Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Son says he *can't* hear certain real voices sometimes

My son is 19 and he has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. He has a lot of the classic symptoms, including hearing voices. But lately he has been having a problem where he claims he can’t hear someone who is actually talking. The other day it was his father. I was there and he could still hear me, but not his dad. It has happened a few times before, with other people. He claims he does not believe his dad is talking at all- he gets angry about his dad “mouthing” words at him (he wasn’t).

He has in the past heard people say things they did not say. He heard me tell him to kill himself once (I was telling him about how I got really cheap apples at the market…nothing like that at all and I’ve never said anything like that in my life). I was actually talking though. So maybe that is related to this.

I’ve never heard of “absence of sound” as a hallucination though. What the heck is going on? Has anyone ever experienced this?

Interesting. My son said the other day that he can’t hear anything in his science class. I’m not sure if he meant can’t hear or can’t understand or if there’s too much internal stimuli or what. Still trying to figure it out.

I hope you don’t mind me jumping in… I was diagnosed when I was 17…

Before my meds got leveled out… there was a lot of internal noise in my head. The voices I dealt with sounded very solid and external. It was hard to make out what was just head chatter and what was family trying to reach me.

It was really hard for me to hear when an actual family member was talking to me. It also depended what was happening in my head. It took so much concentration to even make out half of what my family was saying…

Or if it was a lot of low rumble noise in my head… Low voices just blended in.

I wish I had some ideas on how to help… but I just had to let the meds to their magic and eventually the voices faded.

Yes. I am under the impression that my family member is more focussed on internal stimuli when this happens, often asking me whether I said something or not.

Also have been in situations where what people said and what family member heard were dramatically different.

I often ask whether it’s an okay time to talk.

It must be much more difficult in a classroom or anyplace with lots of external stimuli as well.

there’s usually a delay in my reply when a family member is talking to me… sometimes i can hear them, sometimes i cant and dont respond at all. but i dont think i’ve ever misinterpreted what they’re saying.

bob, probably your son is in his own suffering a lot and he cant hear the others because of this. me, for example, I cant see the price of the products in the markets cause I am afraid of the others and cant pay attention to the more ‘‘essential things’’. I don’t feel some smells also,because I am too much in my suffering. this is for my case.
great that your son is young, don’t lose hope…me, I am ill since child and I suffer a lot,i am 33 years old…

When I was first admitted to hospital I could only hear parts of what was said on the tv. I was very ill and unmedicated though. Time and the right medication sorted it out.

Sometimes I can’t read or understand subjects that are upsetting. Then I get all confused.
But then I could read the words on a box of cookies during my latest relapse.

Then I remember back in school, I would read the newspaper and try to concentrate.
Then I would try to fool them and quickly switch my attention to reading my textbooks. I had trouble reading them because they would say, you will die if you read them.

It’s possible that part of the problem is that voices can also sound like close family members. With my son he used to have one that he said was his cousin(s). That voice actually changed over time from one cousin (male) to another cousin (female). Maybe in trying to block out or ignore that voice he is also ignoring the real person that sounds like the voice.

No I appreciate everyone’s input! It’s so interesting to hear. I think it’s very likely that my son does struggle to hear over the noise in his head. Before he was diagnosed, one day he thought I was blasting 3-4 radios on different channels…no radios were on at all. I can’t imagine how confusing it would be. The odd thing was he wanted to hear his dad so he presumably was specifically listening for his voice, and still couldn’t hear it. Maybe it is low voices that are hard to hear- all the people it’s happened on have been male.

We’re still looking for the right medication for him. He is currently prescribed medication but he was living away at university and apparently not taking it. Only in the past week or so since he came home has he been taking it consistently (and even now with reminders he doesn’t always want to because he has delusions about it does to him…). It will take a while to reach max effect.

when the mind is so full it’s difficult to think through any sentence to say out loud, and i guess that could also be said for hearing people speaking who are speaking to you or in the room

I’ve had it where what was being said had no meaning because i was concentrating on my delusions.
and yes, that can go on for a long time in a room with someone

I think it’s not a physical thing just drowned out by the full on, fast moving, loud thoughts

  1. Get a copy of this book and read it and have their families read it, as well.
  2. Get properly diagnosed by a board-certified psychopharmacologist who specializes in the psychotic disorders. One can find them at… and
  3. Work with that “psychiatrist” (or “p-doc”) to develop a medication formula that stabilizes their symptoms sufficiently so that they can tackle the psychotherapy that will disentangle their thinking.
  4. The best of the psychotherapies for that currently include…
    DBT –
    MBSR –
    MBCT -
    ACT –
    10 StEP –
  5. the even newer somatic psychotherapies like…
    MBBT –
    SEPT –
    SMPT –
  6. or standard CBTs, like…
    REBT –
    Schematherapy –
    Learned Optimism –
    Standard CBT –
  7. If you/she/he needs a professional intervention to get through treatment resistance, tell me where you live, and I will get back to you with leads to those services.
  8. Look into the RAISE Project at