Phone ringing? It may be 'phantom vibration syndrome'

12 January 2016

Do you sometimes think your mobile phone is ringing or vibrating when actually it's not? Then you probably have what's called ''phantom vibration syndrome''.

A study of students by Robert Rosenberger, PhD. at the Georgia Institute of Technology found 90 per cent of the subjects said they felt the phantom phone sensations.

''Because we're so in touch with our cellphones now - we're cyborgs, practically. They're parts of us,'' a woman eating lunch at Metropolitan State University of Denver told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.

''It's almost like a hallucination,'' said Randi Smith, LCSW, PhD. and associate professor of psychology at MSU Denver.

 ''There's a fear that we're going to miss a text, somebody is trying to reach us and we're not being responsive,'' said Smith.

She says new media and messages are exciting and rewarding. But for some, they are an obsession.

''I think it's a little scary how dependent most of us have become on our devices,'' said Smith.

Smith said sometimes, she suggests students take a 'media fast'. ''They'll typically report back, 'I couldn't go an hour,''' Smith said.

Phantom vibration syndrome isn't physically painful. But some believe it's a warning that too much technology may be hazardous to human interaction. Smith says our attachment to devices becomes a serious problem when it keeps us from engaging with other people in the here and now.


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