"Audiology and Dementia"

About: Northampton General Hospital (Acute) / Ear, Nose and Throat Northamptonshire Teaching PCT

(as a relative),

In June 2011 I took my mother for a hearing test as she needed replacement Hearing Aids. My mother suffers from a mix of Alzheimers and Vascular Dementia and can no longer remember any conversation or instruction.

The Hearing Test was an absolute nightmare in that she was unable to remember to press the button when she heard the sounds played to her through the headphones. The member of staff completing the Hearing Test was very patient and I have no complaints about him. He went to a great deal of effort in that he wrote to the previous Audiology Department to obtain her previous Hearing Test results so he could make new Hearing Aids.

The problem is my mother is hearing impaired, sight impaired and suffers from Dementia, so she is losing all the functions that improve our daily life. She has now thrown one of her Hearing Aids out and is refusing to wear the remaining one as it is uncomfortable worn with her glasses. The other problem is when she was wearing them she continually removed them and took them apart and could not retain the fact that she should not meddle with them.

The issues for me are:

1. The Hearing Test is not really suitable for anyone suffering with severe Dementia as they are unable to communicate if they have heard the sounds.

2. The Hearing Aids supplied by the National Health Service are uncomfortable for anyone wearing glasses and I believe them to be unsuitable for Dementia sufferers.

3. The whole process was difficult for my mother due her illness and inability to retain information and provide an accurate test. It was also very difficult for me as her daughter/carer trying to assist her to participate in the process.

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