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Hi, My mother has Dementia and is living with me. It has been a bit difficult for me to get adjusted to her changing needs. Yet we managed to do pretty okay. Recently she stopped responding when I ask her something. I thought its due to her memory loss. As per our neighbor's suggestion we took her to an audiologist at the hearing solutions and figured that she has hearing loss. They recommended using a hearing aid. Will it help her? Will her hearing be affected fully? How do we handle this?

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Hearing aids has made a huge difference for us. I think hearing loss should be ruled out first when making a diagnosis of dementia. My father faked it for years. We got the best ones we could, they are under warranty for a few years, which is important when your loved one leaves them in while showering or takes them out the wrong way. As part of the package, we have free checks/cleanings/batteries. Regular ear wax check is also important. And speaking directly and slowly to the person with dementia/hearing loss is important. I think our speech has accelerated as our technology has and no one tries for articulate anymore.
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JoAnn29, we regularly perform hearing tests on premees/newborns as it's actually a requirement for premature babies...in the same way we have ways of doing the test on persons with dementia issues. Please don't give out inaccurate info with little basis.
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If you do choose the route of hearing aides,.get digital ones. They can be "tuned" by your audiologist's computer as the person's hearing needs change.
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First let me say i live with my mom who has dementia and Alzheimer’s and who just got her first hearing aid two years ago. By then she had had dementia for perhaps 10 years, but very slow progression. I work alongside an audiologist so have seen or experienced the whole gamut of reactions. I always recommend getting the hearing aid for the elderly as it wakes up parts of their brain that possibly have been out of use for a long time, so some cognition usually returns once hearing returns. That being said, one has to care for an elderly person. They need to have someone's assistance every step of the way. If you are not prepared to help your spouse or parentor if there's no caregiver, it makes little sense. Hearing aides are delicate instrumentsand need to be looked after, just like he elderly. Also one has to communicate with the audiologist or technician. Formerly aids were turned to normal hearing immediately, which can reult in the impaired person being scared and nerves being jarred as they may have not heard certain sounds in a long time so they literally get on their nerves. New thought is to tune in gradually, turning up the area that most affects them first (tv ot individual conversation usually), going back every two weeks or so until things are normal. My mom hates the sound of traffic so we turn that down as much as possible and most patients are afraid of the sound of the air conditioning or central heating at first.re dealing with their objection that they can hear just fine, one has to take the dementia into consideration and simply do what's best for the client. If a child wasn't hearing and didn't know it, he may have the same objection, but which sane adult would listen. At this stage the elderly are like kids, we cant argue or listen to their completely illogical arguments, that would mean we have lost it as well!
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First let me say i live with my mom who has dementia and Alzheimer’s and who just got her first hearing aid two years ago. By then she had had dementia for perhaps 10 years, but very slow progression. I work alongside an audiologist so have seen or experienced the whole gamut of reactions. I always recommend getting the hearing aid for the elderly as it wakes up parts of their brain that possibly have been out of use for a long time, so some cognition usually returns once hearing returns. That being said, one has to care for an elderly person. They need to have someone's assistance every step of the way. If you are not prepared to help your spouse or parentor if there's no caregiver, it makes little sense. Hearing aides are delicate instrumentsand need to be looked after, just like he elderly. Also one has to communicate with the audiologist or technician. Formerly aids were turned to normal hearing immediately, which can reult in the impaired person being scared and nerves being jarred as they may have not heard certain sounds in a long time so they literally get on their nerves. New thought is to tune in gradually, turning up the area that most affects them first (tv ot individual conversation usually), going back every two weeks or so until things are normal. My mom hates the sound of traffic so we turn that down as much as possible and most patients are afraid of the sound of the air conditioning or central heating at first.re dealing with their objection that they can hear just fine, one has to take the dementia into consideration and simply do what's best for the client. If a child wasn't hearing and didn't know it, he may have the same objection, but which sane adult would listen. At this stage the elderly are like kids, we cant argue or listen to their completely illogical arguments, that would mean we have lost it as well!
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YES, about dealing with a toddler. Not saying there isn't hearing loss but givinga Dementia patient a hearing test cannot be accurate. My Mom can't follow directions. Her mind does not process fast enough. In a test, they ask if you can hear certain words and tones. The tones depend on how fast you can tell them you hear it or don't hear. If the patient can't process then the test is mute.
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I have temporarily moved in with my end of life dad, I'm here to do all the palliative stuff. He's not getting worse but getting better? Doctors are all baffled by him! He was in the Navy during WW2 and in the engine room, he blames this period of his life on his hearing loss but up until 20 years ago had excellent hearing (could always hear me whispering about him when I was a child!) I've had to be very firm with him about hearing tests etc and on November 10th he's to be fitted with aids for both ears, he's 91 next birthday, bowel, liver and lymph node cancer, incisional hernia and AAA I think he'll make it... I might not!
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My Ma got hearing aids shortly after being diagnosed with Dimentia. The audiologist was kind enough to give ma a "reminder pad" It is about 5 X 8 and laminated. The right side is red and the left side is blue which matches with the color of the hearing aid. My ma has differences in hearing so they are calibrated differently. Also kindly worded is a reminder to open the battery door when she takes them out before going to bed. I thought we were going to have an on-going struggle, however it only took 1 week to get her to learn her new routine. I am not going to lie she does at times forger to put them in when she gets up. The other thing you will need to keep an eye on is that she does not get them wet (ie shower or at the hairdresser). Is there someone with her that will replace the batteries and do the weekly/monthly cleaning and care to them? Ma's hearing aids have made a huge positive impact on he social well being. Good Luck
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The suggestions from skyslimit are spot on. Even with an elder whose hearing is normal it is important to have that person's attention face to face before you waste your breath telling or asking them something. I also have to slow down my usual rapid fire manner of speaking!
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When I read the subject "Dementia & hearing loss. Any advice?" I had to laugh. My immediate response was "Just repeat the same thing over and over in an increasingly loud voice!"

