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01.12.2014 | Case report | Ausgabe 1/2014 Open Access

Journal of Medical Case Reports 1/2014

Monoaural musical hallucinations caused by a thalamocortical auditory radiation infarct: a case report

Journal of Medical Case Reports > Ausgabe 1/2014
Peter YM Woo, Lianne NY Leung, Sharon TM Cheng, Kwong-Yau Chan
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1752-1947-8-400) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

PYMW conceived and designed the study in addition to drafting the manuscript. LNYL participated in conceiving the study, acquisition of data and drafting of the manuscript. STMC and KYC helped to draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Musical hallucinations are complex auditory perceptions in the absence of an external acoustic stimulus and are often consistent with previous listening experience. Their causation can be classified as associated with either psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, or organic disorders, such as epilepsy or sensorineural deafness. Non-epileptic musical hallucinosis due to lesions of the central auditory pathway, especially of the thalamocortical auditory radiation, is rare.

Case presentation

We describe the case of an 85-year old ethnic Chinese woman with a history of transient ischemic attacks and chronic bilateral hearing impairment, who experienced an acute onset of left unilateral musical hallucinations. Our patient did not experience any psychiatric symptoms and there was no other neurological deficit. Pure tone audiometry revealed bilateral hypacusis and magnetic resonance imaging revealed a right non-dominant hemisphere sublenticular lacunar infarct of the thalamocortical auditory radiation. Our patient was managed expectantly and after three months her symptoms subsided spontaneously.


We propose that all patients with monoaural musical hallucinations have brain imaging to rule out a central organic cause, especially within the non-dominant hemisphere, regardless of the presence of a hearing impairment.

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Authors’ original file for figure 1
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