My 86 year-old mother refuses to accept that she needs hearing aids.

Started by

Her recent hearing evaluation showed moderate to severe hearing loss in both ears. The doctor told her that it is the type of hearing loss that hearing aids will help. My mother refuses to discuss hearing aids, won't even attend a free session at the doctor's office to see and discuss the various options. I told her that I would not be screaming into the phone any longer and that I will repeat what I say every time she asks, but that I will not be raising my voice to a shouting level any longer. I just hung up the phone with her a few minutes ago because she said "if you're not going to talk louder then just hang up". This is the tip of the iceberg and I am so frustrated that I have hit burnout on this issue. Let her talk to my brother, the golden boy.


My mother needs hearing aids, also. She won't get them. She says she can hear just fine if people look right at her and don't mumble. She doesn't even realize people are talking to her.

It is exhausting having to repeat things over and over. Between the hearing, her not processing info and not remembering, I just feel like not conversing with her at all.
Your mother has dementia, right? Is she still living at her home?

Indeed, let her talk to the Golden Boy.

My husband wore hearing aids before he developed dementia, and continued to do so (with reminders sometimes) throughout the dementia journey. But I honestly don't think he could have learned to use them after the dementia set in. We were just lucky it was already a well-established habit.

Perhaps others can talk about their experiences with starting aids after dementia.

It must be very frustrating to have to shout to be heard. Could mother get some kind of amplification for her phone?
Thank you for the comments. My mother doesn't have dementia, so far. Or, at least it has never been diagnosed. Her cardiologist told me that she is capable of making her own decisions, even if they are what I consider terrible. My mother has macular degeneration and can't see well enough to use a phone with options. I've suggested getting a new phone with amplification, but she "doesn't need that". I think I'll just get one for her and set the volume myself. Thank you for the idea. Sometimes a solution can seem so simple, yet when I'm inside the vortex I don't think of the obvious.
My mother in law sounds much like your mother. It’s very frustrating to try to have any conversation with her. Often, she sits and smiles blankly having no idea of the conversation going on around her. She acknowledges her hearing loss but refuses hearing aids. I guess it’s a vanity thing. I have no good advice, just can share in the annoyance part of it
Took us about a solid year to talk my Mom into hearing aids. She was worried about others seeing them . Frankly it was her vanity talking not her logic and common sense . If it comes up again call her on it
Guilt, I live my life twice every day. Hubby is constantly saying “Huh?” I’m not sure if it’s an automatic response to give him time to formulate and answer or if he truly doesn’t hear. When it’s been particularly difficult for me to communicate with him that day, I’ll finally yell so loud I make the poor dog bark.

They make such wonderful hearing aids now. No more of those clunky ones with the transistors in the pocket. I hope you find a way to get your mom to understand.
Thanks again for your comments. I have decided not to mention hearing aids again with my mother. She contradicts me on every single thing I say, so I don't expect she'll get hearing aids simply because I suggested it would be a good idea. Her doctor thinks it's her fear of losing independence. ??? It seems the opposite to me - she would be more independent if she could hear. There is no rational discussion. I need to drop the subject and move on.
I'm really sorry for your situation. In mine, it's ,y 66 yo hubby who needs and refuses hearing aids. It took me10 years to convince him to just have a simple hearing check. I could STRANGLE the man who did his test, said "Oh, I've seen worse" which to DH means he's not 'that bad'.

I just want to weep---he misses EVERYTHING!!! Every single sentence I say to him is followed by "what?". EVERY. SINGLE. DAMN. SENTENCE.

He has so many friends and acquaintances with aids, I do NOT see why he will not get them. He says it will make him look old. Well, for some reason, as his hearing has slowly gone, he'll sit looking like he's in a fog, he looks like he has dementia. His mouth hangs slightly open and usually, when in company, he lies on the sofa or floor and goes to sleep. Can't hear the conversations so he checks out.
guiltandanger, when my Dad's mother refused to wear hearing aids, my Dad had the whole family start to talk softly or whisper. Eventually that worked :)

When I realized a few of the ladies at mom's nursing home obviously aren't demented yet will not wear hearing aids, I was and still am stunned. Yes, theft goes on there and confusion, but to make other people have to holler at you is just ridiculous. I actually now avoid two of the ladies there who obviously want to talk just so I don't have to scream back at them. If you can afford to fix a problem that makes it possible to keep contact with the everyday world and you enjoy conversing, why in the world not??

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