test

SCROLL DOWN

Synesthesia: The blending of the senses

Learn more about vision correction

09
Mar
2018

lordeHave you ever looked at the number three and decided that its colour is red? Or perhaps you’ve been at a concert and the sound of the guitar you can actually feel on the side of your arm, whilst the vocalist you can feel on your right ankle? These experiences may be a sign you have synesthesia. Some of the most famous people of all time are said to have had and have it too, from the legend that is Jimi Hendrix, to New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde and even Kanye West himself.

What is synesthesia?synesthesia image

According to Psychology Today, Synesthesia is a neurological condition where a person experiences ‘crossed’ responses to stimuli? To simplify, it’s essentially the blending of how we experience our senses, so whilst one sense is being stimulated, a second sense is involuntarily activated too.

Synesthetes (people who experience the blending of senses), can encounter their senses in a variety of combinations, from sounds that produce particular shapes and letters that are certain colours for example.

Here are some interesting facts about synesthesia:

  • Research suggests that about one in 2,000 people are synesthetes, However some experts believe as many as one in 300 people have some form of the condition
  • People with synesthesia can experience their senses in a variety of ways. At least 60 types of this condition have been reported
  • About 40 percent of synesthetes have a first-degree relative who has the same condition
  • Synesthesia is a lot more common in women than men, with a 6:1 female to male ratio of synesthetes

What are the most common types of synesthesia?

Grapheme-color synesthesia – As the most common form of this condition, people who experience this will look at numbers of individual letters in the alphabet and see them as having a certain colour. For example the number ten is green and the letter M is purple.

Chromesthesia – Also common, this condition is when sound is associated with colours. Reactions to sounds vary considerably, with some people seeing specific colours as particular musical notes are being played, whilst others may have multiple sensory reactions to everyday sounds, such as a car beeping or people talking. The colours triggered by these particular sounds are known as photisms.

Spatial sequence synesthesia – People with this type of synesthesia tend to see numerical sequences as points in space. For example the number one may be closer than the number two. Days of the week and months of the year can also be visualised in this way, and it’s believed that people who experience this are far better at remembering past events than those that don’t have the condition.

Other types of synesthesia include:

  • Auditory-tactile synesthesia – this is when certain sounds can trigger sensations of touch at certain points across the body
  • mirroringMirror-touch synesthesia – this is a rare condition and those that have this will experience the same sensations of touch as another person. For example, if a synesthete watches someone’s hand get touched, they involuntarily feel their hand being touched as well
  • Lexical-gustatory synesthesia – another rare condition, this is when particular tastes are experienced when hearing words.

Symptoms of synesthesia

Nearly all those that suffer from synesthesia can’t remember when they first started experiencing the world in this way. Some scientists believe the condition develops before a child is even four months old. Whilst a young child at this age may not realise their experiences are different to the norm, parents should watch out for the following symptoms that might indicate they have synesthesia:

  • Irregular sensory experiences – essentially the core definition of the condition, if a child expresses that their ears can taste and their eyes can hear, this is a key sign they may have it
  • child eyesAutomatic reactions – you can’t fake having synesthesia, and one of the telling symptoms of this condition is theautomatic nature of their reactions. For example it would take someone with Grapheme-color synesthesia less than an instant to determine the colour of a letter or number and be able to recall this as well if asked about multiple figures. If it requires too much brain power, you probably don’t suffer from it.
  • Triggers that consistently cause the same reaction – Testing and then re-testing to find out whether someone reacts the same way to a particular trigger is an effective way of determining if they have synesthetes, as their reaction will always be the same to the same trigger

Our senses are our fundamental tools to see and experience the world and the individual ways in which we perceive our surroundings should be embraced and celebrated.

cute kid eyes

Sources

Psychology Today

Mother Nature Network

See more of our posts on eye health, laser eye surgery and vision, here  

By: David

If you are interested in vision correction at Focus Clinic please call us on 0207 307 8250 and book a free consultation.

Book your FREE consultation
Related Articles
  • world sight day

    World Sight Day 2016

    285 million people are blind or visually impaired – 80% of those don’t have to be. This day is dedicated to raising global awareness for blindness and visual impairment. Held every year, on the second Thursday of October, World Sight Day is an annual day of awareness to focus global attention on blindness and vision […]

    Learn more
  • Eyes are a focus at Glastonbury Festival

    Eyes are a Focus at Glorious Glastonbury

    The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is encouraging music lovers to make sure they take care of their eye health and remember to book eye tests by putting their vision to the test. RNIB is the official health charity partner for this year’s iconic Glastonbury Festival, here at Focus we fully support the […]

    Learn more
  • stress

    Are you up to your eyes in it? Here’s how stress can impact your vision

    Stress.  We all feel it sometimes right? But perhaps you can’t seem to escape it?  Whether it is at work, home or school, did you know anxiety can have an impact on your vision too? The Times have recently discussed the negative impact of taking multiple exams over a long period of time on students’ […]

    Learn more
  • children’s eye health and safety awareness Month – Education and the digital age

    Children’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness Month – Education and The Digital Age

    As children across the UK skipped out of their school gates and into the glorious prospect of 6 weeks of fun and play, we guess that the state of their eye health was the last thing on their minds. But, as August kicked off this week so did Children’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness Month. […]

    Learn more
  • 15 foods that can improve your eye health

    15 Foods That Can Improve Your Eye Health

    Did you know eating certain foods can actually improve your eyesight, slow down aging of your eyes and keep your eyes in good health?

