Several years ago, I saw a gentleman residing in a nursing home for an evaluation. The staff had referred him because he was hitting staff members and talking nonsense.
He had been diagnosed with dementia and psychosis. When his hearing was evaluated, the results were a severe hearing loss. It turned out that he was startled when people approached him and he struck out at them. He also spoke nonsense, because he heard nonsense.
He was fit with hearing aids and he became a different person. His whole life changed. He was able to carry on conversations with ease and actually answer correctly. Since he could hear people coming, he was no longer startled and the hitting stopped. In fact, he was a charming, intelligent person. His family was thrilled and so was I.
Not only did he not have dementia or psychosis, his mental function was excellent. Why no one thought to refer him for a hearing evaluation sooner is beyond me. If you know of someone who is exhibiting a change in personality, please schedule a hearing check. It could be an easily treated hearing loss that is causing the problems.
Susan E. Terry, Au.D., F-AAA
Doctor of Audiology
P.S. We are here to help, if you have any questions about your hearing feel free to give us a call at 727-323-2471.