Advanced Practice - My Patient Hearing Opera Singer in Right Ear

Auditory release hallucinations (aka "musical ear syndrome")

  • Usually encountered in patients with hearing loss
  • Experienced on the side of hearing loss
  • Thought to be due to "disinhibition of auditory memory circuits due to sensory deprivation"
  • Often experienced as music that the patient learned when they had intact hearing (church hymns are common)



  • Hearing aids may eliminate the auditory hallucination
  • Treatment with antidepressants and/or antipsychotics has some reported efficacy


Our patient

  • Noted to have cerumen impaction on affected side
  • The large cerumen plug was irrigated from the external auditory canal
  • The patients auditory hallucinations resolved within minutes




Sanchez TG, Rocha SC et al. Musical Hallucination Associated With Hearing Loss. Arq Neuropsiquiatr 2011;69(2B): 395-400.