Not understanding people when they talk to me.

Hi all,

Over the last few weeks I’ve noticed a number of times when someone is talking to me I suddenly can’t understand what they’re saying. It’s as if the odd word is spoken in a foreign language and these are people I’ve known for at least 5+ years, some all my life so I am used how they normally speak.

I’m not diagnosed but do have lesions and multiple symptoms, and was just wondering if anyone else has experienced this?

Thanks in advance.

Im not diagnosed. ‘Watch and wait’ for 5 yrs thereabouts with loads of issues but I get this. Like a concentration thing for me. I have to really think hard to concentrate! And remember. Often I forget and mix up my words. Does this sound like it?

Hi Trueman,

Sorry for not getting back to you sooner, been one of those weeks.

Yeah I’m getting the run around all right, told one thing then another, but I know it has so many mimickers and is very hard to diagnose.

I know what you mean about concentrating on what you’re saying and mixing or losing words completely. I get that too.

This is when the other person is speaking to you all of a sudden I can’t understand a word or sentence that they say, and I keep pretending that I’m a bit deaf so they’ll repeat themselves, either that or I nod like an idiot :slight_smile:

It really is like they’re using a foreign language here and there, it’s so random, it’s more weird than annoying - if you get me.

Good afternoon

I was diagnosed 3 yrs ago with RRMS, and one of my issues was people speaking to me (again, people I have known for years) and me not understanding what they were saying. It was almost as if my brain could not translate or compute what I was hearing. (If that makes sense!!) I often had to ask them to explain themselves (and sometimes it was over the simplest of things).

Also, my speech can be a bit off, I know what I have said but people look at me as if Im talking gobble-de gook!! and say what did you just say`.

It is very frustrating, can be upsetting, can cause distress and can knock your confidence but if you have true friends and family who accept you for who you are (warts and all) whether you have MS or not, don’t let it get in the way.

I have got to the point now, that I don’t care what people think, I don’t care what people say and to some extent I don’t mind if there is a joke to be had (by the selected few).

Hope this helps.


Hi Ang,

thank you for your reply and yes it does help.

‘Gobble-de-gook’ is the right description, even this morning I was sitting next to someone I know and had to really concentrate on what he was saying.

I’ 47 and was born and grew up in London, and moved to Ireland 10 years ago with my family. It’s like all of a sudden everyones accents have become really strong with the odd gobble-de-gook thrown in for good measure. My wife is English too and I’ve had trouble with understanding her sometimes, so it’s not an accent thing.

You’re right about how it can knock your confidence, but like you say the true friends do understand.

Thanks again, Ang. All the best,


Hi CH, I’m in diagnosis limbo land but can totally identify with what ur saying. Had one big relapse -CIS and wont be diagnosed til anotger relapse or more lesions found. Seem to be left with clumsiness, bumping into things and tripping every day and word finding problems. The word findinf works both ways, speaking and listening, often find I say a word that sounds like what I wanted to say ut totally different meaning, my kids laughing at me when I ask them to get their snuff instead of stuff. But to get to ur point, feel like this happens other way round when listening and I wrongly interpret a word as something entirely different and then my brain goes off at a tangent and ive got no idea what person is talking about or ask really daft question. Guess we’ve got to carry on and keep smiling. Have talked about this to a couple of close friends and they hardly notice the change, so trying not to be too paranoid about it and add it to the lust to tell neuro about whenever I get to see him again. Hope this helps somehow. F

Hi Froo,

Sorry for not getting back to you sooner, been a bad couple of days.

I know what you mean about your diagnosis, the wait and see process - I read something recently that more and more doctors are going away from this approach. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

Carry on and keep smiling, plus guess what’s being said to us sometimes. Thanks for your reply, it does help especially knowing that it has happened to others.

All the best :slight_smile: