Tactile-auditory synesthesia

Also called touch-to-sound (or touch-sound) synesthesia

Some people report hearing sounds when they touch or handle things, the specific sound depending on the texture or type of object they are touching. It could be related to kinetics-to-sound synesthesia, where the sound concurrent is triggered by their own body movements, and it could affect the same people, although I am not aware of any studies on the subject that might confirm or refute this. In any case it is a very uncommon type of synesthesia: according to Sean Day's study on prevalence, only 0.35% of the 1,143 synesthetes interviewed reported having this kind of experience.

Here is a description written by someone with this type of synesthesia:

“When I touch something softly enough that I can't actually hear it, I hear it in my head. This extends to kinds of touch that never make sounds that you can hear; for instance, I can hear when someone pinches me.
(…) Surfaces have their own sounds and the sounds are different depending on how I touch the surface.”

(Source: This post on the online debate platform Reddit/Synesthesia. 2019.)


Go to the page on kinetics-to-sound (and motion-to-sound) synesthesia

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