Content » Vol 96, Issue 6

Investigative Report

The Role of Auditory Itch Contagion in Psoriasis

Samantha Swithenbank, Fiona Cowdell, Henning Holle
DOI: 10.2340/00015555-2320


Itch and associated scratching is a common and distressing symptom of psoriasis. Here, we tested whether people with psoriasis, relative to healthy controls, show an increased vulnerability to auditory itch contagion (a deleterious influence) when presented with sounds of itch-associated actions of scratching and rubbing. We were also interested in whether manipulating the high frequency volume of these sounds alters itch perception. Results show that both groups rated scratching sounds as more itch-inducing than rubbing sounds, and the amount of induced itch increased as a function of high frequency volume. Furthermore, the influence of high frequency volume on induced itch was more pronounced in the psoriasis group, relative to controls. These findings demonstrate the role of auditory cues in eliciting sensations of itchiness in the absence of peripheral stimulation. Reducing the high frequency volume of itch-associated sounds may offer a novel approach for targeted multisensory itch interventions.


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