Dementia and Hearing Problems

Discussion in 'I have dementia' started by KenC, Oct 15, 2009.

  1. KenC

    KenC Registered User

    Mar 24, 2006
    Co Durham
    Dear friends

    Dementia is bad enough without reactions extra problems with hearing. After being diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia, I noticed that I was having extra problems associated with back ground noise which can be distressing at times.

    I did mention all of this to my last consultant who said it was all part of the Lewy Bodies Dementia, but now I feel that there are times when it is getting so bad that I don’t want to travel anywhere, as the excess noise on trains etc is getting too much for me.

    I do have problems hearing what is being said by the person in front of me, when other people in the same room are talking, and this can lead to me standing with a finger in one ear to get over this.

    However this can make me look as if I am not listening, to what the person is saying.

    Sometimes I turn my head sideways, so that my ear is pointing directly at the person speaking, but there again it looks as if I am not taking any notice of those speaking to me.

    I now find that if I am traveling on a train I need to take my MP3 player which has large earphones on, so that all noise is masked by the music. However this does have a down side, as I can not hear my wife or anyone else who speaks to me.

    I sometimes find that I can hear so much of this background noise, that when someone walk’s up behind me to go past, I tend to jump a mile with shock, which can be even more embarrassing to all concerned.
    Recently someone suggested that I use ear plugs, but this will cut all the noise out completely and could be rather unsafe when I am traveling.

    There are added problems these days with all the loud music when you enter a shop, it is so loud that you can not think or understand what is being said. When I was working, there were regulations governing noise, to ensure that everyone was safe, however this does not seem to work in shop.

    Sometimes something like a bag of crisps being opened, is like a hangover, as it seems to be so loud.

    And we go to the opposite end when Air conditioning makes life hard, as it is humming away in the background.

    I am going to speak to my GP tomorrow, as I understand that there may be some sort of device on the market which helps cut down this background noise. If there is something out there, it will help all those others who have the same problem. It is possible that I may get referred to ENT hospital where they specialize in hearing problems.

    We will wait to see what happens tomorrow

  2. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    I do hope robertjohnmills sees your post, Ken, because he's a professional in this field.

    I wouldn't have thought earplugs would work for the reason you listed, but I thought there were devices that cut out this extraneous noise.
  3. ella24

    ella24 Registered User

    Nov 9, 2008
    South Coast UK
  4. KenC

    KenC Registered User

    Mar 24, 2006
    Co Durham
    I went to see my GP today and he thinks that my hearing has become acute, and therefore I am picking up all the noise around me.

    However the down side is that it will be the medication that is causing it.

    I have now been advised to contact Newcastle University which has a very large Dementia Research Unit, to see if there is anyway around this.

    So now we must wairt to see what happens after this.

  5. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    Not the answer that pehaps you wanted Ken, but at least they are listening to you (no pun intended)

    I do hope that there is something that the Newcastle proffessionals can do to allieviate the problem. If it is caused by the meds I would hope so. Stay strong.
  6. Norrms

    Norrms Registered User

    Feb 19, 2009
    Torquay Devon

    Hiya ken, i know exactly what you mean and have mentioned it myself a couple of times. I will be interested in what Necastle Uni has to say and its bearing on Dementia. i hope they can rememdy this for you as its not very nice, best wishes, Norrms and family xxxxxxxxxxx
  7. robertjohnmills

    robertjohnmills Registered User

    Hearing Problems

    Hi Ken, There are many problems which can cause loudness intolerance (hyperacusis) and speech in noise (Auditory Processing Disorder). Your GP may well be correct in that the drugs you are taking are exacerbating an underlying problem with the hyperacusis. My own partner has similar problems with sounds that are loud and speech in noise.
    After tests they may suggest a number of things. One of the most effective method is exposure to white noise, through noise generators. This desensitises the over sensitive hearing. This in itself may significantly improve your speech in noise hearing. If not then you may have to consider increasing the speech signal to noise ratio, either via hearing aids or alternative communicator. This may be necessary as the neural pathways are not transmitting the info as effectively as they used to. Could be either age or the dementia. Even some individuals with apparent normal hearing wear aids to hear speech better. Anyway interested to know how you get on. All the best
  8. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    SW Scotland
    I've just acquired a pair (age-related, I'm afraid) and they really do work.

    I do hope you can find a solution, Ken.
  9. KenC

    KenC Registered User

    Mar 24, 2006
    Co Durham
    Many thanks for this information which looks very interesting.

    However our GP does not want to go any further, as he feels that by using something like a hearing aid, it will cut too much noise down. He now thinks that it is up to our Consultant to decide.
    As I am not due to see the consultant till February, I am going to try to get as move information as I can before contacting the University.

    In the mean time I just have to put up with the noise, or use a ear plug.


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