    Learn more
  • What are the Chances of an Infection After Laser

    What are the chances of an infection after laser eye surgery?

    Have you ever wondered what the likelihood of an infection is after laser vision correction?  In a study released by the Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery (JCRS) the risk of infectious keratitis in the eyes after laser vision correction was analysed. What is microbial keratitis? The condition is caused when the cornea, the clear, […]

    Learn more
  • smart glasses

    The new smart glasses: you’ve never seen or heard anything like it

    We all know that glasses help us read more easily, but did you know there will soon be smart glasses that can read out loud what’s written in front of us on paper? A new Japanese company called Oton Glass are currently developing a pair of glasses that will be able to convert text into […]

    Learn more
  • baby vision

    Baby vision: The development of sight from birth

    Baby vision! Have you ever looked at a baby and wondered what they are seeing, as they look around their new world with curiosity?  It turns out that babies ability to see is perhaps not as strong as you thought, with it taking up to two years for their vision to fully develop.  Just like […]

    Learn more
  • Ocular Health: A Blind Spot in Parliament

    Ocular Health: A Blind Spot in Parliament

    At the end of March, the issue of eye health was discussed in parliament – for the first time in nearly seven years. Led by Wealden MP Nusrat Ghani, a parliamentary blind spot was addressed in a 90-minute debate in the House of Commons Chamber. Ms Ghani called for the government to develop and implement […]

    Learn more
  • shutterstock_330511832

    Microbial Keratitis: Contact Lens infection vs LASIK

    New research has found that if you wear contact lenses for 10 years, you’re six times more likely to develop a sight-threatening infection than if you’d had laser eye surgery. Can you radically reduce these risks by ditching contact lenses and opting to go under the laser to correct your vision instead? According to scientists at […]

    Learn more
  • children need regular eye tests

    When should a child first go to an eye doctor/ optician?

    Getting your child’s eyes checked regularly is essential for spotting issues that are treatable when caught early. Good vision is really important to children as so much of what they learn is taken in through their eyes, and their vision helps them find out about the world around them.

    Learn more
  • What Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration

    What is age-related macular degeneration?

    If you’ve been diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration, you’re not alone. In the UK, over 600,000 people are affected with the condition, and is one of the leading causes of severe vision loss in people over 60. You may not notice any change in your vision during the early stages, especially if you have AMD […]

    Learn more
  • Hay Fever

    Hay Fever: Preventing Itchy Eyes

    Spring days are nigh, and for many of us, with the increasing pollen count, Hay Fever is looming. The oncoming bouts of itchy eyes and a runny nose fill sufferers with dread, so what would be better than to prepare for, and possibly eliminate, these symptoms before pollen terrorises them for foreseeable sunny days? It […]

    Learn more
  • smoking cigarettes

    Stop smoking cigarettes and save your sight

    It’s common knowledge that smoking cigarettes significantly reduces your health, harms almost every organ in your body, causes a variety of diseases and takes years off of your life. With 7.2  million adults in England that smoke and a staggering 14.6 million ex-smokers, this deadly habit is most commonly known to lead to heart disease, […]

    Learn more
  • shutterstock_343222016

    What is your eye colour telling the world?

    One of the most defining features of the face, your eye colour can also reflect some aspects of your personality too. Brown eyes? You’re seen as a natural leader. Green? One of the more rarer colours and seen as the sexiest of them all. Why do we have different eye colours? Eye colour is determined […]

    Learn more
  • Original Eye test by Ferdinand Monoyer

    The Google Doodle Created in Honour of Ferdinand Monoyer

    Earlier this week on the 9th May an animated Google Doodle was created in honour of Ferdinand Monoyer’s 181st birthday. The doodle features a pair of eyes on the left, which form the ‘O’s in the word Google, alongside an eye chart on the right. As the eyes squint, the letters on the right become […]

    Learn more
  • novelty contacts

    Novelty contacts this Halloween: trick or treat?

