Getting husband to an audiologist; any ideas of how to broach this with love and concern and not get angry?

Started by

I've posted before about my DH and his untreated hearing loss. We just returned from a weeklong trip to the PNW where we have 4 grandkids. My son and his wife were absolutely shocked to see how bad hubby's hearing loss it. He couldn't hear any conversation--and I get that--a house that is NEVER quiet, a dog that barks nonstop and kids screaming all day--but he could sleep on the sofa without any problem through all the noise. Both son and DIL were angry AT ME for not pressing him to get his hearing checked. (As you may recall, if you've followed this) he says that he HAD his hearing checked 30 years ago and they couldn't help him. Refuses to go again. Well--even though I stood right in front of him, said "Can you hear me?" and he responded that he could, I reminded him to get some coats of his out of the closet. We come home, unpack and yep, no coats. Somehow this is my fault b/c I didn't remind him. I have already made an audiologist's appt. One month from today. I haven't told him--b/c I KNOW he is going to kick up a stink and make me the bad guy. He got yet another speeding ticket, which if he had STOPPED when the cop first went lights and sirens, probably wouldn't have been a problem, but he was oblivious and couldn't hear and actually went across state lines and that made the cop livid--so the ticket was really bad. He's on "probation" again for having so many tickets. Pretty soon he'll lose his driver's license, and if that happens--I don't know-- He misses SO MUCH!! He's become even more depressed and withdrawn. He slept much of this trip--due to a lingering cold and also just b/c he is always so sad. My DIL is a dr and VERY tough--ice cold, but kind--she really got after him about how lack of hearing can lead to early onset dementia, etc., and as much as he adores this woman, he was kind of angry (at me) for what he thought was an all out attack on him. (I hadn't said anything to my DIL). I find myself absolutely shouting at him, which has transferred over to my "regular" life where I have been told more than once I am talking VERY loudly. Embarrassing to the max. My DIL said she loves us to visit, but that I talk way too much. I was so ashamed, as I am so used to repeating myself over and over so my DH can hear me. Kind of just ranting. I did make the drs apt. I am going to tell him. My best guess is that he will not go and will be furious with me. Any ideas of how to broach this with love and concern and not get angry? My DIL "yelling" at me yesterday to please STOP TALKING just put me over the edge. I had to go lock myself in the guestroom and have a huge cry. I was shut down completely the rest of the day. Barely spoke, DIL did "apologize" but in a way that meant, "I'm sorry you got hurt, but I meant what I said". (She really intimidates me). Glad to come home and sad to be dealing with this same stupid problem I posted about 3 years ago.


Midkid, you have a real hard situation on your hands here.

Midkid, DIL should have more compassion for you, as a Dr how many of her patients do not follow her orders and advise. You should ask her how she deals with non compliant patients that think she has no way to help them, she's so damn smart. Sorry, yelling at someone who obviously is in desperate need of more conversation is not helpful in the least.

Maybe DH would read about the advances in technology over the last 30 years, it is astounding, ask Drs office if they have resources or ideas about the advances.

It is so difficult to have our DH be resistant to care and be angry but, the family getting angry is like kicking the dog cuz you got a flat tire. Maybe you can explain to your son that a PHD doesn't give you all the right to be hurtful, nor the understanding of your day to day life.

We love you and are so sorry you got used as a scratching post.
Midkid, if the audiologist tells him he is deaf and there is nothing that can be done, what will you do? I think that you have to face the fact that he has no intention of dealing with his hearing problems and start coping as someone with a deaf husband instead of trying to over compensate for him. Tell him something once (although I'm not sure I would even bother with that), then write it down or communicate in another way... or maybe you should just text him. Loud talking is a habit that is very hard to break - I know I do it. And I know my sister tends to prattle on because nobody else listens to her except me, so if that is part of your problem then maybe you need to get out among other people more often.
Thanks all--

IF the audiologist tells us that there truly is nothing that can be done to help my DH's hearing loss, I will accept that and learn to live with it, either he will have to learn some kind of sign language or we will have to communicate by writing. It's the fact he went in to an ENT 30+ years ago, was told he had nerve damage and he'd never recover hearing in his right ear and has NEVER broached the subject again with any dr in that period of time that makes me sad/angry. HIs right ear is almost 100% gone and the left is about 60-75% gone. These are "guesses" on my part--- He's missing SO MUCH!! Our sweet grands with their high pitched little voices talking and singing and being themselves--he has to watch all TV with the CC on, he simply cannot hear what is being said. He's missed flights b/c he doesn't hear the announcement to board. He misses cops following him (he's a speed demon) and he misses all sirens, road noise, etc. Misses a lot of what is said on jobsites--and that's becoming problematic---

I was at the airport last night (it was NOT busy, nor noisy) he was wandering about, looking for me, and I was waving and semi-shouting to him that I was "over here" and he looked right past me and could not hear me at all. Looking at him wandering like that--kind of a clueless look on his face, suddenly I felt absolutely heartbroken, he looked so old and depressed. He's 66, that is NOT old.

I will pick my moment to tell him he has this ENT/audiology appt. My best guess is he will be livid that I am being intrusive.

And yes, the "kids" had no right to harangue ME about dad's health--good grief, the man is an engineer and is quite brilliant--but when you cannot hear, you tend to look lost and well, kind of rude as people talk to you and you don't even respond.

And yes, DIL could be a lot more compassionate, but she is a very cold person. I love her and she is good to my son. She's just a ice queen. She does not suffer fools and believes in telling the truth--no matter the cost. It's a sad joke on our family that it hasn't been a real visit with my son's family until they have made me cry.

