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Anxiety Problems with surrounding noise


Registered User
Jan 20, 2012
My wife is in a long term care facility in Ontario, Canada. Bonnie has been diagnosed as having Bipolar and some form of Dementia. But it is not Alzheimer’s. She has a very severe case of anxiety and cannot cope with noise. For example, she will get very upset if there are just a couple of persons in her room having a conversation. Usually at mealtime, the PSW workers will have to feed her in another room by herself because Bonnie cannot handle all the commotion in the dining room with the other residents. She will start to scream and get very upset.

I was wondering if you have heard of similar cases like this. Has anybody tried some sort of noise reduction earphones that might help to reduce the noise surrounding my wife?

Amy in the US

Registered User
Feb 28, 2015
RABryant, welcome to TP. I am very sorry to hear about the situation with your wife and while I don't have experience of this, I hope someone will come along who does.

I've asked the moderators to move this to a different forum which will, I hope, ensure more people read this and you get a response.

My first thought is to have a conversation with your wife's neurologist to see what their advice might be, or to have her assessed by one, if she hasn't been already. Ideally you want someone with experience in, and preferably a practice limited to, dementia.

You may also need to consider an inpatient stay at a hospital or facility that can more fully assess your wife and her health issues and medications. Here in the States, that would be a Senior Behavioural Health unit or a Geriatric Psychiatry ward. I'm not sure what the analogue to that would be, in Canada.

I cannot see any harm in trying the noise-cancelling headphones, although I think the good ones are not inexpensive and they may not help, and you should accept that she may refuse to wear them.

Is it possible that she is not specifically sensitive to the noise, but rather to the level of activity with more than one other person present? I know that with some people with some types of dementia, they become very sensitive to stimuli.

You say she doesn't have Alzheimer's-type dementia, but do you mean it's vascular dementia, or some other form?

Have other health issues been ruled out?

I'm sorry, I am grasping at straws here. This must be so very stressful for you all.


Registered User
Jul 20, 2011
It sounds like sensory overload - I would ask for a referral back to the memory clinic to discuss this with the consultant. She has a complex diagnosis so you might end up seeing both consultants before you get to some sort of resolution as I imagine the meds might clash.

Everyone is different but I wouldn't buy the noise cancelling headphones I would see if you can get them on loan - my daughter has an auditory processing disorder and they are very expensive items if they are of good quality and some people can't tolerate them.

This is obviously having a huge impact on her quality of life, she must be in a lot of discomfort so worth persisting with the medics to see if there is a drug based solution


Registered User
Aug 30, 2012
Brixham Devon
My late Husband had bipolar and Dementia-in his case Alzheimer's. Both conditions were diagnosed at the same time. Noise was a massive issue for Pete; all we could do was be quiet! But that is very difficult in a CH with staff and other residents being around.

The staff at Pete's CH were very aware that noise could be a trigger for Pete's aggression so they were very vigilant and his meds (sodium valporate) did do some good. To be honest it all got to a stage where I didn't know when the bipolar or Dementia was causing his distress. A horrible thing to witness so you have my sympathy.

All I can suggest is to speak to the staff and ask if they have any suggestions.

Take care

Lyn T
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Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
South coast
Sensory overload is really common with Fronto-Temperal Dementia. I wonder if thats the sort of dementia that she has?


Registered User
Jan 20, 2012
Sensory overload is really common with Fronto-Temperal Dementia. I wonder if thats the sort of dementia that she has?
I was told by one psychiatrist that he thinks that she has Fronto-Temperal Dementia.


Registered User
Apr 3, 2014
near Folkestone
My husband is also very noise sensitive. He has Az and vascular dementia. Even when the grandchildren laugh loud and screech It's so difficult for him . He says it's going right to his brain and he has to leave the room xx

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Registered User
Nov 16, 2008
Ditto here chick! And the slightest unexpected noise sends him on a long search to find out what it was ...


Registered User
Mar 13, 2014
Bernard doesn't like noise either. Unfortunately there are 3 residents who are very noisy one constantly bangs the table at mealtimes or claps her hands if sitting in the lounge, another will sit quietly completely doubled up, then suddenly her head shoots up and a string of very loud abuse comes forth. I am amazed at how tolerant Bernard is of it, he wasn't when at home with the grandchildren, but he does sometimes tell them to shut up! The staff are aware and step into try and distract or hold their hands which calms them down. So hard in a CH setting.

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