No Such Thing as BACKGROUND Noise

worried_older_woman.jpgHappy to share another tip from a woman with dementia!  We can learn so much from those who are experiencing it first hand.  Thank you for your work, Tru!  And thank you for visiting us at Advocare of South Florida. We provideTransitional Care Management to area seniors. 

Tru here.  Single gift that you could give for greatest impact in my current moments with you would be to understand this fact: For me, there is no such thing as BACKGROUND noise.

My brain seems to have lost ability to prioritize audio signals.  It is like my sensitivity sensors are turned up, so even if volume is so low that I am only picking up few of the sounds, it is enough that my attention is distracted, trying to figure out those sounds.  So even tho the sound (of fridge fan, range fan, water running for sink, or the dishwasher) is so low in volume that it is un-noticeable “background” blur to YOUR brain, my brain includes these low-volume sounds in the pile of audio puzzle pieces when trying to follow your conversation.  Then add my constant tinnitus to those sounds.  TV/Radio or multiple conversations at the same table is even more of a problem, even if the volume is very low.  My THEORY on this reasoning is that since all audio signals are now scrambled, the low volume tones are just as crucial as high volume tones, in order to construct puzzle of words being heard.

Since my hearing is considered normal … for an 85 year-old woman (and I am 58years old), I sometimes wear my sophisticated hearing aids.  I usually leave these hearing aids in the “directional” setting, where I will hear sounds from whichever way my head is facing with higher volume than sounds coming from other directions.  With extreme concentration added, the directional hearing aids might make the difference for success in picking out basics of a conversation (from the low murmur of surrounding sounds) for short time periods, but even the directional hearing aids don’t seem to make much difference in my stress level.

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