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What is voice hearing?

What is voice hearing?

Voice Hearing generally means hearing someone or something talking when the source of the voice is not directly present. Some people also hear other noises, such as a car engine or music. These experiences can vary greatly from person to person, such that they can appear to originate outside or inside our head or body, some are fleeting and others last several minutes or longer, and some are loud and others quiet. Although some people report experiencing positive or pleasant voices, many people's experience of voices is quite distressing as the experience is often unwanted, intrusive, distracting and the voices can be very negative and critical in what they say.

Voice hearing is very common in different mental health problems, however many people who do not have mental health problems experience voices too. In fact studies have shown that 10-25% of people in the general population report hearing a voice at some stage in their life (Tien et al., 1991). There have been famous people throughout history reported to have heard voices, such as John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Lady Gaga (singer), Anthony Hopkins (actor), Zoe Wannamaker (Actress), Gandhi, and Saint Joan of Arc.

Although it may not be possible for everyone who hears voices to completely stop the experience, there are many ways to make the experience less distressing and more manageable. The Perth Voices Clinic uses psychological interventions shown to significantly reduce voice-related distress, while also giving the individual support and a safe space to explore their voice-related experiences.