A new study of 210 sufferers of OOBEs has revealed the strange condition may not be as other worldly as previously thought.
Experts believe that around 10 per cent of the global population have an OOBE at some point in their life which leads to a sensation that one is outside the body and looking in on themselves.
New research has found the phenomenon may not be as paranormal as people once believed, but could be down to a problem in the ear.
The vestibular system is comprised of several structures in the ears which give a person a sense of balance and spacial awareness.
When there are issues with the system, people report experiencing dizziness and a sense of floating.
Research from the Aix-Marseille Université in France has found that those who have problems with the vestibular system – known as peripheral vestibular disorders – have a “significantly higher occurrence” of OOBEs.
The researchers looked at 210 people who suffered from dizziness and 210 people of equal age and gender who did not.
One of the participants in the study say they felt “like I’m outside of myself. I feel like I’m not in myself”, while another added “he was divided into two persons, one who had not changed posture and another new person on his right, looking somewhat outwardly. Then the two somatic individuals approached each other, merged, and the vertigo disappeared.”
Some 14 per cent of the dizziness sufferers say they have had OOBEs while this drops to just five per cent for those who do not suffer from dizziness.
Many of the dizzy sufferers who have had an OOBE had also been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, depersonalisation, or migraines, according to the research published in Cortex.
This, the team say, is a sign that OOBEs are caused by a combination of problems with the vestibular system and psychological disorders.
The study reads: “Altogether, our data indicate that OBE in patients with dizziness may arise from a combination of perceptual incoherence evoked by the vestibular dysfunction with psychological factors (depersonalization-derealization, depression and anxiety) and neurological factors (migraine).”