According to a study that has been published in The British Journal of Psychiatry, in January 2010, nearly 1 in 10 seven- to eight-year-olds hears voices that aren't really there, according to a new study.
Most children who hear voices don't find them troubling or disruptive to their thinking. These voices in general have a limited impact in daily life. In most cases the voices will just disappear. Up to 16 percent of mentally healthy children and teens may hear voices. While hearing voices can signal a heightened risk of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders in later life, the "great majority" of young people who have these experiences never become mentally ill.
The researchers looked at 3,870 Groningen primary schoolers. All were asked whether they had heard "one or more voices that only you and no one else could hear" in the past year. Nine percent of the children answered yes. Only 15 percent of these children said the voices caused them serious suffering, and 19 percent said the voices interfered with their thinking. Boys and girls were equally likely to report hearing voices, but girls were more likely to report suffering and anxiety due to the voices.
Although urban children were less likely to hear voices, they were more troubled by them. They were more likely to report hearing several voices at once, voices speaking for a longer time, and voices that interfered with their thinking. This greater severity suggests that the urban children who heard voices might be at higher risk of going on to develop psychotic illness
Reuters Health, NEW YORK