Mom has a hearing loss of 47%, how do I get her to use her hearing aid when she refuses?

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My wonderful but stubborn 78 year old mother has always had hearing problems, but never wanted to wear a hearing aid. Her hearing has gotten worse now and every single conversation is two conversations now. Me saying something. Her saying "pardon, I didn't hear you" and me repeating it. This goes on all day long. She does it with my children and with other people. Why? Because she can't hear them.


About 3 years ago she relented and bought two hearing aids. She then took back the one for "the bad ear" (both ears are bad really!) and kept the one for "the good ear" which she then lost and found a few times. She never wore the hearing aid at all except in the movie theater. Her hearing has been noticeably worse over the past few months and I have encouraged, reasoned, begged, pleaded, cajoled, asked her to wear it because she can't hear. Her responses range from "if people would just look at me when they talk to me I can hear them." to "I can hear fine - it's when people start mumbling I can't hear."


Okay people, I know she is in denial. So anyway we went back to the hearing aid center (actually twice in the past month) and the guy there tried his very best to convince her that she has a problem. He tested her hearing. He even compared it to ours so she could tell the difference. He played a sound track on the computer and she saw us raise our hands earlier than her. Still not convinced, he put her hearing aid in and she acknowledged that she could hear the sound earlier. He did everything he possibly could to get her to admit she has a problem. She varied from "there are people in my family with hearing loss when I was growing up" to the absurd, "you are all ganging up on me."


I am sick and tired of banging my head up against her brick wall. Why won't she admit she has a problem and do something about it? Me and my 2 adult daughters, and the guy at the hearing aid center, have all told her repeatedly that this is putting a strain on our relationship with her and to "please just wear the damn thing" but she refuses to.


I honestly don't think that she realizes how many times she says "pardon, what did you say?" etc..,
And God forbid when I might say "Mom, put your hearing aid in" after she says that because she just gets VERY angry and defensive.


Has anyone gone through this?
And what do I say next time she says "Pardon?" because honest to God, she says it at least 95 percent of the time and I am at wit's end.

Answers 1 to 10 of 84
I'm having the same problem. My mom says "Huh?" before I even finish each sentence. To make matters worse, she has alzheimer's and doesn't remember what was even said 5 minutes later. So we end up having the same interaction probably 10 times a day. By the time my husband gets home from work, I'm ready to scream! If she would wear the hearing aids, at least I would only have to repeat things half the time!
lily04 - thanks so much for responding. I didn't think anyone was going to!

So, what is it with older people and (NOT) wearing hearing aids? I wonder if it's a dementia thing or if it's an age thing.

Do you or anyone else have any strategies for trying to cope with this?

I try to make a point of talking louder, but it doesn't really help. I think she says "huh?" just out of habit now. I gave up trying to get her to wear the hearing aids because it was just another fight, and at this point I have to choose my battles. She doesn't want to wear her teeth lately either. Part of it may be that she doesn't want me telling her what to do. Part denial. Either way, I feel your frustration. I'll keep watching this thread...hopefully someone will have some suggestions- I'm open!!
I think the reason that most people don't wear hear aids, use a walker orask for assistance is PRIDE. Tell mom that if it is indeed pride that's keeping her from using her hear aids, that you're going to let her keep her pride but no longer are you going to repeat yourself. She has her pride that she thinks is so wonderful, and you get to keep your sanity. I'll bet she sets aside the pride and puts that stupid hear aid in when she sees that's she's missing out on what's going on. What will it hurt to try it? Nothing else has worked so far right? Good luck.
I had a similar problem with my Step Dad. With him, he watched TV from about 6AM until 9PM. Every single morning - probably about six times each morning he woke me up and every single time he said he was sorry. He refused to get a hearing aid because that would signify his 'being old'.

Finally, I was able to get him to try TV Ears (a great product). Still, that didn't work except when I was awake and he knew I'd say something about his lowering the Ears volume. (He'd wear the Ears, but still use the common volume control.) The only thing that finally worked was my disconnecting the cable TV at the 'out of house' location when I went to bed at night. All he knew was the TV didn't work until I got up. I didn't tell him what I did, but I did tell him if he used the TV Ears volume I'd make sure the TV was available, but if he continued to treat Mom and I with such disrespect the TV would be off forever. Not because of his concern for me or Mom with respect to awakening us, but because he wanted the TV on did he finally comply. (After the typical 'testing' period.)

Perhaps a 'comply and reward' situation would work for you. Perhaps you could get a timer and keep it where you generally converse. Politely explain that you simply become too distraught emotionally at knowing she is missing out on so much wonderful conversation because of her need to have things repeated all the time... and surely you would be less distraught emotionally, as well. From then on you will be happy to repeat your words, but only after two minutes have gone bye. Every time she asks you to repeat - turn on the timer. BE CONSISTENT.

