September 10, 2015
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Q.  Is it safe for someone to wear hearing aids if they have Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia?

A.  Yes, but there are some precautions needed whenever someone with a hearing loss has cognitive challenges.  Here are some tips: 

  • Persons with dementia or developmental disabilities and children can all benefit from tamper resistant battery doors.  This reduces the likelihood of losing or swallowing batteries.  If anyone swallows a battery, quickly make a collect call to the Button Battery Poison Control phone number: 202) 625-3333.   
  • Ask your audiologist to deactivate the volume control and other control buttons on hearing aids so that the wearer cannot change the loudness or sound quality.  If needed, a remote control can be used by care-givers to adjust the aids’ sound. 
  • Persons with cognitive problems may be prone to losing their hearing aids, so it is helpful to have your audiologist put the wearer’s initials on the aids and earmolds.  You can also use a special cord and clip to fasten hearing aids to the back of a collar so the aids don’t get lost quite as easily if pulled out of the ears.   

Dementia can cause a tendency to be inattentive or paranoid.  Good communication with caregivers is especially important.  Being able to hear and communicate as easily as possible can reduce the degree of confusion and fearfulness of persons with dementia and it helps them pay attention better. 

Remember, everyone deserves to hear!