Badly Dubbed Life

A Badly Dubbed Life: Man Hears Words Before He Sees Mouth Movements

Imagine living your life as if it was a badly dubbed movie. A man who goes by the name PH recently began suffering from a newly discovered condition that has put his entire life out of sync.

PH tells New Scientist that this is how his discovery occurred:

“I told my daughter her living room TV was out of sync. Then I noticed the kitchen telly was also dubbed badly. Suddenly I noticed that her voice was out of sync too. It wasn’t the TV, it was me.”

PH was staying at his daughter’s home when he says:

“I turned to my daughter and said ‘you ought to get a decent telly, one where the sound and programme are synchronised’. I gave a little chuckle. But they said ‘there’s nothing wrong with the TV’.”

PH is the first known case of someone who registers sound before they register lip movements.

Researchers are not sure why PH’s condition began, but they are studying his brain in the hopes of gaining a better understanding of how our brains operate. Researchers currently wonder if PH’s acute pericarditis, inflammation of the sac around the heart, or the ensuing surgery to fix it have anything to do with it.

Brain scans have shown two lesions on PHs brain, and those lesions are in areas that have long been though to play a role in hearing, timing, and movement. According to PD:

“Where these came from is anyone’s guess. They may have been there all my life or as a result of being in intensive care.”


Several weeks after his life turned into a badly dubbed take on a Japanese film, PH realized that he could hear his own words before he felt his jaw make a movement. PH says of his new finding:

“It felt like a significant delay, it sort of snuck up on me. It was very disconcerting. At the time I didn’t know whether the delay was going to get bigger, but it seems to have stuck at about a quarter of a second.”


PH’s new brain disorder could further prove that different parts of our brain perceive events at different times. Instead of a unified real-time function, this condition appears to show that a brain takes all of the information that it gathers and then syncs that information.

Based on current research, it is now being suggested that because light, sound, and other senses move at different speeds our brains quickly store and then access information to sync our senses.

Researchers could also better understand how we can train and condition our brains. PH says he has learned to deal with his badly dubbed life, although he admits his brain still plays tricks on him in public when loud noises and many people are around.

Brain researchers are now offering PH the chance to sync his brains senses. While PH is in no rush to go under the knife, he also admits that he would be willing to undergo a trial treatment. 

Could you live inside a badly dubbed life?