Do you have synesthesia?

The thing is, this diagnosis is so rare and honestly so little understood that you might actually have it and not know there’s a word for it.

Basically, it means people whose senses work in tandem in a unique way, like being able to taste smells or see sounds.

6. Being sick can affect people who have it.

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Being sick can change everyone’s perception, to say nothing of how certain illnesses can actually negatively affect our senses.

Researchers have found that people with synesthesia typically see their abilities either heighten or lessen – like if they have a sound-color synesthesia, an ear infection could cause them to see colors differently while they’re ill.

5. Most people have always had it.

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Researchers actually believe that most babies are born with synesthesia, but the vast majority of the population outgrows the ability as they age.

That said, it is possible to acquire it later in life, either spontaneously or due to something like a tumor, head injury, or stroke.

4. It’s common in left-handed women.

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For some reason, studies have shown that women are more likely to have synesthesia than men (probably because we’re used to doing more than one thing at a time – ha!) – around 3-8 times more likely.

The women who are disproportionately more likely to have it are also left-handed.

3. A bunch of musicians and painters have it.

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Popular musicians like Billie Eilish, Kanye West, Mary J. Blige, and Billiy Joel all claim to have synesthesia, and think their condition is one reason for their success.

Similarly, researchers posit that famous artists like Monet and Van Gogh’s work shows someone being able to paint the colors of sound, etc.

2. People are usually surprised to find out they have it.

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Most people who have grown up with synesthesia assume everyone can do what they do, and are surprised to learn that they see the world differently than most.

This can make the condition hard to diagnose, and also hard to get an exact estimate on how common it really might be.

1. Experts don’t know what causes it, but they think there’s a genetic component.

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Scientists know that synesthesia is the result of a “cross-wiring” in the brain between areas that process different sensations, and they also know that it runs in families.

Close to 40% of people with synesthesia have a close relative who also has it, so they’re sure the gene is passed down from parent to child.

I don’t know about you, but I definitely learned a thing or two.

If you have some experience with this, drop some more facts with us in the comments!