Category: Hyperacusis

Hearing Test and Hyperacusis – Part 4

I am not due back at the Audiology Department yet so I thought I would take a look at Hyperacusis and how it can affect a person living with Dementia.

Dementia is generally but incorrectly associated with age and because of this, it is generally assumed, that people with Dementia may have trouble communicating due to hearing loss.

However, communication problems may also be due to intolerance of noise, that is to say that in a noisy environment, people living with Dementia may not be able to process all the sounds around them including background noise.

This may cause symptoms including : confusion, disorientation, inability to follow conversations or instructions or process information.

It’s a bit like closing one lane on a motorway, 3 lanes of information have to try to find a way through 2 lanes, switching from lane to lane.

The brain cannot process information fast enough and the signals cannot get from neuron to neuron efficiently as they are diverted around dead cells causing a backlog of information that may not be processed in the correct order.


How dementia changes the way you hear the world listen to the audio report about half way down.

Dementia-friendly environments: Noise levels

A discussion on the Alzheimer’s Society Talking Point Message Board from 2009  “Dementia and Hearing Problems”

Agnes Houston’s Booklet Think Dementia, Think Sensory

The Sounds of Dementia

Dementia Diaries




Susan’s Story

Experience 12 Minutes In Alzheimer’s Dementia

Virtual Dementia

Previous Articles

Hearing Test and Hyperacusis – Part 1

Hearing Test and Hyperacusis – Part 2

Hearing Test and Hyperacusis – Part 3



Hearing Test and Hyperacusis – Part 3

It’s been about a months since I was last at the audiologist

Last week, I was back to the Audiologist, this time to get some hearing protectors.

You may recall that sometime ago I had the moulds done and then redone as the moulds hadn’t come out right the first time, but now the finished articles were ready for me.

I got a taxi to the Hospital as I still struggle using buses and got there early so I waited in the Waiting Room until I was called.

At the appointment, I was first asked how I had got on with the pink noise from the hearing aid in each ear, I say Hearing Aid but they have the hearing part turned off and then it was on to the hearing protectors.

They are fairly easy to put in, if I remember to do them the right way up.

But there are two problems for me.

They had a length of string like plastic connected to them, designed I suppose to stop me losing one or both protectors with a clip on, but I have taken this off as everytime I moved my head I could hear it rubbing on the protectors.

The other problem is that the protectors amplify my voice, the sound of me swallowing and eating, breathing etc which is distracting and not what I need going through a busy station etc..

This may reduce with time, however, at the moment I think I will eventually go back to my noise cancelling headphones but I have to give it at least three months until I go back to Audiology to see if they improve with time.

A simple appointment, simple process and time will tell if these hearing protectors work.

I am due back at the Audiologist in May


Hearing Test and Hyperacusis – Part 2

Recently I was back at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital for a follow up appointment at Audiology.

I had been previously for a hearing test and had some moulds taken.

I went to the wrong reception desk but finally checked in and it wasn’t long before Claire arrived and I was seen.

The previous moulds weren’t big enough, so I had to do some fresh ones first and it would be a few more weeks before I could try out the hearing protectors.

In the meantime, Claire asked me to try out some pink noise therapy, to see if it could desensitize my hearing and reduce the Hyperacusis.

She played some white noise through a speaker and then some pink noise, The white noise seemed a harsher sound so I agreed to give the pink noise a go.

The therapy uses a digital hearing aid but with the hearing aid part switched off and she showed me how easy it was to change the settings on a digital hearing aid. Claire then turned on the pink noise in the device with it set at a low level to start with..


Next Claire measured my ear for the right length tube and fitted the hearing aid to my ear.


I could just about hear the pink noise but it wasn’t distracting and Claire offered to do the same for the other ear.

I wasn’t sure about have one aid in each ear and opted for an additional tube so that I could swap ears every few days.

Claire gave me some spare batteries and a card if I need to get any more and we were done for a few weeks and I made my way home by taxi.

I am due back at Audiology in February and you can see the article here

Note to Medical Professionals

Poorly adjusted digital hearing aids can lead to people living with Dementia not wearing their hearing aids and also appearing confused when they are not or having uncharacteristic emotional responses.

It is simple for Audiology to adjust a digital hearing aid and can be done by trial and error if there is a communication problem.

Not referring a person with Dementia because they wouldn’t understand is unacceptable.


Hearing Test and Hyperacusis – Part 1

I recently went to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital for a hearing test and to see what hearing protectors would be appropriate for my Hyperacusis.

I arrived in plenty of time and was greeted at Reception by someone I had worked with in Out Patients.

I was taken to a room where the Audiologist clearly explained what the tests were going to be and how I would press a button when I heard sounds.

Knowing I have Dementia, she reminded me to press the button during the tests which was helpful.

That done, I went to the waiting room to wait to see the Consultant.

After a few minutes I was taken into another room where Professor Ray was waiting for me.

I had met him several times when he had presented some new research on hearing and Dementia to the South Yorkshire Dementia Research Advisory Group, of whom I am a member, as part of the PPI commitment for his research funding application.

I explained about the issues I have been having with noise and how they can affect my abilities and cause headaches.

He informed me that I had no significant hearing loss, my hearing being good for my age and we discussed the issues I am having with noise.

I was introduced to Clare Marris and we went to her office to discuss Hearing Protectors.

The upshot of our discussion was that I would have these, with the version that cuts out lower noise sounds.

music ear plugs

and Clare took some moulds of my ears.

They can be found on the manufacturers website here

Next month I will have the protectors fitted and it will be interesting to see if they are more effective than the noise cancelling headphones I currently use, especially at events where sounds can be an issue.

If you are having issues with noise, it is important that you see your GP and insist on a referral to your local Audiology Department.

Part 2 continues here