Rather than make you link back to my Health and Hormones blog, I’m copying my very first post on the broken record syndrome / auditory memory loops (AMLs) phenomenon here.
The link to the second summary of the phenomenon and my cortisol hypothesis is here: https://brokenrecordsyndrome.wordpress.com/2010/03/09/original-broken-record-syndrome-part-2/
Have you ever had a song stuck in your head? It’s probably happened to most of us from time to time.
Well, imagine having short (say, 15-20 seconds) snippets of songs, phrases and words stuck in your head, going around and around and around and around 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for months or years. Yikes!
That’s what I (and at least one other person on the planet) have. I call it the “broken record syndrome” (or BR), although the monster may be more properly referred to as an “auditory imagery loop.” In any case, it goes light years beyond the normal song-stuck-in-your-head experience.
My BR started when my hormones went south as I approached menopause. At its worst, I couldn’t sleep because some annoying tune or word would cycle over and over and over in my dreams until I’d wake up in a panic as if I’d been tortured. During waking hours, these noisy memories would sometimes get so “loud,” or intrusive, that I couldn’t concentrate on my own thoughts.
For over a year I never had one single moment of peaceful quiet, never free of that maddening racket of looping sound memories in my head, not even in my sleep. If it had continued much longer, I was sure I’d lose my mind.
Once I started hormone therapy, however, the BR quieted down, though it still comes and goes. I have found that stress (physical, mental or emotional) can bring the BR on or make it worse.
I have now met one other person who experiences this same phenomenon. Unlike, my BR though, his has been present for as long as he can remember. Fortunately, his has never gotten as bad as mine once was. We have learned that there are a number of conditions that seem related but may be very different in terms of causes and potential treatments.
Among the conditions are:
- Musical hallucinations – in which you believe you are hearing something coming from outside your body (as if music were actually playing somewhere nearby)
- Palinacousis – in which you first hear a real sound, then continue to hear that sound (like an echo) after the real sound has stopped
- Auditory imagery loop / broken record syndrome – in which a memory of a sound (musical or spoken) repeats in your head
Although BR may be effectively treated with antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs, I’m not eager to take on their side effects. I’d rather find the cause and treat it more directly and more naturally, if possible.
My current hypothesis is that this might be related to the stress hormone cortisol. I am now looking for other people who experience the same phenomenon. If you have this or know of anyone who does, please respond to this blog.