Exploding Head Syndrome

While headaches can sometimes make you feel like your head is going to explode, there’s actually a disorder called Exploding Head Syndrome (EHS). It’s a disorder characterized by the perception of loud noises — such as a bomb explosion, gunshot, or cymbal crash — when going to sleep or upon waking. Contrary to the name, EHS is not associated with pain. However, the noise attacks can elicit a great deal of fear, confusion and distress. Reports of rapid heart rate and palpitations are also common. Relatively little is known about the underlying cause of the condition, but some scientists have speculated that it may be associated with minor temporal lobe seizures. Another theory is that EHS is caused by sudden shifts of middle ear components. Because of the benign nature of EHS, sufferers don’t require medical treatment. However, if an individual experiences sleep disturbance, treatment may be necessary. It is estimated that EHS affects 10% of the population, with females tending to be more at risk than males. The average age of onset of EHS is 50 years old.