One of the most tiresome things about caring for my mother (which I only do for a few months each year) is having to say everything at high volume because of her hearing loss and having to repeat it all minutes later because of her cognitive/memory loss. My brother took her in for a hearing test a couple of years ago and she failed every aspect of it, but wasn't able to process that information or accept that she needed a hearing device. When I brought up the subject again the "conversation" went something like this:

- Mom, your hearing is not as good as it used to be. Why don't we look into getting you a hearing aid?
- I can hear you just fine.
- That's because I'm almost shouting.
- No, you're not.
(Lowering my voice to normal) - Now I'm speaking in a normal voice. Can you hear me?
- You are deliberately talking very quietly so I can't hear you!

What gets me about her reaction to so many of my suggestions is the perception on her part that I am trying to con her or mess with her mind. Really, Mom?

Like trying to reason with a toddler....
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My husband has worn some type of hearing device for 64 yrs, he is 68. He has born/nerve damage and has a hard time with digital aids. He does better with annilog but they aren't manufactured anymore. His ENT doctor found a digital that is close to analog. I was told that there is something that can be turned off in a digital that makes it close to an analog. My Mom is no longer being tested because of her Dementia. Since she can't process well, Doctor can't be sure if its a hearing problem or the Dementia. I wonder if its a hearing problem or an understanding problem. I find that elderly really can't handle putting in and taking out aids. Turning them up and down is a problem. I would look for alternatives. I wouldn't get the "bells and whistles". Just something that will help make things louder. There is something called TV ears, they are great. Someone here mentioned something that was only $500.
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My husband has dementia and now has a noticeable hearing loss. I refuse to spend the money on hearing aids even though he asks about getting them all the time. I have two reasons for not wasting the money. First, he won't learn how to use them properly and so will lose them because he doesn't know how to put them in, no matter how simple they are. Second, we joke about his Q-tip addiction. He has itchy ear canals are grabs cotton swabs all the time. I fear he will harm his ears by shoving an aid farther into his canal or damage the aid somehow. So far, when I explain it he agrees. Hopefully, he will stop asking one of these days. Good luck. It's not an easy situation.
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My 86 yr old mother, who's moving from moderate into severe dementia, has had hearing aids for 5 yrs. They greatly improved her quality of life. However, with her dementia getting worse, she sometimes forgets to change batteries, and a few times she stopped wearing them because "she didn't need them anymore." Anytime she has an issue, I take her to the audiologist for a checkup. Mom will listen to Dr's advice when she won't listen to me. However, as mentioned by Feltonjerome, the brain is processing things so much slower so a person may appear to have hearing loss when it's actually confusion or difficulty understanding. It really helps when I get my mom's attention before speaking to her, and then speak to her face to face as much as possible. After speaking, I try to give her a quiet minute so she can process my words, especially if I ask a question. If I remember to do this, it keeps our frustration level to a minimum. Alzheimer's Association has some great handouts that may help.
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My husband has had two sets of expensive hearing aids with all sorts of bells and whistles for crowd noises, tv,ect. He wore both about 3 days and said they were annoying. This was before he had dementia. I think it is an individual experience. It's worth a try. I'm now trying to cope with the hearing loss, dementia and alcohol. Fun times! Good thing he has a high verbal ability and still has a wit! We laugh a lot during the day. It relieves the tension. Don't know how long that will last.
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My dad got heading aids shortly after moving in. So he's had them about 8 months. It made a world of difference. I do find that it is sometimes difficult to determine if there is a problem with the hearing aids, with his ability to use them or with his ears (wax - he gets massive amounts). Because of this, we now have routine appointments at ENT; it has really helped me not become frustrated (at least regarding this issue).
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Depending on the extent of her hearing loss, she may or may not do better. The aids can raise the level of ambient noise, creating what might seem like a lot of noise to someone who has become used to more silence. And they're tremendously expensive.
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Research is showing those with hearing loss leads to dementia. Hearing aids will definitely help, but remember they are useful only for certain types of hearing loss. Bone loss will not be helped by hearing aids, but try to get rechargeable hearing aids (like I have) since changing batteries for folks with dementia is very difficult (VA gave my husband those and it is hard to change the batteries). Try writing what you want to say (if she can still read and understand words), as shouting will only increase your blood pressure and then your hearing will be affected.
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My 85 year old mother with Alzheimers recently got hearing aids for both ears. I immediately saw a difference and my mother really enjoyed being able to hear. However, I have more recently noticed that even though she can hear (hearing aids are functional) she is slow to respond. The problem seems to be more with her brain processing the sound that is coming in and not a problem with not being able to hear. She also cannot remember what the devices are that are in her ears. She finds them bothersome and is constantly taking them out. Trying to explain their purpose to her is useless. i would definitely have your mother's hearing check but do not waste money on expensive hearing aids. Instead, buy the basic devices without all of the hi-tech functions she won't use or recognize. Also, be mindful that as the dementia progresses
she may not be responsive, even with the hearing aids.
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My husband wore his hearing aids faithfully (with some reminding) and it really helped our communications. BUT he had worn them for years before he had dementia, so this was not something new for him to learn.

My mother is increasingly hard of hearing, but I cannot imagine her learning to use them now, at 95 and with dementia.

I hope that other members who have loved ones who got aids after having dementia will share their experiences.
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