Her patients are 100% cooperative: she's an anesthesiologist.
Midlid at least you have not lost your sense of humor!
DIL has obviously not met me. "I am not having IT done unless you put me out." I would not ever consider putting you out you are too big risk. "Well Dr X said he would' "I am head of anesthesiology and I am not going to do it and Dr X is not here today" "OK then i am going home right now" and I did.
I too have a DH who is deaf ( and so am I) he got his hearing tested and brought hearing aides at great expense and then traded them in for another pair at even more expense. Now of course he won't wear them, even forgot to take them to his last audiologist's appt.
I have to yell at him then he replies that i should put MY hearing aids in as if that would make him able to hear him better.
Getting deaf people to help themselves is very much a loosing battle.
Try making a letterhead for the audiologist and write.
Dear Mr DH,
An appoinment has been made for on 00.00.2018 at 10.00am Please arrive ten minutes early and bring your insurance card and co-payment plus identification and a list of current medications.
Failure to keep this appoinment will result in a cage of $00'
Nurse JKE RN for Dr X.
You can actually mail it so he has to open it himself. You might want to hide somewhere while he opens it, but he may get the message and go.
Or you can go to Amazon and but one of those devices they sell for about $50 and see if he will try that.
Things have moved on a lot in 30 years.
So not to minimize your struggle but, I feel like I should share this story. For 10+ years I was saying to DH, what, huh, repeat that, you mumble, speak up, you need to get your hearing tested, DH would respond, you don't listen, I don't mumble, what is it a habit to say what, huh, repeat that. We had some pretty stressful times because of it, so he comes in my office and said he had scheduled a hearing test, for both of us. Okay, I'm a firm believer in having base lines on our health. Off we go and get our hearing checked, yep he has a huge range that he can not hear, so on the way home I asked him if he was okay, he was quite surly and quiet. He says, no I'm not, I knew I would be saying see I told you it was you, of course I crack up because he is so mad that he couldn't harangue me. We had a tense minute, then he laughed. The 1st time he heard a cricket in years he was like a child in the awe of hearing his favorite sound. That was beautiful to witness. I pray for you they can at least help with the one ear that doesnt have nerve damage.
I have been walking on eggshells about talking to DH about the Appt I made for him to see an audiologist (and an ENT).Praying pretty hard for it too---

A couple of days ago, DH had to go by his mother's to fix her new hearing aids. She is almost 100% deaf and has been for many years. Has had minimal success with several types of aids, but she's really, really "dotty" and can't follow a conversation w or w/o hearing aids..anyway, DH said he walked into her house, shouting for her, and finally gave up and sat down at the table to take a look at her new Bluetooth compatible aids. She walked in about 10 minutes later and was kind of shocked to see DH, she hadn't heard him calling her, hadn't heard him walking around....anyway, I guess it was sort of a wake up call to DH. He told me about the visit and how hard it is to get her to understand things--and I commented that deaf people struggle with not "getting" the whole picture and they can become very insulated to the world in general. How dementia is higher among the hard of hearing..I couldn't quote the exact source, but he didn't ask me to....

I plunged in and told him I had pre-emptively made him an apt on the 28th of March with the clinic group he is already a patient with. He agreed to go. No fuss, no fight, no nothing. I told him that if there was absolutely nothing that could be done to help his hearing I'd never bring it up again. (I fully expected a LOT of pushback--and I got none.)

So---just gonna hold my breath and hope he can make this apt a priority. He travels a great deal, but if he knows way in advance about drs visits, he can make travel plans around them.

Fingers crossed--they will be able to help him. I KNOW hearing aids are expensive, but hey, I didn't want to go to France with a deaf man this year anyway!!

And, he actually confessed to me that the ear with the nerve damage has actually gotten better over the years (!) and now his hearing is equally as bad in each ear. This gave me hope as it's possible that the original dx (over 30 yrs ago) was that he would lose 100% of the hearing in that ear.

Positive thoughts our way would be appreciated!!! I know this may be life altering for him....he didn't shut me down as he usually does---that's HUGE!!

Well done midst. I will keep my fingers crossed for you (can't include the toes it would hurt the bunions)
Hubby will probably go to the appointment and buy the hearing aides and they will improve his hearing BUT WILL HE USE THEM? My hubby's are collecting dust. When he can't hear me he tells me to put mine in as if that would help. i do wear mine most of the time by the way
Mid, he didn't shut you down because he suffered through the whole family visit with you! I am just beginning year 2 of hearing aids (which I only use some of the time - don't ask!). I had visited an audiologist a year before this and felt it was the sales pitch of the century and didn't move on getting help. Fast Forward I spoke with my internist and she suggested I go to an ENT to verify there wasn't a medical issue . I did that AND there was an audiologist in the same location and I felt more comfortable with that arrangement.
I have to be honest, there are still times I can't hear --- they aren't perfect. Foreign accents lose me. TV shows with loud music for effect and I lose the conversation. If I am in the back of a car and the conversation is from the front, I am lost. For a woman, hearing aids can easily be hidden, but for a man--- well their short hair shows it and if he is still working, he doesn't want to 'look like an old man'. Still, if he gives them a fair chance, he will be happy to be part of the conversation!
Let's hope all of the advances in this area will give him the joy of sound once again.  If not, get a white board and marker . . .  At least he isn't fighting this time.
Geewiz, we have friends that are clueless that my hubby wears hearing aids, they are flesh color and are so small they just disappear behind his ear. My cousin just got a new set and he can adjust them with his phone.

Yahoo Midkid, that is great news that he is willing to see if new technology can help him, I bet he realized just how vulnerable a deaf person can be after surprising mom.

May God lead the Drs and give you and hubby your hearts desires, hearing.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support