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.