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 far from you, yet you still get this sensation around your pocket area or on the skin it touches. How about hearing the phone ring, checking but finding it never actually did? Well, you’re not the only one to experience these sensory hallucinations.

Despite the fact that wireless devices ― mobile phones and pagers ― remain relatively new, said false beliefs and sensations have actually become known psychological phenomena called “Phantom Vibration Syndrome” and “Phantom Ringing”. Other less formal terms include Ringxiety, Hypovibrochondria, and Fauxcellarm.

Phantom vibration syndrome is perceiving vibrations from a device which is not vibrating. In a 2012 Study, it was shown that a staggering 89 percent of the sampled undergraduates had experienced phantom vibrations ― on average once every two weeks. It was also revealed that only a few minded it or tried to do something to stop it.

In another Survey, 68 percent of the medical staff questioned reported having experienced phantom vibration. Of those who did, 39 percent were able to stop them.

Strategies for stopping phantom vibrations adopted by the respondents varied from turning vibrate mode off, changing the location of the device, and using a different device altogether. However, 39 percent of respondents did not attempt to change  ― like the younger undergraduates.

Currently, the most likely explanation for the sensory hallucination sometimes experienced by people carrying cell phones or pagers when the device is not vibrating 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 caused by the vibrating phone.

Another theory suggests the sensation may be 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 sure about this particular idea.

Whatever the reason, the phantoms are real and seem to have become a universal experience for most of those who own electronic devices, especially smartphones. I’m actually delighted I found this bit of info today. In actuality, it feels good to know 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 a similar note, I was told  by some young mothers that they often hear their babies cry while showering, 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.

More about hearing and psychology is covered in a different article: Selective Hearing Among Men and Women. Also, On Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing, which focuses on listening [along reading, speaking, and writing] as fundamental language skills that help us better communicate. A third article to check is What The Heck are Vocal Fry and Upspeak?.

What is remarkable in such novel ‘syndromes’ is how sensory signals in our brains can easily be misinterpreted. Also how that is constantly changing according to time and technology. Today with the advances in Internet, smart phones, and technology in general, it’s even harder not to get energetically wired to your devices. For some, it can become a heck of a serious problem. A reason why Internet Addiction Disorder ― more colloquially known as Problematic Internet Use (PIU) ― exists. 

Something in your brain is being triggered thats 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 youd 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. It is still, however, quite easy to trick when it comes to sensory experience. Just like the many optical and auditory 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. Check


Selective Hearing Among Men and Women

On Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing

What The Heck are Vocal Fry and Upspeak? 

Are you addicted to the News?

Codependency: What Being Addicted to Someone Means

What Is Fear of Abandonment and How to Overcome It

Dealing with High Awareness and Empathic Accuracy

Why They Do It: A Look at Domestic Violence and Abusive Relationships
The Parable of the Cow: You Are Not Your Thoughts

What’s the Story with Blue Balls (and Blue Vulva)? 

Why Some Women Point Their Feet When Aroused

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