Hearing Colors: What It's Like To Have Synesthesia

Trace interviews musician Kaitlyn Hova, a synesthete who can see specific colors when she hears musical notes

Synesthesia is a neurological condition where a person's stimuli are crossed. Although scientists aren't sure what causes it, when a synesthete experiences a stimuli, it activates several neural pathways at the same time, causing them to have very unique sensory experiences. Grapheme-Color Synesthesia is the most common: this is where a person sees certain letters or numbers as a specific color. Lexical-Gustatory Synesthesia, on the other hand, is one of the rarest forms: people with this experience tastes when they hear certain words or sounds.

What is life like for someone who has synesthesia? In this special episode of TestTubePlus, Trace interviews Kaitlyn Hova, a synesthete with a form of auditory synesthesia that causes her to she sees flashes of colors when she hears specific musical notes. Kaitlyn happens to be a musician, too--you can see what she experiences when she plays music in this 360° VR video. (In order to get the full VR effect, make sure you watch this on the YouTube app, a Chrome browser, or download the Discovery VR app here for free.) How does her condition affect her life? When did she realize she had it? Can she listen to music while driving? Trace finds out.

TestTube Plus is built for enthusiastic science fans seeking out comprehensive conversations on the geeky topics they love. Each week, host Trace Dominguez probes deep to unearth the details, latest developments, and opinions on big topics like boobs, porn, the ocean, stereotypes, fear, survival, dreams, space travel, and many more.

TestTube Plus is now available on iTunes! Click here to subscribe.