Life Imitates Seinfeld: Ne-Yo And Mary Hart’s Voices Can Give You Seizures
“I’LL be walking around the supermarket doing my food shopping and I have to put my earphones in to listen to my own music just in case it comes on,” says Zoe Fennessy, 26, of Nottinghamshire. Every time she hears singer Ne-Yo’s voice she suffers an epileptic seizure.
“It’s the same with most shops. I have to walk in with my ear phones in at first just to make sure they don’t have Ne-Yo on. If he ever releases a greatest hits album it’s going to be a nightmare. Whenever I hear the first few beats of the song I have to drop whatever I am doing and run. People might think it is funny – and I can laugh at it myself – but it has taken over my life. It’s ruined my life.”
Zoe…had her first seizure on New Year’s Day in 2006 after a long period of sickness and doctors put it down to tiredness and stress. But when her seizures increased to six a DAY her GP booked her in for a brain test and doctors diagnosed her with epilepsy in 2008. But it wasn’t until she heard Ne-Yo’s ‘Give Me Everything’ featuring Pitbull – which topped the charts in May 2011 – that she had her first music-induced seizure.
She was checked over. Her doctor’s notes read:
“We recognised a few musicogenic seizures arising from the right temporal lobe stimulated by songs sung by Neyo… During her admission she was listening to the radio on [her] iPhone when a specific song came on the radio that triggers her fits (Pitbull Ne-Yo – Tonight). She called for assistance at this point and she was noted to be shaking and looking rather anxious and acting a bit confused.”
We’ve seen similar things with pet cats:
Jeffrey has fits of around a minute in length, caused by mouse clicks and the tapping of boiled eggs. Gracie suffered a similar reaction to the sound of a newspaper, which caused her to run in circles and collide with furniture. After that, she convulses.
And Mary Hart could carry a health warning:
A neurologist reports in a medical journal that a woman got epileptic seizures by hearing the voice of Mary Hart, a host of the syndicated television program “Entertainment Tonight.”
Symptoms included an upset stomach, a sense of pressure in her head and mental confusion, said Dr. Venkat Ramani, who reports the case in today’s issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.
“It was very dramatic,” said Dr. Ramani, who said he studied the seizures when the woman heard Ms. Hart’s voice in a laboratory test. The doctor said she would rub her stomach, hold her head “and then she would look confused and far away, the expression in her eyes, she looked like she was far away and out of it.”
The case inspired The Good Samaritan, a 1992 Seinfeld episode in which Kramer has seizures whenever he hears Hart’s voice.
A 53-year-old woman in whom seizures were triggered by the voices of three male radio announcers.
What do we know?
Autosomal dominant partial epilepsy with auditory features (ADPEAF) is an uncommon form of epilepsy that runs in families. This disorder causes seizures usually characterized by sound-related (auditory) symptoms such as buzzing, humming, or ringing. Some people experience more complex sounds during a seizure, such as specific voices or music, or changes in the volume of sounds. Some people with ADPEAF suddenly become unable to understand language before losing consciousness during a seizure. This inability to understand speech is known as receptive aphasia. Less commonly, seizures may cause visual hallucinations, a disturbance in the sense of smell, a feeling of dizziness or spinning (vertigo), or other symptoms affecting the senses.
It’s a mystery…