Whispering tics

Whispering tics are vocal tics that present as an urge to whisper a word or phrase.

They may occur for some in quiet environments. Loud environments may result in a feeling that the tic didn’t ‘feel right’ if not heard.

Whispering tics may occur with coprolalia (uttering offensive words and phrases) and echolalia (repeating words and phrases said by other people).

A feeling 'just right'

Sometimes, whispering is the primary ‘urge’ for someone with tics. The only way to get rid of the unwanted urge is to whisper, regardless of environment. 

A problem may arise in louder environments, like attending a concert. If the tic cannot be heard, it may not register as being ‘complete’. For others, the sensation of feeling the whisper and breathing may register the tic as being carried out.

Tourettic-OCD (sometimes called Just Right OCD) is a term used to describe tics and behaviours that have to feel ‘just right‘. This is described in more detail here.

Habit reversal

Whispering may be used to try and carry out a tic in a more discreet fashion.

An example of this would be vocal tics at a funeral, or in the classroom. An individual may resort to whispering if there is an urge to carry out a louder tic that would feel embarrassing or disruptive.

Sometimes, replacing a tic with another tic or action can still bring relief.