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Physical disabilities such as hemiplegia (weakness on one side of the body) or ataxia (unsteadiness or tremor) are easily apparent so that people who come into contact with the person affected by encephalitis can adjust their demands and expectations. However, other physical changes may be less apparent. The person may have general problem with co-ordination and balance or know what they want to do but be unable to put together a sequence of movements. The person may, therefore, appear to be more clumsy or careless. Sometimes all physical actions are slowed compared with previous ability.
Vision, hearing, taste, smell, temperature and touch can all be affected by encephalitis. Problems can range from complete loss of a sense to variations in sensitivity from one day to the next.
One common problem is sight recognition, for example not being able to see an object that you are looking for or not recognising familiar faces.
Hearing problems can occur for a number of reasons. Tinnitus is experienced as noise, commonly like a buzzing, hissing or ringing in the ears. Auditory agnosia is impaired recognition of non-verbal sounds and noises, but intact language function. In some cases the person can be extremely sensitive to certain noises, pitches, or where there is more than one sound at a time. They may be unable to tolerate many environments we take for granted (for example shopping malls and pubs).
The Encephalitis Society is the operating name of the Encephalitis Support Group which is a registered Charity and Company Limited by Guarantee.
Registered in England and Wales No. 4189027. Registered Office as above. Registered Charity No. 1087843.