Hearing Voices

Three people who hear voices and have broken their silence prove that experiences are very varied: Inner voices can be perceived as agonising or as a gift, inspiration and bliss.

Six to fifteen per cent of all people hear voices at some point in their lives. Many of those who hear voices even live with their invisible companions all their lives. Well over half of these people are mentally healthy and live a totally normal life. And yet people who hear voices are still stigmatised. For this reason, only few of them speak openly about their experiences.

What explanation does science have for this phenomenon of hearing voices? Where do the voices come from? While hearing voices was, especially in the last centuries, considered a symptom of a malfunction of the brain, researchers today are shedding new light on this old phenomenon - and unearthing some amazing facts: brain scanners reveal that hearing voices is not a product of the "imagination"; those who hear voices are really "hearing" something. And in many cases the content of what is heard is a lot more significant than previously supposed.