Rare Condition Causes Man to Hear England’s National Anthem Playing in His Head on a Loop

An 87-year-old British pensioner has developed an oddly patriotic condition in which he hears an auditory hallucination of England’s national anthem playing in his head on a loop.

Ron Goldspink of Bilton hopes to meet Queen Elizabeth when she visits his town next month to tell her that he has heard the anthem even more frequently than she has. He suffers from a rare condition called Musical Ear Syndrome (MES) and mainly, which affects those suffering from hearing loss, causing them to develop non-psychiatric auditory hallucinations. The cause and mechanism  of MES are currently unknown, but researchers believe it occurs when there is a lack of auditory stimulation. Sensory deprivation causes the brain to begin manufacturing sound, hence why it is common among people suffering hearing loss. Although it is still underreported, MES is believed to affect approximately one in 10,000 people aged over 65 in the UK.

Photo: Lzur/Wikimedia Commons

Mr. Goldspink says he developed the condition spontaneously three or four months ago, adding that the version of ‘God Save the Queen’ he constantly hears in his head is sung by an all-male choir.

“I complained about my next door neighbor who I thought was playing music and keeping me awake at night,”  Mr. Goldspink told the Hull Daily Mail. “My son complained to the council, and when they came down I told them I could hear this music coming from through the wall every night. They went next door and my neighbor said they were not playing anything, and I realized it was just me that could hear it.”

He experiences the hallucination 1700 times every week, and although he says that the version he hears is sung very well, it can be “deafening” at times and feels it is driving him mad.

“My doctor could not understand it, and had never heard of it before,” Goldspink said . “There is nothing you can do about it – the only possible way I can get a rest from it is if I put a hearing aid in one ear and have the TV on in the background. That helps me with it, otherwise, it deafens me.”

Mr. Goldspink is hoping to meet the Queen when she visits Hull on November 16 to tell her about his condition.

“I want other people to know what I am living with, and to know about the condition,” he said. “I have no idea what caused it, I just know it is a group of men singing and they sing it very well. I just want people to know that I am not mad, and don’t just have something wrong with my head. I am telling the truth, and I hear the national anthem continuously.”