Tasting Sounds. Visualizing pattern of colours when you listen to music that you find utterly pleasing. Appear strange to you, right? If that has ever been the case, then you might be diagnosed with a condition known as synesthesia. Don’t be worried. You are among a number of famous personalities who were diagnosed with this illness. Billy Joel, Vladimir Nabokov, Tori Amos, and a lot of other musicians have suffered from Synesthesia.
Vladimir Nabokov rather had a very interesting story to share relating to his illness. He was known to categorize the condition as colour hearing. When presented with a paper with text written in black, he could visualize each letter of a different colour. Nabokov’s entire family was later diagnosed with Synesthesia. His wife had varied perception of visualization compared to him. Interestingly, all three of the family members went on to live a healthy life.
Synesthesia is a medical condition that remains relatively unknown. Some scientists classify it as a neurological disorder. While others tend to disagree and propose different lines of arguments with regards to the illness. In any case, it is important to have a detailed knowledge of the condition. There might be resulting symptoms that can be difficult to control at times.
This article is your first-hand guide on getting a detailed insight into Synesthesia.
What is Synesthesia?
The word synesthesia has its origins from Greek Literature. In the literal sense, it means having “natural sensations.” Synesthetes, people inflicted with the condition, will experience a mixture of different sensations and perceptions.
Medical scientists are able to categorize synesthesia into various types. Some types may distinctively vary from the other. While at times a lot of them will appear to be rather similar. A person with one type of synesthesia may also experience the symptoms of the other.
A normal human being will have five main senses. Those include the sense to taste, hear, touch, smell and sight. When two of these aforementioned senses overlap or combine, then a person is known to suffer from synesthesia. Thereby, medical scientists have been able to identify numerous possible combinations.
Main Types of Synesthesia
As has been highlighted earlier, there can be a wide range of synesthesia. This article will discuss the two most common types mainly being Color graphemic and auditory.
In the colour graphemic type of synesthesia, text or letters signify different colours. In frequent reported instances person experienced the text in certain colours. Each text or letter may have a particular colour symbol. For example, the number 7 may be associated with the colour blue. The word Friday appears brown, Thursday appears either maroon or indigo.
The colour auditory type is frequently associated with colours appearing with different sounds. In comparison to graphemic where the text is involved, auditory links colour visualization with the hearing of sounds. A patient suffering from Colour Auditory Synesthesia reports her experience with the condition. She states that whenever she heard music on the radio, she could picture patterns of colours appearing in front of her. The colours would seamlessly float around her and invoked a pictorial landscape. This experience may seem strange to some people but was rather pleasing to the said patient.
Is Synesthesia Common?
How common is synesthesia? This question has rather disturbed medical scientists all around the world. The main problem faced is that people won’t realize they have the condition for a very long time. Another problem is the lack of research. Though new studies are being extensively carried out, there remain little present conclusive pieces of evidence.
People may be suffering from the condition without ever realizing. They will perceive the visualization to be normal and will never resort medical treatment. Synesthetes might think that the colour perception is no more different and is experienced by nearly everyone. As a result, the symptoms may tend to intensify later in life. A precautionary step is to always seek the advice of a neurologist to get better information about the condition.
The disease can also affect children. Even so, primary students were known to experience colour sensation during their time at school. There are only a few data available to validate how common is the synesthesia. According to research conducted at Boston University, 1 in every 5000 people was inflicted with the condition. However, medical scientists believe that the figure is reported to be 90 times higher than what the research suggests.
Synesthesia prevails in a large chunk of the population. The reason why the reported figures tend to below is the problem of unawareness. People tend to not know they suffer from this condition for a considerably long time.
What are the causes of Synesthesia?
The medical professional community is in the process of investigating the causes of synesthesia. According to some scientists, there might be a neurological reason for the condition developing. Others feel that it is a genetic disorder. There is also a consensus that Synesthesia might be caused externally due to changes in the environment.
For the reason, it changes the mind’s perception and interaction, it is believed synesthesia is a neurological disorder. The symptoms of the condition start developing in earlier stages of life where it disrupts the visualization process. The perception may start from childhood and will tend to remain for long periods of time. For example, a person with Colour Graphemic will perceive the colour blue with a certain letter. This change will continue to last for the rest of life.
Vladimir Nabokov who could speak a wide range of languages had different colour perceptions with different language. The letter “A,” for example, of English language, invoked a colour different as that of the French language. This is a rather interesting insight and medical scientists are investigating certain changes experienced.
What is next?
The synesthesia is categorized as a disorder because it is not something that affects nearly everyone. The perceptions will be distinct to one person that might not affect a normal human being. However, on the flip side, medical scientists believe that the story might not be unfortunate as one might think it to be. A number of synesthetes reported to have increased their memorizing ability with the disorder.
Synesthesia for a very long time has been the source of inspiration. Having roots in Greek literature, it has inspired a number of everyday aspects. Synesthetes were and are known to be more creative and insightful than a normal human being. For that very reason, it is believed that synesthesia has led to the development of majestic arts and invention.
Even for some musicians, synesthesia has led to the production of psychedelic music. A lot of rock artists who were inflicted with the condition reported inspiration in their work. Not only it shaped the work but also polished the new skills of the musicians. For all these reasons, it made music production more pleasing and effective.