Saturday, 4 October 2014

What Are Phantom Vibration Syndrome and Phantom Ringing?

Do you ever feel like your phone is vibrating when it's not? It could even be away from you, yet you still get this sensation around your pocket area or on the skin it touches. Do you ever hear your phone ringing, check but find that it never rang? Well, you're not alone.

These false beliefs and sensations, believe or not, are actually known medical conditions called “Phantom Vibration Syndrome” and “Phantom Ringing.” respectively. Other less formal terms for the phenomenon include Ringxiety, Hypovibrochondria, and Fauxcellarm.

Currently, the most likely explanation for the vibration is that your brain is misinterpreting signals it is getting from your body due to slight movement of the fabric of your clothes, believing it’s the phone.

Another theory suggests that the sensation is triggered by electrical activity. However, if I remember correctly, I might have had a few of those fake vibration moments when my phone wasn't on me. So personally I'm not so sure about that.

Whatever the reason, the phantoms are real and I'm actually delighted I found this bit of info today. In fact, a 2012 study has shown that nine out of ten college undergraduates have experienced phantom vibrations. It feels good to know that you're not losing your mind, or at least you're not the only one who is. 

As for the ringing, it is usually experienced while taking a shower, watching television, or using a noisy device. Humans are particularly sensitive to auditory tones between 1,000 and 6,000 hertz, and basic mobile phone ringers often fall within this frequency range. Generally, said range can be more difficult to locate spatially, thus allowing for potential confusion when heard from a distance.

On that same note, I personally know of young mothers who often hear their babies crying while in the shower, whether it's real or not. I think it's the same process of the mind being tricked. Or perhaps it's the one that is trying to trick ― or warn ― us. 

What I find interesting in such novel ‘syndromes’ is how sensory signals in our brains can be misinterpreted, and how that constantly changes according to time and technology. Today with the advances in smart phones, and technology in general, it's even harder not to get energetically wired to your devices; in fact, some people are addicted to them.

Something in your brain is being triggered that's different than what was triggered just a few short years ago,” says Dr. Larry Rosen, a research psychologist who studies how technology affects our minds.

If you'd ask me 10 years ago, or maybe even five years ago if I felt an itch beneath where my pocket of my jeans were, and asked me what I would do, I'd reach down and scratch it because it was probably a little itch caused by the neurons firing.

The human brain is an incredibly powerful organ. However, it is still pretty easy to trick when it comes to sensory experience. Just like the many optical and audio illusions, Phantom Vibration and Phantom Ringing can fool us just as much. A reminder that our perceptions cannot be fully trusted.

And now you know.


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