ChannelLife UK - Industry insider news for technology resellers
Story image
Phantom vibration syndrome rises with increased UK smartphone usage
Thu, 23rd Nov 2023

Have you ever pulled out your phone, convinced it buzzed, only to find no text message, call, or notification? You're not alone. You might be experiencing phantom vibration syndrome (PVS), commonly associated with heavy mobile phone users.

PVS is described as a form of hallucination where individuals believe they feel a phone's vibration when none is present. Though not harmful, this could be a subtle hint of overusing mobile phones.

With smartphones being critical tools for communication, entertainment, and work, it's not surprising incidents relating to their excessive use are on the rise. In the UK, on average, a person spends as much as 4.14 hours each day on their smartphone.

According to one study, which involved 290 students, it was found that 89% of students had experienced phantom vibrations at least once in their lifetime, with a collective average frequency of once every two weeks. 

If you're plagued with phantom vibrations and want to reduce the symptoms, mobile' expert Rehan Ali provides some top tips.

"If you find that you are experiencing phantom vibration syndrome symptoms regularly and it's starting to bother you, consider taking steps to reduce them. While PVS is not a medically recognised condition, there is no definitive method of preventing it; there are different steps you can take to minimise the symptoms."

"Try disabling vibration alerts on your phone or set your mobile to ring rather than vibrate. This will get you used to not experiencing any phone vibrations at all. You could also turn up your ringer volume so you're not as reliant on vibrations."

"For iPhone users, you can update your vibration settings by heading Settings > Sounds & Haptics. If you are an Android user, you will need to visit  Settings > Accessibility > Interaction Controls > Vibration and Haptic Strength."

"Alternatively, if your mobile allows it, consider changing the vibration pattern to a less frequent or distinct one. This change might help your brain differentiate between real and phantom vibrations more easily."

"To minimise your screen time, why not use a time-tracking app, such as Social Fever, designed to restrict your phone activity? Or, consider designating time limits in your mobile's settings for particular apps."

"If you are an Android user, you can monitor your screen time controls by heading to Settings > Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls. For iPhone users, you will need to head to Settings > Screen time," outlines Rehan Ali. 

Phantom vibrations can vary from person to person, and there's no single silver bullet solution. It might necessitate some experimentation to identify effective strategies for the individual. While it's not a medically recognised condition, taking these small steps can alleviate the phantom vibrations associated with excessive smartphone usage.