I clearly understand that might well sound - and surely could be properly considered a very hard core approach. But, when someone refuses to be polite on their own, sometimes they need a little schooling to re-learn kindness. (Remember - in some ways you are training a person with a mind that in some respects is that of a child.) Who knows but with such a hard core approach - or something similar - you will have encouraged the wearing of a hearing aid as a wonderful tool for her enjoyment in life... and your peace of mind will have once again become the routine.

Good luck...

V
Top Answer
V- my mother (91) has had hearing loss for several years but blames it on wax in her ear that the STUPID doctor NEVER gets out when she goes to him for that!! (The doctor also makes her take worthless medication, submit to blood work she doesn't need and for some odd reason keeps referring to the congestive heart failure that she doesn't have!).

Like you, I have to say everything two or three times. I have tried speaking louder but that just doesn't seem to do the trick. And my mother doesn't say "Pardon me". She screws up her face, opens her mouth, sticks out her tongue and brays out "HAH?" every single time.

HOWEVER, she can hear my husband just fine. He has a deeper voice, I have a higher voice. I guess her tweeter speaker is broken and she can only hear the woofer part. Sometimes it annoys the crap out of me. For instance, every day at around the same time, I open her bedroom door and and announce "Dinner's ready". I get the screwed up face and the big donkey-like "HAH?". If I say it again she does the same thing. I can't understand how she doesn't know what I'm saying if I say it the same time every frikkin day!! Now I open the door and hold up a sign that says DINNER'S READY.

I don't know what will work for you. Maybe carry a pad with you and when she says Pardon Me, write it down for her. She may get tired of reading your notes and put in her hearing aid. Or pretend you can't hear her saying Pardon Me and just smile and drift into another conversation. She has to want to wear those hearing aids because obviously you can't make the decision for her. If she can't hear and you don't accomodate her by repeating everything, she may make the decision herself.

Good luck. I said GOOD LUCK!!
Dory
After years of not hearing, and my nagging her to get her hearing tested, my mother said she was not going to any other family gatherings because no one talked to her. I told her that she wouldn't be able to take part in conversations unless she got hearing aids. When tested, her hearing was really bad. Since then, she has admitted that she hears better now. In her case, a comment she once made about a cousin having two hearing aids kind of revealed that she equated hearing aids with being old, which she refuses to be. Her own claim was that she was afraid the aids would be uncomfortable.
Oh my goodness! Our mom can't hear loud thunder, literally. But she also blames it on where she is in the house, or the TV was too loud (and it always is!) She misses so much conversation when the family gets together for dinner and blames not hearing on us talking too softly and mumbling. My sister and I have tried everthing we can think of to get her to get her hearing checked. She just gets angry and even cries. We are being mean. She's 84 and it's not getting better! It's so wonderful to find this website where I find I'm not alone.
My Father went thru the "denial" stage with his hearing probably 15 years ago. What finally helped him actually wear his hearing aids was telling him we missed his humor and conversational dialogue because he wasn't able to follow anything being said in real time. I don't know if this will help your Mother and it does sound a bit Polly Annaish but we DID miss his humor and his input. I noticed something my brother did for a long time before my Dad started wearing his hearing aids. When Dad would ask him to repeat what he said he would of course talk louder but also his facial expression in doing this made him look angry. So, this is what my Dad saw, an anrgy son talking really loud to him when infact, most of the time my brother was not angry with him or angry that he had to repeat. I think the act of talking loud might inherently make the speaker look somewhat angry. Maybe your Mother is responding to this(?) I'm no expert but notice this when family members talk to her---of course they may be angry that they repeat and repeat and repeat. Well, just some thoughts and my heart goes out to you as losing your hearing is a very hard disability for the person losing it as well as the people around them. An erasable white board is a good tool.
Wow, read a lot of comments that sound familiar. My sister & I used to tell our Mom that we were going to get her hearing aids for Christmas/her birthday/any special occasion. She would just get angry... So we stopped teasing her & one day she told me that she had received a flyer for a seminar on hearing aids at a local hotel & asked if I wanted to join her. I said yes! We went & after made an appointment for an individual test. She ordered 2 hearing aids. We were lucky, the seminar was legitimate & the woman that tested her was not only had a PhD in audiology, but was an expert in dealing with my Mom! Since then she mostly wears her "ears" as she calls her aids (which are almost invisible), yet somehow she still watches TV at FULL volume, even when she's wearing her aids! I think a large part of her reluctance was not wanting to "be old" & hearing aids equalled old. But the small unobtrusive size really helped. Maybe if you could find a newer "hard to see" pair your Mom would be more likely to try wearing them. I found reasoning with my Mom went almost nowhere... Also found that the longer I had to speak loud (almost yelling) & repeating myself that I did feel irritated! I think speaking loud must trigger a hormone that is related to anger. Good luck.

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