Superman has the ability to hear a clock ticking even if it is 200 meters away, but for us mere mortals, this would be hell. Hearing isn’t the same as our other senses, such as our sight. For instance, if a light is too bright for our eyes to take, we can simply close our eyes and turn away. Our sense of hearing is always on, so even when we’re sleeping, it still works. We’re so used to it that we tend to ignore some of the sounds we hear. But some people are more sensitive than others. In fact, one out of five people doesn’t just see light, but also hears it.
When someone turns on the light, a little over 20% of people can hear faint sounds. This is a form of synesthesia, which is a phenomenon where visual movements, including flashes of light can be heard as feeble sounds. Science discovered that one in five people can have synesthesia and this suggests that there are more people who experience such phenomenon than initially thought.
More about Synesthesia
To understand synesthesia and to determine if you have it, here are some points to think about:
- It is a neurological condition that’s so rare and affects about two to four percent of the population.
- It involves the combination of about two sensory systems.
- Those with the condition are called synesthetes.
- There are some who can hear sounds based on what they see, such as “hearing” light.
- There are also some who hear or see in color, such as the number seven as red.
- Another form is tasting some words. There are actually some people who think the name “Wesley” tastes something like boiled cabbage.
Hearing light isn’t as less intrusive as the other forms of the condition. When you hear light, it also involves seeing visual motions or flashes and they are accompanied by swooshes, buzzes, or hums. The good thing about this kind of synesthesia is that sound is a part of our everyday life and most of the sounds are accompanied by movements. The effect of hearing light is almost indiscernible for most people.
According to laboratory tests, hearing light or motion can help enhance our ability to interpret delicate visual movements. Unfortunately, it can also impair the ability of a person to hear true sounds, particularly when audio and visual signals are incompatible or mismatched. You can test if you’re inflicted with this form of synesthesia with an online quiz.