Image for 17/12/2012Not currently available on BBC iPlayer

Duration: 29 minutes

5 Live presenter Shelagh Fogarty meets the Liverpool grandmother with a rare syndrome which means she hears music all day and all night. And Chris Jackson investigates the differences in how councils across the north are imposing their budget cuts.

  • Musical Ear Syndrome

    Cath Gamester

    Shelagh Fogarty meets the 84-year-old Liverpool grandmother with a rare syndrome which means she hears music all day and all night.


    Cath Gamester has Musical Ear Syndrome, a condition resulting in musical hallucinations.


    Watch a video feature on the BBC News website.

  • Managing musical hallucinations

    Cath Gamester

    Cath Gamester, 84, hears music on a constant loop throughout the day.


    She has musical ear syndorme, a rare condition which affects about one in 10,000 people over 65 in the UK.


    Read the full story on the BBC News website.

  • Fact file: Musical Ear Syndrome

    • MES is a form of auditory hallucination which involves hearing music when none is being played
    • Hearing phantom sounds such as buzzing or ringing is known as tinnitus
    • In a small number of people however, these experiences can be more complex and emotive, and music can be heard
    • Musical hallucinations are typically heard as short fragments of simple melodies from the individual's youth, especially hymns and carols
    • Commonly heard songs include Happy Birthday, Silent Night and Abide With Me
    • One hypothesis is that when a person's world becomes too quiet, the brain manufactures its own sounds based on auditory memories
    • MES is more common in women, the over 60s, individuals who live alone and those with sudden hearing loss - the most common and easily treatable cause


Series Editor
Deborah Van Bishop
Tony Livesey
Shelagh Fogarty
Chris Jackson


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