Hearing Voices Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Understand your hearing voices symptoms, including 8 causes & common questions.

  1. 8 Possible Hearing Voices Causes
  2. Real-Life Stories
  3. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  4. Statistics
  5. Related Articles

8 Possible Hearing Voices Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced hearing voices. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.


Schizophrenia is a complex and chronic mental illness that can severely affect a person's behavior and understanding of reality. Schizophrenia interferes with a person's ability to think, make decisions and manage emotions, with many other symptoms that can be significantly disabling.

A wide var...

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Mental or medical condition causing thoughts of suicide

When experiencing thoughts of suicide, you should go immediately to the ER. Consider calling a suicide-prevention hotline, the number is 1 (800) 273-8255 and is available 24/7.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: thoughts of suicide, hearing voices or seeing things that aren't there, severe pelvis pain, loss of vision, hard testicle lump

Urgency: Hospital emergency room

Depersonalization/derealization identity disorder

Depersonalization/derealization identity disorder are two types of dissociative disorders. This means the person's thoughts and feelings become disassociated – or disconnected – from reality.

Depersonalization and derealization are similar and often occur together.

Depersonalization means the person feels no connection to their own thoughts, emotions, or experiences.

Derealization means the person feels that the world around them is unreal, dreamlike, or entirely imaginary.

Anyone can have a dissociative disorder, though it is most common among adolescents who have experienced traumatic events.

Symptoms include a sense of detachment from the self, as though standing aside and watching events happen to someone else; memory loss regarding certain events; and significant depression and anxiety. The symptoms may come and go.

Dissociative disorders can severely affect a person's quality of life and ability of function normally. A medical provider should be seen for referral to the appropriate specialist.

Diagnosis is made through patient history. Tests may be done to rule out any physical condition.

Treatment involves psychotherapy and sometimes medications such as antidepressants or anxiolytics.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: depersonalization or derealization, derealization, impaired social or occupational functioning, ringing in the ears, amnesia

Symptoms that always occur with depersonalization/derealization identity disorder: depersonalization or derealization

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Vascular dementia

Vascular dementia is a disorder that causes trouble thinking and remembering things. It is caused by blocked or reduced blood flow to the brain.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms:

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Hearing Voices Symptom Checker

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Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive neurological disorder that slowly destroys memory and the ability to think clearly. As symptoms worsen, patients are often unable to perform basic tasks.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: trouble sleeping, forgetfulness, anxiety, aggression or confusion, anxiety, irritability, depressed mood

Symptoms that always occur with alzheimer's disease: forgetfulness, anxiety, aggression or confusion

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Absence seizure

A seizure is a short episode of symptoms that is caused by a burst of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Absence seizures are a specific type of seizure where a person has a brief loss of consciousness (an absence) for a few seconds. These episodes are much more common among younger people than adults, and may go unnoticed for a long time as they may look from outside as a momentary lapse in concentration.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: brief fainting episode, inattentive staring, episodic inattentiveness or staring, poor academic performance

Symptoms that always occur with absence seizure: inattentive staring

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Bipolar disorder type i

Bipolar disorder is an illness of the brain that causes swings in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to function on a day-to-day basis. These symptoms are severe and unlike the normal ups and downs of life.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms:

Urgency: In-person visit

New migraine

New, or new-onset, migraine means the person has never experienced a migraine headache before. A migraine is a one-sided headache that causes intense pain and throbbing due to blood vessels dilating in the brain.

The exact reason for new-onset migraine headache is not known, but a number of causes are being studied:

  • Pregnancy.
  • Soy isoflavone supplements, especially in men.
  • Use and overuse of certain medications.
  • Traumatic head injury.
  • Angioma, which is a cluster of dilated blood vessels in the brain.
  • A complication of surgery for some heart conditions.

Anyone with a sudden severe headache should be seen by a medical provider, so that a more serious cause can be ruled out. A transient ischemic attack, also known as TIA or mini-stroke, can have symptoms similar to a migraine but is far more serious.

Diagnosis is made through patient history, physical examination, and imaging such as a CT scan.

Treatment for migraine varies with the individual. Lifestyle changes may be recommended and there are a number of medications that may be tried.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: new headache, fatigue, nausea, mild headache, headache that worsens when head moves

Symptoms that always occur with new migraine: new headache

Symptoms that never occur with new migraine: fever, diarrhea, productive cough, headache resulting from a head injury

Urgency: Self-treatment

Real-life Stories

Once your story is reviewed and approved by our editors, it will live on Buoy as a helpful resource for anyone who may be dealing with something similar. If you want to learn more, try Buoy Assistant.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Hearing Voices

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Have you ever been diagnosed with a psychiatric issue, such as depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, or anxiety disorder?
  • Do you have thoughts of hurting yourself?
  • Are your symptoms causing difficulty at work, socializing, or spending time with friends & family?
  • Do or did you suffer from alcohol abuse?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Hearing Voices Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your hearing voices

Hearing Voices Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced hearing voices have also experienced:

  • 10% Anxiety
  • 9% Depressed Mood
  • 6% Hearing Voices Or Seeing Things That Aren'T There

People who have experienced hearing voices were most often matched with:

  • 46% Mental Or Medical Condition Causing Thoughts Of Suicide
  • 30% Depersonalization/Derealization Identity Disorder
  • 23% Schizophrenia

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from Buoy Assistant (a.k.a. the quiz).

Hearing Voices Symptom Checker

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