“Auditory Hallucinations: Debunking the Myth of Language Supremacy”


In Schizophrenia Bulletin, an Australian and a French researcher argue that the Hearing Voices Movement and similar groups are often misleading the public and researchers with their focus on voice hallucinations to the exclusion of the broader category of “auditory hallucinations” — the latter of which can often be simply noises. “Voices are a preferred term [by the Hearing Voices Movement], as it makes a connection to a meaningful human experience rather than ‘an arbitrary content induced by disease,'” states the article.

(Full text) Auditory Hallucinations: Debunking the Myth of Language Supremacy (Waters, Flavie and Jardri, Renaud. Schizophrophrenia Bulletin. First published online November 27, 2014. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbu166)


  1. This article seems to be implying that more things should be considered auditory hallucinations by the psychiatric industry. I disagree, I think less should be.

    In my case, I went to a psychologist to get a second opinion regarding what I now know are some fairly common withdrawal effects of a “safe smoking cessation med” / antidepressant I had been improperly weaned off of.

    This psychologist was obsessed with claiming everything was “voices.” I had no idea what she meant by “voices,” initially, since I’d never had “voices.”

    According to her medical records, this psychologist claimed a query regarding a powerful dream was a “voice.” She claimed gut instincts were “voices.” She claimed thoughts were “voices.” She claimed an actual voice in a parking lot was a “voice in head.” And she claimed that odd contractions in my privates (a known ADR of the antidepressant) were “voices in head.”

    Now, after this psychologist had me put on antipsychotics, due to her DSM-IV-TR misdiagnosis of the withdrawal symptoms of the antidepressant, as bipolar. I did learn what “voices” in one’s head meant. The adverse effect, of antipsychotic induced psychosis, was recorded in my medical records as a “Foul up.”

    And, thankfully, the psychosis and incessant evil “voices” only existed while I was forced to take the drugs. Then went away after I’d recovered from the drug withdrawal induced super sensitivity manic psychosis.

    I think the psychiatric industry should stop claiming thoughts, dream queries, gut instincts, unknown but actual human voices, and involuntary movements in other parts of the body are “voices in head.”

    This article seems to be implying more things should be called auditory hallucinations, I disagree, I think less things should be called auditory hallucinations. But I absolutely agree, the psychiatric industry has convinced it’s practitioners to claim absolutely every normal human function is a “voice.” Psychiatry is insane, and inhumane.

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    • I will confess, however, the drug induced voices, and drug withdrawal induced super sensitivity manic awakening to my dreams / mid life reflection were part of a “meaningful connection to human experiences,” as the HVM contends. And the “disease” is medically provable as completely iatrogenic – caused totally by drug ADRs and withdrawal symptoms, and massive major drug interaction combinations.

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  2. In the mid 1970’s a neighbor of mine stabbed 3 and killed 2 of her children. Her motive was admonitory voices i.e. “God” told her it needed to be done. She was diagnosed as Schizophrenic and placed in a well known (in my state) psychiatric hospital. I have a book written by the late Psychologist Julian Jaynes titled “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind” Copyright date is 1976. He devotes a whole chapter to schizophrenia and ‘hearing voices’. It was common knowledge back then that one of the diagnostic criteria for ‘schizophrenia’ was hearing voices. The public was ‘reassured’ that only 1% of schizophrenics heard ‘command’ voices that were symptomatic of violent attacks. So I am very confused about the article’s stance that hearing voices became a predominant feature of schizophrenia only in the 1990’s. I am also concerned that if one looks up the definition of schizophrenia in current dictionaries hearing voices or even auditory hallucinations is not present in these newer dictionaries yet I do recall a forty year old collegiate dictionary I had in my possession until a few years ago did have such phenomena listed in it’s definition of schizophrenia. So, although my reply doesn’t deal directly with your comments- I think it does put information out there that contradicts what the authors of the article are saying. At least in reference to the U.S. I will admit I know nothing about what was happening in France or Australia in the 1990’s regarding either schizophrenia or the stance of their psychiatrists regarding this issue.

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  3. I don’t really see why audio hallucinations would be any different from visual hallucinations. I know they are often seen as worse because psychotics hear them while the other are usually induced by chemical means. One could confuse an illusion with a hallucination, just as one could confuse noise with an audio hallucination, however, I don’t think psychiatrists are any more adept at figuring out which is which than are their patients. Nor do I think psychiatrists are any more adept at figuring out which is which than a group with which a few of them disagree.

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