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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
An idle question with personal relevance 
27th-Sep-2009 06:35 pm
Does anyone else out there process physical sensation as sound?

(Yes, I do. No, I don't think I've talked about it in forbloodyever. Yes, this explains a lot about my sex life.)

(And yes, I'll post about it as I gather my thoughts.)
27th-Sep-2009 10:43 pm (UTC)
Yes, and vice versa.
I don't get synesthesias in general but "sound <-> tactile" I do. I think it's helped me be a good dancer.
27th-Sep-2009 10:51 pm (UTC)
That's an interesting one.
27th-Sep-2009 11:08 pm (UTC)
The cocteau twins make me feel sensations that are nearly indescribably intense/beautiful which is probably why I like them so much.
28th-Sep-2009 12:24 am (UTC)
I could see how that would work.

If I recall from what I've read, most synesthetics only have one overlap, not many. (Although they can be esoteric, like the people who see time.)
28th-Sep-2009 02:06 am (UTC)
love the early (4ad) cocteau twins :)
27th-Sep-2009 10:53 pm (UTC)
I know some synesthetics (of more than one variety.) I think physical sensation to sound would be a fairly common version.

(sensation to colour is common - I was once told I tasted blue when she kissed me.)
(Deleted comment)
28th-Sep-2009 07:13 am (UTC)
When I played in the Spokane Symphony Orchestra, the violas were pretty much surrounded by all the low-pitched instruments; Bass, cellos, tubas and bassoons.

Now that is a full-body experience.
27th-Sep-2009 11:04 pm (UTC)
Sometimes, but the other way around. Loud bass usually has a sting or itch to it. It's usually not pleasant (some techno can be), and aside from helping to tell where the subwoofers are at concerts and clubs, it's not particularly useful either.
27th-Sep-2009 11:40 pm (UTC)
I have a larger problem with the reverse--sound is physical to me.
27th-Sep-2009 11:44 pm (UTC)
Yes. I can get white noise in my head because of physical sensations. Pain is pretty significant in creating walls of noise in my head, or sharp, sudden not-sounds that still feel like sounds.
27th-Sep-2009 11:45 pm (UTC)
I experience physical sensation as color, myself, especially sex-related sensations. I also interpret scent via color and written English via shape/texture—all rather minor, unreliable bits of synethesia but fascinating nonetheless. I don't think sensation to sound would be too uncommon, as these brain quirks go.
27th-Sep-2009 11:54 pm (UTC)
I mostly run into the reverse - sound as a physical sensation. Then again, sound IS a physical sensation (vibration) so maybe that's not what you meant? But I am extremely sensitive to vibration, be it audible or physical. This may be why I tend to find sound/vibration as a focus sense.
28th-Sep-2009 12:17 am (UTC)
I do physical sensations as written words floating just in front of my eyes... I also get sound, when the physical is positive... I hear strings and opera... "Sual'aria, Che soave zeffiretto," from Le Nozze di Figaro colors do this too, especially peaches and rose twilights...
sound is physical, too much sound results in an overload it feels like someone is holding me down and rubbing my entire body with sandpaper and the friction heats my core until I feel that I will explode... not in a good way.
I really like silence or trees... trees have a nice way of speaking which never produces a bad reaction.

28th-Sep-2009 12:35 am (UTC)
occasionally yes, but more often i experience sound as a physical sensation if that makes any sense - i hear a certain sound, song, series of beats and my brain (and sometimes body) reacts as if i've just danced, played, sang that piece even though i have not moved at all

for some reason sound, especially music, is often the sense that carries the most punch in my brain and memory (if i could figure out how to use that to help my broken memory i would be thrilled - i can't remember the artist, the song, the album, the year, what i was doing when i first heard it or who played it for me, but i can remember every fucking note, beat, word of a song i've only heard once or twice, no matter how much i liked or disliked the music)
28th-Sep-2009 04:26 am (UTC)
This describes me as well. Thanks for the words, honey.
28th-Sep-2009 12:42 am (UTC)
Often. I also taste sounds.
28th-Sep-2009 01:03 am (UTC)
Sounds like synaesthesia. :)

