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Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2002 May;17(5):444-52.

The prevalence and phenomenology of auditory hallucinations among elderly subjects attending an audiology clinic.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, St-Mary's Hospital, Montreal, Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Studies of auditory hallucinations are scant.

METHOD:

To determine the prevalence and phenomenology of auditory hallucinations among elderly subjects with hearing impairment.

OBJECTIVE:

We surveyed 125 men and women aged 65 years and over referred to the Audiology department of a university-affiliated primary acute-care hospital.

RESULTS:

The prevalence of auditory hallucinations was 32.8% (95% confidence interval (CI) 24.7-41.8). These hallucinations represented a spectrum of phenomenology from elementary personal impressions to complex percepts. The types of auditory hallucinations included humming or buzzing (35.9%), shushing (12.8%), beating or tapping (10.6%), ringing (7.7%), other individual sounds (15.4%), multiple sounds (12.6%), voices (2.5%) or music (2.5%). Subjects with any type of hallucination were younger and had poorer discrimination scores in the left ear and impaired binaural discrimination with lip-reading. Subjects with hallucinations that had more qualities of a true percept heard different types of sounds and had lower reflex thresholds and better air conduction in the right ear.

CONCLUSION:

Auditory hallucinations are frequent in elderly subjects with hearing impairment and seem to be associated with younger age and asymmetrical hearing impairment.

PMID:
11994933
DOI:
10.1002/gps.618
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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