US/World

'How Much Is That Doggie In The Window?' Stuck In Woman's Head For Years, Due To Musical Hallucinations

Musical Hallucination
British woman has heard "How Much is that Doggie in the Window?" for the past four years. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

We all occasionally get a song stuck in our head that we just can’t seem to shake. More often than not, it gets stuck in there for a couple of minutes, but sometimes we sit there humming it for up to an hour. Now imagine having that catchy show tune stuck in your head for over a year. After four years of constantly hearing the Patti Page 1952 tune “How Much is that Doggie in the Window,” Susan Root from Essex, England now hears Judy Garland’s “Somewhere over the Rainbow” due to musical hallucination.

"It used to just be 'How Much is that Doggie in the Window,' but now I am getting all the different tunes,” Root told Mirror. “Now it is mostly 'Somewhere over the Rainbow.' I also hear 'Happy Birthday' now and again and 'Auld Lang Syne.'”

Root hopes that by appealing to other people affected by musical hallucination she will be able to find useful information on how to drown out the never-ending concert going on in her head. She has already sought the help of doctors, neurologists, and therapists who have been unsuccessful in making the music stop. Root’s husband of 40 years even has to shout to get his wife’s attention because she sometimes can’t hear anything except for the phantom song in her head.

Her condition is at its worst when there are no other noises going on around her, so at night she has to leave the TV on if she has any hope of going to sleep. She has also used calming sounds, like wave crashing and birds singing, to no avail. Root did suffer from ear problems as a child, including infections, a perforated ear drum, and trouble with balance. She underwent two surgeries to correct those problems.  

“It's been terrible recently — it's just been constant for this past fortnight,” Root added. “I wake up hearing 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow.' It's worse at night because it is quieter. I am getting really fed up. People think it is funny, but they don't understand — it's hell. I just want it to stop. I have to have the TV on when I try to go to sleep to drown out the noise."

According to the British Tinnitus Association, musical hallucination, also known as musical tinnitus, is the experience of hearing music even though there is none being played around you. Tinnitus is hearing a simple sound that no one else hears, such as a buzzing, ringing, or sizzling. When the sound becomes more complex and music is heard, the person is diagnosed with musical hallucination. This rare condition is more common in women than in men, and people are usually diagnosed after the age of 60.

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