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Working with people who hear voices

Keith Ford Fiona Watson First published: Last updated:

What is hearing voices?

Hearing voices is the experience of hearing one or more voices in the absence of anyone in the physical environment to whom the voice belongs (Hayward and May, 2007; Chadwick and Hemingway, 2017). Hearing voices is described as ‘quite common’, as 1 in 10 people will experience it at some point in their lives (Mental Health Foundation, 2021). Hearing voices itself is not an illness; such experiences are often referred to as auditory hallucinations and are often a symptom of conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, psychosis or related to the use of illicit drugs.

This article offers a brief understanding of the lived experiences of people who hear voices. It provides an overview of the possible causes of hearing voices, coping strategies, recognising hearing voices and supportive interventions for nurses and healthcare workers.

Causes of hearing voices

Various frameworks exist that describe hearing voice, with

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Keith Ford

Fiona Watson

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