Auditory hallucinations (paracusia) are hearing sounds without auditory stimulus, and “tinnitus” is personal perception for sound of constant ringing, clicking, etc … without auditory stimulus. Many causes.
Not all folks with dementia symptoms have tinnitus or other types of auditory hallucinations, but i think it is more prevalent in that population.
My tinnitus began about 14yrs ago (2004, after cognitive symptoms were showing in my processing speed and a few other areas, but not nearly as advanced as now).
some days it is louder than others. Sometimes it is a roar, and sometimes just a constant fuzz. Worst is when the tones fluctuate (like today). Fluctuating tones create more problems understanding when other folks talk.
In my first years with this constant sound, it was difficult to focus on anything other than the constant sound. i could not even sleep (and sleep is crucial to brain cell renewal). Tried ear buds but they did not stay in during sleep, so went “old school; i bout a stackable DVD-music player that would allow as much as 12hrs of “background” music. Three 4-hr disks and i was able to disrupt the tinnitus with something peaceful. After a couple years i grew accustomed to the sound in my head, and no longer needed the distraction. This was 10yrs ago, so it may be possible now to play 8-10hrs of nature music on a hard drive.
OTHER Auditory Hallucinations
Apparently tinnitus is considered a form of auditory hallucination, and may be more prevalent with Semantic Dementia (form of Fronto-Temporal Dementia). I had a couple auditory hallucinations before tinnitus became an issue – even before any cognitive dys-abilities were noticeable.
During 1994-1998 I was waking up on the floor, so husband built a fitted bar to hold me in the bed. I had two or three events of auditory hallucinations during those years. I heard muffled voices when there was no source, and in different locations (which are Lewy-Body-type symptoms). Checked for possible radio, etc, but no source for the sounds which lasted several minutes at a time, and sometimes multiple times in stretch of a couple hours. It was very scary. It was not until I was writing this blog entry that I realized those were my first auditory hallucinations.
Tinnitus began about 2004, and other auditory hallucinations began about 2007. I heard music and (again) muffled voices. Sometimes these occur pretty regularly, but I have not had an auditory hallucination for over a year now (unless I have forgotten them).
Since smell and then sight hallucinations developed (sometime after 2010) that relegated sound hallucinations to much lower priority in my attention, so mostly I successfully ignore them.
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… Sound Dis-orientation >> https://truthfulkindness.com/2015/08/11/sound-disorientation-dementia-symptom/
News-Medical.net 2017Aug26: Tinnitus, a chronic ringing or buzzing in the ears, has eluded medical treatment and scientific understanding. A new study by University of Illinois researchers found that chronic tinnitus is associated with changes in certain networks in the brain, and furthermore, those changes cause the brain to stay more at attention and less at rest. … Using functional MRI to look for patterns across brain function and structure, the new study found that tinnitus is, in fact, in the hearers’ heads — in a region of the brain called the precuneus, to be precise. https://www.news-medical.net/news/20170826/Chronic-tinnitus-linked-to-changes-in-certain-brain-networks.aspx
Auditory hallucinations: Patients with semantic dementia commonly report tinnitus (an elementary auditory hallucination), linked to structural alterations in a fronto–temporo–subcortical network ; while hallucinations of ‘muffled’ sounds or voices are often reported by patients with Lewy body dementia, frank verbal hallucinations are uncommon and generally occur as a component of more complex, multimodal hallucinations . In contrast, persistent musical hallucinations (typically comprising familiar, banal tunes) are relatively commonly reported in patients with Lewy body disease and less frequently, other dementias  … https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5065893/
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