    Novelty contacts are extremely popular around this time of year and whilst we all want to have the scariest Halloween costume, it is not worth risking your vision by misusing these special-effects lenses. What are novelty contact lenses? Did you need a prescription to wear novelty contact lenses? If you are thinking about wearing novelty […]

    Learn more
  • dark chocolate vision

    Need an excuse to eat chocolate? It’s good for your eyes

    With the Easter weekend only just over, there might be a few of us that are feeling a little guilty about the amount of chocolate we have eaten. But did you know that dark chocolate is actually good for our vision and can protect us from a number of diseases in our eyes? You probably […]

    Learn more
  • Bionic lens

    Bionic Lens…you’ve never seen anything like it

    We all crave 20/20 vision and envy those that have it, but is it a thing of the past as technology finds something even better with the Bionic Lens? A Canadian company called Ocumetics Technology Corporation are in the stages of clinically testing their Bionic Lens. The device replaces the natural human lens with a […]

    Learn more
  • pros and cons of laser eye surgery

    Pros and cons of laser eye surgery

    Pros and cons of laser eye surgery Despite the procedure being more than 25 years old, laser eye surgery is still regarded as a relatively new operation. The pros and cons of laser eye surgery can help a prospective patient decide if vision correction is right for them. Benefits and risks of vision correction It […]

    Learn more
  • common habits that damage your eyes

    Common Habits That Can Damage Your Eyes

    "Don't sit so close to the television...you'll ruin your eyes!" Pretty much all of us will have had this shouted at us as kids! And to be fair to our concerned parents, there used to be some truth in the saying!

    Learn more
  • Could an iPad game cure lazy eye in children?

    Could an iPad game cure lazy eye in children?

    We all know that too much iPad use is leading to a number of health issues that could potentially affect our children’s vision – however it’s not all bad news, as research has found an iPad game that can cure lazy eye in children. Lazy eye, also known as Amblyopia, is a condition where the […]

    Learn more
  • shutterstock_175095980

    The epidemic outbreak of Acanthamoeba keratitis

    Acanthamoeba keratitis is a rare, but serious vision threatening parasitic infection seen most often in contact lens wearers. First recognised in 1973, Acanthamoeba are naturally occurring amoeba (tiny, one-celled animals) commonly found in water sources, such as tap water, well water, hot tubs, and soil and sewage systems. If these tiny parasites infect the eye, […]

    Learn more
  • spot potential sight issues

    How to spot potential sight issues in Children

    Most children won’t have any idea that they have a vision problem, so it’s up to us to be vigilant when it comes to noticing signs of potential trouble.

    Learn more
  • Toxins in medicine can save your life

    From poison to potions: the toxins used in medicine that could save your life…

    Worldwide, the prevalence of myopia has been rising dramatically, and it is estimated that 2.5 billion people will be affected by myopia by 2020, but a new study offers sufferers hope. News research reveals that atropine, a toxic substance derived from deadly nightshade, can be an effective and sustainable treatment for progressive high myopia in […]

    Learn more
  • cold eyes

    Cold eyes? Here’s how to protect your eyes this winter

    We are always reminded to protect our neck from the cold by wearing a scarf, or stop the heat leaving our head with a woolly hat, so why are we not taking the same type of precautions to protect us getting cold eyes this winter? Whilst the festivities have gotten into full swing today, the […]

    Learn more
  • fly eye

    Creepy crawlies surprise us with their super vision

    It’s not our fly-swatting skills, insects vision is much better than we thought! Ever wondered why the flies stuck in your home seem to be so good at avoiding your deadly swatter or rolled up newspaper? For years, scientists have not been able to answer this question, believing that insects vision was pretty blurry, leaving them […]

    Learn more
  • a CET evening with us at Focus Clinic

    A CET Evening With Us at Focus Clinics

    Here at Focus Clinics, we are proud to announce that we will be hosting a CET Evening, on Thursday the 27th of July, at our clinic in Central London. We are passionate about the optometrist and ophthalmology community across the whole of the UK. We are the most trusted laser eye clinic in the UK […]

    Learn more
  • Why uncontrolled diabetes can lead to serious eye problems

    Why uncontrolled diabetes can lead to serious eye problems

    Did you know nearly one person in every 25 in the UK has diabetes? It can take time to get your diabetes under control, but the results are worth it – otherwise you could set yourself up for a host of complications. Diabetes can take a toll on nearly every organ in your body, and […]

    Learn more
  • brussels sprouts

    Brussels Sprouts: The Seasonal Superfood that will Save your Sight

    Your Christmas vegetables could be giving you more than you bargained for, as new research has found that the famously unpopular brussels sprouts could actually help save your sight. The tiny green vegetable has a bad reputation, but even if you’ve had a bad experience with them in the past, they’re worth giving another shot […]

    Learn more
Get in touch
Thank you for getting in touch with Focus. Your message is on its way and one of our friendly team will be in touch shortly!
Reviews

Abi

11th May

abi

‘The care and service have been impeccable’

close
close
big close

Book a free* consultation

There is a refundable admin fee of £25 for consultations during the week and £50 for consultations in the weekend. This will be returned to you when you attend the appointment.
Thank you for getting in touch with Focus. Your message is on its way and one of our friendly team will be in touch shortly!

Would you rather speak to someone?

*Opening Times:
Monday - Friday: 9am – 6pm Saturday: 9am – 3pm

Would you rather speak to someone?

Call: 0207 307 8250

to arrange your free* consultation
There is a refundable admin fee of £25 for consultations during the week and £50 for consultations in the weekend. This will be returned to you when you attend the appointment.
Mr Samer Hamada
laser and lens eye surgery specialist
 Samar Hamada