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.

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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!!
Helpful Answer (6)

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.
Helpful Answer (4)

As a Hearing Aid Specialist, I would say this... Mom, we love you. We want to be able to tell you and show you how much we love you. Right now, we can't. If you wear your hearing aids, it makes us feel like you want to talk to us and interact with us. Wear the hearing aids to show us that you love us.
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Well, on the "elder" side, as a some times hearing aid wearer, there are some real factors that make the aids a pain to deal with. One is they don't actually give you normal hearing, another is you can't get them wet, and another is if they are not adjusted right they will give you one hell of a headache. Make sure to ask what is dislkied about the hearing aid and see if it can be addressed. There are some things you can wear around the neck with one earbud plugged in that may also work OK and are less expensive. There IS a trick to talking loud but not sounding angry; I think use the breath techinuqe like a singer and remember to smile at the same time you are almost-shouting :-) There are also some etiquette things to be aware of if your loved one is hearing impaired; you do have to make sure your lips are visible to enable conscious or sub-conscious lip reading, and resist the temptation to say "oh never mind" instead of repeating louder or clearer - that just makes people feel either paranoid, devalued, or both. Take steps to reduce background noise too, and its not wrong to resort to hand writing or texting if you can't, and the person can read it instead! It is also OK to touch a shoulder to get attention rather than yelling...granted there are times "selective hearing" can be an issue but remember some of us should have buttons that say, "I'm not ignoring you, I really AM deaf!"
Helpful Answer (4)

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!
Helpful Answer (3)

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...

Helpful Answer (3)

My husband (now 85, dementia) was really bummed years ago when he found out he needed hearing aids. "No one else in my family has ever had to wear hearing aids," he complained. "That is because no one else in your family lived this long. You are a first. Congratulations!" was my reply, and that did seem to give him a little different perspective.

What I really dislike about it when he forgets to put them in is that I have to raise my voice, and that tends to make even the most simple statement or answer sound angry. I don't want to sound angry (unless I really am, which isn't very often.) I no longer repeat myself or raise my voice. If he wants a conversation he puts in his aids. He does this willingly. His problem is forgetting and he responds to reminders. I don't know how I'd handle other reasons, like willful resistance or poor fit (unless I knew that was a problem), or vanity, etc. I just know it makes a huge difference in being able to carry on normal conversation. In a household were dementia resides, any kind of "normal" is very welcome!
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That's frustrating - esepcially when you know they are not hurting or whistling or doing anything bad to her! Maybe call them something else - "special earrings" or something even sillier, and link putting them in to some other routine she has to do daily. She's obviously not remembering or putting 2 + 2 together that hearing aids improve her life, and possibly has negative associations with the words "hearing aid" and/or does not think she should need them (they're for OLD PEOPLE, you know...:-)
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CrystalBtrfly, wow you truly mirrored 100% of the interplay between myself and my mother! To be PERFECTLY honest with you - I had to look twice to make sure this wasn't one of my postings!!

Please don't take offense when I ask this - but does your mother have very mild dementia (you had mentioned forgetfulness). My mother is now in the moderate stage of dementia but when it was mild, it was just forgetfulness here and there. The reason I ask is that I have noticed with the dementia that there is NO TELLING HER that she is wrong. My mother is always right. Even if I prove the sky is blue, she just gets angry. The reason I am bringing this up (hope I haven't offended you any) is that if there is any possibility of dementia, this might account for her absolute stubborness when faced with the truth.

Unfortunately, I have given up with my mother and her hearing aids. It's very sad that I have given up but I have. I don't talk to her as much as before because I am sick to death of having to repeat the same sentence/s over and over again. If she doesn't hear something I say to one of the kids and she asks me what I just said, I will either say something really quickly to her like "Oh, I just said it's sunny outside"( so I don't have to repeat the whole 4 minute conversation again), or just ignore her question and talk about something else. I have picked the lesser of the two evils. It is her continuous choice of hers to not put the hearing aid in, to the detriment of not only herself but the inconvenience to her family as well. It is MY choice to accept her choice to not use the hearing aid and it is my choice to be inconvenienced as little as possible 0 repeating every conversation, having to shout, having to look at her (so she can hear) when I am talking to someone else is not fair to me anymore.

Not the ideal solution (ideally she'd wear the damn thing), but again..lesser of two evils.
Helpful Answer (3)

Karen: I hear (pun intended) you! I, too, have gotten to the point that if Mom is NOT wearing her hearing aids I will not repeat, speak louder, nor engage in conversation with her. It does break my heart, as well, but we are human and can take only so much. I think it is disrespectful to the speaker to have to repeat, repeat, repeat (yes once again being punny) simply because of ego, pride, or the fear of "getting old" (or morelike the denial of it).
I use my bluetooth a lot and the other day I realized I can't hear people that are just a few feet away from me because I am used to having a person "in my ear". I know my Mom does fine on the telephone and people a foot away from her but not more than 5 feet.
So maybe, because of my habit of having a person in my ear with my bluetooth I should have my hearing checked. Or maybe I am just used to hearing one way and not another.
I have one professor who has a very soft voice and I sit in the front row and I can hear her because I am interested in what she is saying. That influences someone as well.
I do accept that memory loss has an affect in repeating but I think that we know our mothers well enough to know when it is a game they are playing and something they cannot control.
Also I was going hoarse speaking loudly to my Mom and my Dad told me to stop talking to her. That sounded harsh at the time but he saved my voice many times. God bless him: RIP
I am not trying to be mean but this afternoon/evening repeating and speaking loudly just wasn't something I was patient with today. Repeating makes me aggravated and speaking loudly gives me a headache.
So I will bid you a fine night. Sleep well. Rest your voices! Peg
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