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Offered by: John Wilson, B.S., BC-HIS – Blue Ribbon Hearing & Tinnitus Center

Earlier this month I received a frantic call from the spouse of a patient who needed to have one of the patient’s hearing aids fixed. The patient had been unable to make it to their regularly scheduled service appointment because of Covid-19 restrictions and was many months past due for a cleaning. We scheduled an appointment for a family member to bring in the device as soon as possible.

The patient had worn hearing aids faithfully for more than a decade and was never without them. The family member brought the device to me and explained that the patient had experienced some very alarming dementia-like symptoms when they were no longer able to hear properly out of both ears. The family member explained they were anxious to get the hearing aid fixed as quickly as possible, because during the few days the patient was not able to hear properly, the patient experienced significant confusion, cognitive problems, and memory issues.

Although the spouse and family member assumed I would need to send the device to the manufacturer for repair, I was fairly certain I could fix it in the office. When I examined the device, I found that it was plugged with a significant amount of wax. After cleaning the device it worked perfectly. Later that week I spoke to the patient’s spouse who explained that when the patient began wearing both devices again, their demeanor improved significantly and everything was back to normal.

Our conversation continued and we then discussed the correlation between hearing loss and dementia, the importance of wearing hearing aids, the importance of regular maintenance to ensure the devices are working properly, the negative consequences of physical and social isolation, and the importance of using hearing protection.

As a result of that conversation, Blue Ribbon Hearing & Tinnitus Center wants to remind those who have parents, grandparents or other relatives who are isolated to make an increased effort to visit, or otherwise communicate via telephone, writing letters, or video call. Also encourage them to be physically active to maintain their physical and mental health.

Also, with the upcoming hunting seasons, we are providing discounts on all custom hearing protection when getting a hearing screening.