Exploding head syndrome describes a condition where a person perceives very loud noises in the absence of external sounds. The noise can resemble an exploding bomb, gunshot, or even the crash of cymbals. They have a sudden onset (i.e., with no prior warning), are typically of brief duration, and in many patients happen upon awaking or when just falling asleep.
Although classified as a sleep disorder and an auditory hallucination, the etiology of the condition is poorly understood and the presence of the syndrome does not indicate any underlying condition. Although annoying, it is not life-threatening. However, it can be accompanied by secondary symptoms typical of fear, such as tachycardia. However, it is never associated with pain.
Several medications have been tried to treat sufferers, but none have been shown to be effective. In many cases, supportive care is all that is needed as patients only require reassurance that they are not suffering from a serious condition.