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Hearing loss

secondtimeround

Registered User
Sep 1, 2014
10
London
My aunt, who has Alzheimer's, has until recently had very good hearing but recently she has started saying she can't hear when spoken to. The care home staff say she can hear sounds from outside her room and the doc says her ears seem clear. Is it possible that the AD is interfering with her ability to decode speech, which is making her seem deaf? Does anyone have comparable experience?
 

Amy in the US

Registered User
Feb 28, 2015
4,617
USA
I don't have exactly comparable experience, but my mother (73, Alzheimer's and no short term memory), who has excellent hearing, does sometimes miss something or seem to not hear something, that we say to her. She also seems to not see things at times. I've noticed this happens somewhat unpredictably, but is especially noticeable if there is a lot of background noise and/or activity. For example, she can concentrate on a conversation much better in her rooms than in a restaurant.

Also, my mother often has difficulty pinpointing what a particular sound (not language, but noises) is and where it is coming from. A recent example is that her heater had a loose fan and was making a humming noise, and she was convinced it was the flagpole outside her window "vibrating in the wind."

While I'm not an expert, I would say that definitely the dementia could be getting in the way of her ability to process language or even just sounds.

There might be something helpful here: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=130
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
11,608
South coast
Is she showing any signs of speech problems - ie forgetting words, or using the wrong words? If so, she might be getting problems with language and cant "decode" language when she hears it either.
 

tigerqueen

Registered User
Mar 11, 2014
75
Essex
I think it would make perfect sense for AD to affect understanding of speech. As we get older our hearing declines, and I know myself as someone with hearing problems how hard I need to concentrate to follow speech. If your disease then causes your brain to slow, following whats going o will become more difficult
 

henfenywfach

Registered User
May 23, 2013
332
rct
My aunt, who has Alzheimer's, has until recently had very good hearing but recently she has started saying she can't hear when spoken to. The care home staff say she can hear sounds from outside her room and the doc says her ears seem clear. Is it possible that the AD is interfering with her ability to decode speech, which is making her seem deaf? Does anyone have comparable experience?
Hi
Yes it's possible that it's the brains disease that is affecting hearing and understanding. My dad's hearing is aided to the hilt. He still can make sense of what people are saying. Therefore gives impression he's deaf. Pardon !!! Is his word. I use more hand signs and speaking more. .
The same applies to sight. His eyes are perfect. But his perceptions are terrible. Walking into things etc.

So basically anything the brain controls can be affected.
Best wishes
 

secondtimeround

Registered User
Sep 1, 2014
10
London
Thanks to all for these comments. Not sure about speech problems, for quite a while she has been naming random objects as if reminding herself what they are called, don't know if this is a language function or memory.
 

arielsmelody

Registered User
Jul 16, 2015
516
Also, sometimes with hearing loss what you miss are the particular sounds that help you understand words - my hearing can be a bit dodgy sometimes, and I might hear that my husband is talking to me, but I can't understand what the actual words are. It is a lot worse with background noise, and I think that's pretty common when people get older.
 

father ted

Registered User
Aug 16, 2010
698
London
My aunt, who has Alzheimer's, has until recently had very good hearing but recently she has started saying she can't hear when spoken to. The care home staff say she can hear sounds from outside her room and the doc says her ears seem clear. Is it possible that the AD is interfering with her ability to decode speech, which is making her seem deaf? Does anyone have comparable experience?
My Mum's hearing seemed to 'go' shortly after her diagnosis. You would have to repeat everything and it seemed she wasn't really concentrating first time round. She was given hearing aids but refused to wear them as she 'can hear alright' despite TV turned up loud and frequently not responding when spoken to. There was an article in yesterdays' Daily Mail about research in America about this. Apparently the part of the brain where sounds are processed is also responsible for recall so if one is impaired it is possible the other will be affected. Also said using hearing aids when needed will keep this part of the brain 'active' and could prevent memory problems developing.