Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Help for auditory hallucinations

Has anyone had any experience with sound canceling headphones or ear buds for hearing sound and voice hallucinations? My sister is not yet medicated and seems to have auditory and visual hallucinations

In my experience these can help somewhat, as can white noise devices. In my experience there are two types of auditory “hallucinations”. One type, which is/was my primary source, is what I call misperception. That’s where there sounds are misheard by content or source or both, often times by projecting internal thoughts, delusions or fears onto outside stimulus— sometimes onto particular people. In these cases the stimulus and hopefully the symptoms can be covered up.

Another type is more of a classic hallucination which happens without stimulus. These can sometimes be lessened by distraction or change of focus. You might be less likely to hallucinate if you are engaged by a audio book or podcast or radio program or music the subject likes. This is more of a “shiny keys” diversion strategy. It’s more difficult to distract from than cover up stimulus, because often cognitive deficits make it harder to concentrate or pick out more compelling competing information over hallucinations. I personally favor social interactions like games or other occupational pursuits as distractions, but sometimes these aren’t available or tolerated.

I have two white noise devices I used to keep in a drawer at work and pull them out to cancel out background chatter at work and I’d sometimes play music to distract myself when symptoms were bothersome. I don’t use them much any more.