question about auditory hallucinations...

  1. As you can probably guess, I'm in my psyche rotation and have a question. How do auditory hallucinations manifest themselves in deaf people? I know auditory hallucinations have no ?foundation? in the ears, but the voices are originating in their head, but for someone who's never heard, how do these pts describe the voices? Is it more severe for someone who doesn't hear? Just curious....thanks
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  3. by   miss.bandaid
    I am not sure of the answer either, but maybe they could describe the "voices" as thoughts in their head that are not their own?
  4. by   hypnotic_nurse
    I did have a deaf patient in one of my studies, who signed that she heard voices when she was very depressed. However, I don't know if she had been deaf since birth. My guess is that since hearing people refer to those extraneous thoughts as "hearing voices", then that is probably how a deaf patient would refer to it anyway...we only have that way of describing that experience. If you can't hear, and you don't know what it is like to hear, then you would probably use the available words to describe the sensation. Probably no way to know if it is similar to the experience hearing people have.
  5. by   wam79
    Interesting, I can't remember having a deaf pt. I guess the best way to find out would be to ask them what the "voices" are saying.
  6. by   Spazzy Nurse
    I work with a client who is considered deaf (100% in one ear, 80% in the other). With a hearing aid he can hear slightly, and he lip reads. We had a speaker come in one day to talk about him. I had never realized how much tougher schizophrenia is for someone who struggles to hear. In a hearing person the voices can side track a person and make it difficult to hear anything else, but can you imagine a deaf person who has to really work on hearing anything at all?
    As for what the voices sound like in someone who has never heard a voice, I'm not sure. That is a fantastic question. If I am able to find out I will post.
  7. by   maureeno
    >> According to Barbara Haskins, M.D.--an expert in the field of deafness and psychiatric disorders--"Deaf patients can hear voices, even if they have been deaf from birth and have never heard sound...there is ongoing debate about the neural mechanisms for this." (See Psychiatric Times, December 2000; and Altshuler KZ, Am J Psychiatry 127:1521-26).
    >>Dr. Haskins also reports the occurrence of auditory, visual, tactile, and olfactory hallucinations in deaf individuals with co-morbid schizophrenia. Interestingly, according to Haskins, some deaf people with schizophrenia will report seeing "Jesus signing to them", which Dr. Haskins describes as "...a unique...psychotic feature that seems to fall between a typical auditory hallucination of communicative input and a typical visual hallucination." She points out that a disease like rubella can produce both deafness and schizophrenia-like symptoms (Lim et al, 1995).<<
  8. by   StuPer
    Spazzy Nurses comment about schizophrenia being hard on the individual with severe or total hearing loss is very pertinant. A client in this situation who was so debilitated by his illness, recently murdered his best friend, and subsequently took his own life while in custody. Without other stimuli, a hard of hearing person is at the mercy of whatever psychotic phenomena is tormenting him/her, leading in this case to extreme tragic action, as clinicians we need to be alert to this, thankfully as has been said it appears relatively rare.
    regards StuPer