cwillie Asked June 2015

Can shouting cause stress?


My mom's hearing aides are no longer working properly; they have a tendency to shut off for no reason and of course since she is usually lying down they will squeal when they ARE actually on. When I took them in to be fixed a couple of years ago I was told they were much too old to be repaired (apparently 5 years is considered too old) As a result I find myself SHOUTING, constantly, and often repeatedly shouting the same thing over and over. Mom complains that I am yelling at her, but it's the only way she can hear me unless I am literally within 1 foot of her. I am finding that at the end of one of these shouting matches I feel just as stressed as if I were actually shouting in anger, the longer the "conversation" the more apt I am to feel this stress. Add in the fact that sometimes she just chooses to be uncommunicative, so I'm not sure if she doesn't hear me or she is ignoring me. Any advice on how to deal with this?



JessieBelle Jun 2015
cwillie, I am the same way. When I have to shout things three times, it makes me feel like I'm mad. I know my blood pressure and stress goes up. I feel exactly the way you describe.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to JessieBelle

cwillie Jun 2015
Oh MaggieMarshall if only she could lip read, but she has advanced macular degeneration and can't see either. I'm starting to wonder if I'm shouting because she can't hear or if I'm really angry deep in my psyche and heading toward burnout. Some days I just want to hide in a cave and not come out to deal with it.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to cwillie

First, I'd buy an amplifier and see if this $50 expenditure might somewhat relieve the problem. You might have to try several different kinds, but you can always return them easy enough.

Next, take care to speak to her while looking right at her. This may help her do some lip-reading.

I have some experience with this because Tom is almost deaf as a rock and doesn't wear a hearing aid. If I forget NOT to talk to him as I'm walking away or turned away, or until I have his attention, I might have to repeat something three times before he hears me. By the third time, I'm sure I sound like Beulah Witch and probably look like her, too. I get it.

Poor seniors. They need all the warm fuzzies we have to spare. Sometimes we just don't have any at all...
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to MaggieMarshall

xxxxxxxx Jun 2015
Most people have some hearing at some level. Try talking to her at different pitches to see if there is one she can hear without yelling at her. Also try to make sure you have her attention first, before you begin speaking. I've noticed sometimes Mom can hear, she just can't comprehend what I'm trying to say, and therefore all the yelling in the world won't help. Enunciation helps in that instance. Here in Texas we don't have accents, LOL, but we do tawk a liddle different. So, I try to make sure that I speak distinctly, ha ha.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to xxxxxxxx

JessieBelle Jun 2015
I find it helps to use short words and short sentences. For example, she hears "Going to the store" better than she hears "I'm going grocery shopping. Need anything?" If she hears the word store, she knows it's time to let me know if she wants something. Strong words and few syllables save a lot of repeating.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to JessieBelle

lsmiami Jun 2015
Shouting causes stress and stress causes shouting.
I used to sit on the arm of dad's recliner, and talk to him from close proximity for anything that was important or detailed.
Simple words - short sentences - jokes get lost - hand gestures to support (thumbs up with an inquisitive look) - pray for patience, this is taxing on the nerves.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to lsmiami

OldSailor Nov 6, 2017
(insert joke here)
An elderly gentleman finally decided to have his hearing checked and get a set of aids. His hearing improved tremendously.
Aa few weeks later he ran into the audiologist who ask how his hearing was.
He replied that he can now hear nearly everything around himself just fine.
The audiologist replied that his family must be very happy.
He then said he hasn't told them about the news aids but he has changed his will three time since getting them
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to OldSailor

freqflyer Jun 2015
cwillie, also the same thing with my Mom with the macular degeneration, if only I could write down what I am saying life would be soooo much easier.

I found with my Mom I have to change around the words the next time I "repeat" something.... or change the words themselves. Like I was asking my Mom if she wanted me to get her Jello at the grocery store.... pillow?.... no, Jello.... yellow?.... then I tried "strawberry jello" and she understood that. Sadly, I am aging myself can't think that quickly on my feet when it comes to everything I try to say to Mom :(
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to freqflyer

jeannegibbs Jun 2015
cwillie, I have no solutions for you, but I can answer your question. Yes! Shouting can cause stress. If you have to raise your voice all the time you not only sound angry but if you do it a lot you start to feel angry. Fortunately for me my husband's hearing aids worked so I determined that I would not shout. I'd point to his ears, and if necessary help him put in the aids. I explained to him often, "I am not mad at you at all and when I shout it makes me sound like I am mad."

I have had some problems with dry eyes and lots of watering of the eyes. And although they were NOT emotional tears, if you go around with tears half the day, let me tell you, you do begin to feel sad.

So, cwillie, my guess would be this is not some deep-down hidden anger. There is frustration there for sure, but needed to shout does bring on the feeling that go with shouting, just as having tears brings on the feelings that go with tears.

I recently saw a Teepa Snow video where she talks about hearing loss. Sometimes the problem is not with hearing but with processing what is heard, especially if it was a change in topics or spoken rapidly or a complex idea. The person looks confused and says, "what??" and we assume they didn't hear and we say it again more loudly. (And they perhaps say, "What are you shouting for!?" Sigh. I don't know if this applies to anyone here but it is a very interesting insight. I'm going to try to notice if this might apply to my mother.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to jeannegibbs

vstefans Jul 2015
Suggestions from a been there done that point of view:

1. Smile while you are talking real loud. Then you don't feel angry and yrou facial expression does not convery anger.
2. Laugh about having to yell and shout and what the neighbors must think.
3. Get a little dry erase board and write some stuff instead.
4. Use charades and gestures.
5. **Repeat only the parts they did not get, not the whole phrase**. When I repeat to someone what it sounded like, we often get a laugh and then they usually say just the word I got wrong. Remember louder is not always clearer, sometimes clearer (slower, by itself, but without too much exaggeration of mouth movements) is clearer.
6. Relaize that trying to understand spoken words when you have bad hearing is very, very hard work and very, very tiring cognitively. Your brain is trying to juggle context, conscious or subconscious lip reading (make sure they can see your lips) and the actual sounds that do get through.
7. Don't EVER refuse to repeat or try again. Ue a different word, spell it, write it, whatever. You cannot imagine how worthless, demeaned, and paranoid it makes you to hear, "oh never mind" - because the assumption seems to be then that because you can't hear you don't matter or are too stupid to understand or act on the information anyways, so not worth it.
8. Encourage people to tell others they are hard of hearing - there should be no shame in that - and try to break the habit of assuming everyone else is mumbling.
9. Get a second audiological opinion. Hearing aids DO help sensorineural loss, I do not even know where that myth comes from, but then I've only been a user in the past 10 years or so with digital devices. Just amplifying everything will NOT help, but a little tech may go a long way to get some of those missing high frequencies delivered to the brain. Whistling means something is wrong and there is feedback between mic and receiver/transmitter - I have been told I may not be able to contiue open fit indefinitely as mine gets worse, and there are several other causes of feedback, but they can try a reciever-in-canal or one with a good ventilation hole instead. Intolerance of an aid may not just be psychological - I had a guy consider me "unmotivated" for not accepting a hearing aid that gave me a migraine in under a minute and could not be used with a stethoscope. Troubleshoot and think outside the box - find a new audiologist if yours won't.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to vstefans