Hearing voices is an auditory hallucination that may or may not be associated with a mental health problem. It is the most common type of hallucination in people with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.

It is difficult to describe what it is like to hear voices, particularly if you’ve never heard voices yourself. People suffering from this hallucination describe the voices as the voice of someone standing right next to them, or as voices that are in their head, like thoughts. Some persons report experiencing a combination of both.

The voices heard can be critical, complementary, or neutral. They may engage the person in conversation, or give the patient commands that are potentially harmful.