very well. Music hallucinations usually have to do with deafness or an issue with the brain and not simply the recent exposure to a tune. For example, it is common for people who are older to experience music hallucinations after losing their ability to hear. Some doctors believe that the reason for music hallucinations in people with hearing loss is a reaction to the deprivation of sound. There have been other cases reported in which sensory deprivation, such as the loss of one's ability to taste, have lead to phantom sensations.


Although hearing loss is difficult to deal with in some cases, it is often manageable. Music hallucinations can be the result of other, much more serious issues, including a stroke, a brain tumor, or other problems affecting the brain. As such, it is very important to report the experience of music hallucinations to a doctor immediately.

It is also possible for music hallucinations and other kinds of auditory hallucinations to be the result of a psychological problem. Auditory hallucinations are often associated with schizophrenia, which is a serious mental condition. Unless it is clear that auditory hallucinations of any kind are a result of deafness or sound deprivation, it is very important to make sure that they are reported to a doctor and that their cause is investigated. It is crucial that issues such as brain tumors and the damage of a stroke are dealt with quickly. It is equally important that mental conditions related to auditory hallucinations are dealt with as soon as possible.


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Post 4

The above are not music hallucinations.

Post 3

I was woken in the night to very loud classical music playing, I got out of bed in total fear of it, checked, and my music system was off! This only happened once to me and I don't know why? It really scared me.

Post 2

@anon168336 – Is the music something you have heard before, or is it entirely new to you? I have dreamed up original songs before, and though I often can't remember the entire song after I wake up, I can remember enough of it to build a new song around.

Whatever is going on in my dream influences the lyrics and the tone of the music. I recently had a dream about a dance set to music underneath the stars, and after waking up, I could remember the piano music, as well as the melody and the words, “Under the stars.”

Whether these qualify as hallucinations, I don't know. There certainly wasn't any actual music being played in the room where I slept, but upon waking, I did have the mental capacity to realize I had dreamed the music.

Post 1

Often when asleep I will awaken with very loud music playing in my head, sometimes with lyrics but most often just loud 'noise'. I am able to return to sleep.

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