Getting a Loved One to Wear Their Hearing Aid


I realized my hearing was going some time ago, but I had put off the inevitable until it was no longer possible to ignore the fact that I was missing out on a lot. Charlie's hearing, on the other hand, seemed quite a bit better than mine. I was the one who was turning up the TV so I could follow the movie dialogue.

I hadn't had my hearing aid a week before I realized that Charlie, too, had a problem. I was now hearing fine and it was Charlie who was turning up the TV and driving me out of the room. So I scheduled him for a hearing evaluation at the VA, against his better judgment. He insisted his hearing was fine.

The hearing test showed that he did, in fact, need a hearing aid for both ears. The good news was that the VA would provide him with the hearing aids at no cost to him for the hearing test, the hearing aids (a $5,000 value), and subsequent batteries or other supplies to keep them in perfect condition.(Learn more about: Hearing Aids from Veterans Affairs.)

The aids arrived, Charlie had his final fitting, and we drove home with those costly little things snugly fitted into his ears.

He hadn't been home two hours before he lost one of the hearing aids. I searched high and low for it, and decided it must have dropped into the toilet. His home health aide finally found it the next day, hanging on the edge of his toothbrush cup.

By the second day, the hearing aids came out, and they have been sitting in the box beside his chair for the past two weeks. The process of inserting the aids was difficult for him, he couldn't understand that they had to come out at bedtime, and the care of them was more than he could comprehend. He now insists he doesn't need them and says he only got them because they were free; yet he continues to turn up the volume on the TV.

I have tried begging, yelling, pleading and bribing to get him to put them in and wear them like any sensible person. I don't understand it. I put mine in and take them out only to sleep or shower; I don't even know they are there until they beep that a new battery is due.

Is it a man thing, a dementia thing or just plain stubbornness?

Today may have been the last straw. He was reading the newspaper and there were no less than three full-page ads for various hearing aids in the paper. He showed me one and asked me if I thought it was something he should consider.

I blew my top.

"Why would you want to get those hearing aids when you have two brand new ones sitting in the box," I asked him. "Well, they say these are good," was his response. The hearing aids provided by the VA are identical to the ones I wear and are considered the top-of-the-line.I suggested he put his hearing aids in and try to get used to them, but again, he insisted that he didn't need them.

I can certainly see why people living alone with dementia are vulnerable to the many temptations and scams they are exposed to on a daily basis. They have no filter to help them determine what they need vs. what sounds like a good idea.

If I hadn't been here to stop Charlie, he probably would have scheduled an appointment to see another hearing aid specialist and paid full price for a second set of hearing aids that would join the first set sitting in the box.

If someone can give me any ideas on how to get him to wear the ones he has, I would welcome the suggestions. Barring that, they may end up on eBay.

Marlis describes herself as a “Gramma who loves technology and has a lot to say.” She blogs about whatever catches her interest: food, books, family and more. For, she writes about the issues facing the elderly and her experiences caring for her husband, Charlie, who suffers from dementia.

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Marlis, my Mom is 97 and still sharp as a tack except when it comes to hearing aids... it's a constant battle because of daily user error for the past 10 years.

One major issue is that Mom refuses to have her ears cleaned of wax, she will go to the doctor but as soon as that hot water touches her ears that's the end of the wax cleaning, so it doesn't get done. Forget ear drops for wax, she doesn't like how it feels in her ears.... [sigh].

Second major issue is that she doesn't clean the hearing aid daily, as one flake of skin will jam the hearing aid. Third major issue, she is afraid to place the ear piece all the way into her ear, afraid it might hurt.

So now she blames the ear doctor, saying the lady doesn't know what she is doing and also blames the hearing aid. And Dad will see this hearing aid or that hearing aid advertisement and wants Mom to try it.... NOOOOO, I am not giving up more work days when Mom has two perfectly good hearing aids :P

Are we having fun yet?
Oh Marlis - my 84 year old husband is not mentally challenged, but he is one stubborn old German/Irish !! Many years ago I pleaded and pleaded for him to get his hearing tested. His take was that the problem was not his, but mine, that is, I 'mumbled', or I 'did not speak loud enough for him' ! What a blast.........I mean, nothing was his problem it was all mine. After several years of pleading, and finally threatening to leave him, did he decide to get tested. His hearing was very bad in both ears. We too went to the VA, and John was given the best hearing aids they had, plus batteries, plus a phone for the hearing impaired. It was wonderful then to have him hearing again, but it took several more years to get him to wear them each and every day. In fact, he still will cheat, and not wear them when he thinks I won't care. Won't care? Wow - he is making his problems my problems. What to do??? Maybe threatening will work again, d'ya think ????
My husband loses his also. So... when he agrees to wear them, he sticks them in his ears with double-sided tape.
When we go out with little chunks of tape haging out of his hair.
It's a real conversation piece. But, of course, he can't hear the conversation. All he hears is " "Battery, Battery," so he pulls out the aids - we call them 'ear plugs', and tape. The cat finds them and brings them back to his bedside table.