The Sooner THE BETTER

Treating hearing loss early prevents cognitive decline.

Retirement isn’t for everybody. Take Chuck Tarner. Sixteen years ago, Chuck sold his small promotional products business and “retired.” But at 78, he’s nearly as active today as he was before the sale.

Chuck Tarner

“I’m still putzing around selling pens, pencils and assorted business gifts,” the Michigan native says. “I get an order here and there, but I plan on getting more deeply involved in that again very soon.”

Chuck might be more deeply involved in sales already had he not recently remarried. He and his wife will celebrate their first anniversary in April. When they do, they’ll have more than their new-found love to celebrate.

Chuck’s health has taken a significant turn for the better thanks to his wife’s association with audiologist Dana Jickell, AuD, the owner of Professional Hearing Solutions in Port Orange.

“I was having some trouble with my hearing aids, which I get from the VA, so I went to see Dr. Jickell,” Chuck says. “One of the first things she did was give me a test to see if I was suffering from any kind of cognitive decline or impairment.”

Chuck performed very well on the test, with one exception. The results suggested his sense of balance had become impaired.

In recent months, Chuck told Dr. Jickell he had stumbled and even fallen a few times.

“Chuck told me he had begun therapy for that, which is good, but I told him that improving his hearing could help as well,” Dr. Jickell reports. “The reason is because you need your eyes, your ears and your sense of physical touch to maintain good balance.”

To help, Dr. Jickell encouraged Chuck to wear his hearing aids more regularly and adjusted them so that he was getting the maximum benefit. Those simple changes have made a big difference.

“I’m hearing a whole lot better now,” Chuck effuses. “I love that, but I also love that since Dr. Jickell made the adjustments, I have not stumbled or fallen once. What she did really helped me improve my balance and awareness of my surroundings.”

Chuck was fortunate to find Dr. Jickell before his cognitive decline resulted in a serious injury. Helping people avoid such issues is why Dr. Jickell believes cognitive screenings are as important as hearing tests, especially as patients age.

“When correct information stops going to the brain, the brain starts to atrophy,” she educates. “This happens even in someone with mild hearing loss. But that deterioration can be slowed by wearing hearing aids and properly programming them for that specific patient’s needs.

“That’s why it’s important for everyone over the age of 40 to have their hearing tested every two years and anyone over the age of 55 get their hearing tested every year. The sooner we treat hearing loss, the more we can slow the progression or delay the onset of cognitive decline.”

© FHCN article by Roy Cummings. Photo courtesy of Chuck Tarner. js
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    • Professional Hearing Solutions

      At Professional Hearing Solutions, they are dedicated to improving the quality of life for their patients by helping them manage their hearing loss. Hearing loss can happen to anyone of any age. When left untreated, hearing loss, can ne... Read More

    • Dana Jickell, AuD

      Dana Jickell, AuD, has provided hearing health care for more than 25 years. She earned her bachelor’s degree and doctoral degree from the University of Florida and obtained her master’s degree from the University of Central Florida.... Read More

    • Raegan Jickell, C-AA

      Raegan Jickell, C-AA, earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida in 2014. She is working toward her hearing instrument specialist license.... Read More