I tend to process sound into shape. Sometimes, I taste words (but that's very rare - once or twice).
28th-Sep-2009 01:28 am (UTC)
I'm rather the other way around. I process sound sometimes as sensation, hue, and even tastes sometimes. I don't think it's full on synaesthesia, but when I write like a experience it -- a yellow little voice, a cat's chocolate purr, and so on, -- my betae tend to fuss about it.
28th-Sep-2009 01:34 am (UTC)
No. I process it (physical sensation) often as emotion though, which may well be a pychological thing. I can 'shut off' my awareness of it - not that it's happening, but I kind of temporarily can tell myself to ignore emotions. It's hard work, not good for me, and I feel kind of empty, but sometimes for me to function it becomes necessary. I'm just a very emotional person I think, as sound also translates almost directly into emotion, regardless of the type of sound.

This really isn't at all what you were talking about, but it started me thinking and the thinking got typed out. I do think it's why music and dance (to music) are so powerful for me though - related to, but not as unique as ineffabelle's comment. Also again, I think it's more psychological and less neurological.
28th-Sep-2009 01:54 am (UTC)
yup! I do. Not all the time, but just when I'm in overload. So sex? yeah. A lot of sexytime is overload.

I just always thought it was kind of an outcropping to the synesthesia I get when I have headaches.
28th-Sep-2009 02:43 am (UTC)
I don't, but now I kinda wish I did--I'm musical enough that I think I'd enjoy sex better that way. :-)
28th-Sep-2009 03:31 am (UTC)
If you haven't already done so, check out Touch the Sound, the documentary on deaf percussionist Evelyn Glennie. She makes the point that hearing is a form of touch, since we're sensing physical vibrations. This, she explains, is why she removes her hearing aids to play, preferring instead to play based on the vibrations she feels in her hands, body and (bare) feet, which actually allows her to "hear" sounds that most of us cannot sense through our ears. Fascinating movie.
28th-Sep-2009 04:25 am (UTC)
Yes, sometimes.

Sometimes as color, sometimes as temperature, sometimes as a spiritual or metaphysical experience.

Especially after a seizure.
28th-Sep-2009 06:33 am (UTC)
I experience pain as sound, but I think that's the only physical sensation I process that way. Different types of pain make different types of noise--usually it's the pitch and the intensity that change.

unfortunately this allows me to cope with certain types of pain longer than I should--most dental pain, for instance, is a high-pitched whine that isn't that hard to tune out.
28th-Sep-2009 06:40 am (UTC)
Once processed pain as color, but haven't had too many other brushes with synaesthesia...
28th-Sep-2009 07:02 am (UTC)
My smell and taste are totally intertwined but I'm not sure if it is syneasthesia or not...and on the crazy pagan front...almost all auras are scent/flavors. A good example is being able to smell/taste cookies, a bad one is skunk.
28th-Sep-2009 08:21 am (UTC)
Here: http://home.comcast.net/~sean.day/html/types.htm is a listing of 61 kinds of synesthesia. Yours might overlap a couple of the categories.
28th-Sep-2009 01:18 pm (UTC)
No, but I sometimes process physical sensations and sounds as colors...nothing blinding, and it's intermittent.

What kinds of sounds?
28th-Sep-2009 01:36 pm (UTC)
I do the opposite. Sound is a physical sensation for me... which is why a really loud thunderstorm tends to leave me really fucking sore the next day.

I have a hard time explaining to people why I would rather be slapped in the face than yelled at. :) Because it feels the same, but with a slap, it's OVER after about a split second.
28th-Sep-2009 07:10 pm (UTC)
It's not exactly sound, but when I experience extreme pain I also experience an... anti-sound, I guess you could call it. Sort of white noise, except it isn't really noise at all, that muffles everything around me and makes it even harder to think than the pain does by itself.
1st-Oct-2009 07:54 am (UTC)
I get something sort of opposite, a bit. For me, sound has texture. It doesn't cause my fingers or other body parts to get phantom sensation, but it's sort of like being able to feel fingerlike sensation with my eyes. It generally manifests as a surround screen in front of me, particularly when my surroundings are dark, and it feeds off the sound=vibration thing. There's sometimes a bit of color, and shape. If there are strings, it is like I am touching them with my eyes' hands, or holding the bow. I can feel the little catch as the rosined horsehair tears across the strings.

It's not a guaranteed, 100% of the time thing, but when it takes me, that's how it does it.
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