DR ELLIE CANNON: What can I do about the music constantly playing in my head? 

DR ELLIE CANNON: What can I do about the music constantly playing in my head? 
DR ELLIE CANNON: What can I do about the music constantly playing in my head? 

I can constantly hear music in my head. It can be when I wake up, when walking the dogs, or in the car. It’s really getting me down. What’s wrong with me?

As strange as it might sound, hearing noises that aren’t there isn’t uncommon. There are a variety of causes, but most frequently, it’s this sort of symptom is due to a condition called tinnitus.

It’s not totally clear what causes this, but we know it’s often linked to hearing loss. It can also be a side effect of medication.

Commonly, patients describe hearing a constant or intermittent high-pitched ringing, but others say it’s more like a humming or whistling. Some describe a buzzing or beeping.

Today's reader asks DR ELLIE CANNON about the constant sound of music they can hear - which is often a symptom of tinnitus, although it could be an incredibly rare auditory hallucination

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Today's reader asks DR ELLIE CANNON about the constant sound of music they can hear - which is often a symptom of tinnitus, although it could be an incredibly rare auditory hallucination 

The ‘noises’ plague people, causing a huge amount of stress, and often stop them sleeping. It’s uncommon, but not unheard of, for people to hear more complex sounds such as music, simple melodies and familiar songs.

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Hearing music can also be what we’d call an auditory hallucination – although this is far less likely than tinnitus.

Usually these involve voices rather than music.

Hallucinations are a sign of the mental illness schizophrenia, but they can also happen with alcohol and drug misuse and be triggered by grief and confusion.

In any case, it’s important to see a doctor who can offer a diagnosis. It is vital to mention to a doctor if other new symptoms are present, such as changes in vision, dizziness, headaches or difficulties in movement.

They should be able to carry out an ear examination and hearing tests. Other investigations, including a brain scan, may be needed to rule out serious disease. Once a diagnosis is made, patients should expect to be referred to a specialist clinic for treatment.

Three months ago, I had a total knee replacement. Since then I’ve suffered from tightness, stiffness, intermittent numbness and some throbbing in the knee operated on. The doctor says this kind of discomfort is normal. Am I right to be worried?

Recover time after a big operation like this can vary quite a bit. Factors that dictate this include the state of a person’s general health and fitness prior to surgery, and whether there were complications. In the case of joint replacement, physiotherapy during recovery can play a big role too.

After a knee replacement, it can take up to three months for pain and swelling to settle down, but it can take as long as a year for any leg swelling to completely disappear.

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You could be looking at a year or two before things are totally ‘back to normal’. Of course, when you’re in discomfort, this can feel never-ending. Swelling is often described as feeling like tightness, stiffness or throbbing.

Another reader wants to know when their knee will return to normal after replacement surgery

Another reader wants to know when their knee will return to normal after replacement surgery

Follow-up appointments – with a doctor or other specialist – after a knee replacement are very important.

Patients should be offered sessions with a physiotherapist, but a great deal of rehab work has to be done by the patient in their own time. The patients who are most diligent at keeping up their exercises, and making sure they stay as healthy as possible, have the best results.

I’d also say that people know their own bodies, and if recovery after an operation does not feel right, particularly with significant pain, then it absolutely warrants a discussion.

Pain may be

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