Phantom vibration and phantom ringing among mobile phone users: A systematic review of literature

Asia Pac Psychiatry. 2015 Sep;7(3):231-9. doi: 10.1111/appy.12164. Epub 2014 Nov 19.


The last decade has witnessed considerable interest in pathological conditions stemming from misuse or overuse of technology, a condition commonly referred to as technopathology. Of the several complaints reported, phantom vibration or phantom ringing is one that has not yet been widely explored. The objective of conducting a systematic review is to provide an understanding of the phenomena and summarize the research conducted so far. Major databases were searched and articles that matched the inclusion criteria were selected for final analysis. According to findings obtained, phantom vibration or phantom ringing was commonly experienced by mobile phone users; however, few found it bothersome and hence took no steps to eliminate it. As of now, literature in the area is limited and many aspects of the phenomena such as its prevalence across populations, causal factors, consequences, and treatment plans are yet to be studied. Also, a clinical criterion for identification of the condition needs to be formulated. With increase in the number of individuals reporting mobile phone-related problem behavior, phantom vibration, or phantom ringing may be expected to become a cause of concern for mental health professionals within some years. Finally, the need for further research is emphasized while presenting directions for future investigations.

Keywords: mobile phone; phantom ringing; phantom vibration; ringxiety; technopathology.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Cell Phone*
  • Female
  • Hallucinations / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sensation Disorders / psychology
  • Vibration*