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I have a grandmother that came overseas, being over 90 she has shown slight memory and cognitive decline along with significant hearing loss making it essential for her to wear a hearing aid.


However she has consistent problems with the manual adjustment of the device, making it problematic for communication. Does anyone have any advice on this issue ? Anything will help although I am looking to more clearly communicate or possibly swap the device, any advice in general relating to this would be very much appreciated.

We have a 90 YO friend who summers here and loves to go to all the summer theatre we have available. Most of the venues have some type of hearing assistance available to borrow, but a couple to not. We found a Pocket Talker on Amazon that a group of us ordered for him this past summer for one of those venues. It’s like a little transistor radio and a small set of headphones that attach. He loved them, said they were better than all the other ones we’d used at other venues. He also couldn’t believe how easy they were to adjust.  Something like that might be of help instead.
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Reply to EllensOnly
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Others have suggested many options to try. A good audiologist should be able to determine hearing level and what aids might work best. Certainly having dementia doesn't help. Ear cleaning is also to be considered. Our mother collects wax buildup IN the ear, never mind in the unit!

Our mother developed otosclerosis many years ago - I call it the Florence Henderson hearing problem, as she talked about this many years ago and helped me to understand the issue. The sad part for mom is that while this is a surgically correctable problem, she decided not to do it. Why? Doctors have to give you all information, including risks. When he told her they do one ear at a time because any issue could cause balance issues, she balked and did not do it (LOW risk, and if they do one and there's no issue, do the other!!!) Now her hearing is atrocious! She initially wore aids on both sides, eventually only one. Now with dementia she either forgets to replace the battery (I have instructed staff to do this every two weeks, per the provider, but they don't), OR she forgets to put it in. One time she'll ask what is this for, and state she doesn't wear them. The next she'll ask why I took it out (replacing battery!)

Given the inconsistency with use and need to communicate, I found and purchased a "Boogie Board". It is an LCD tablet that can be "written" on with a stylus (or any pointy non-pen object, including fingernail) and then cleared with the press of a button. When she cannot hear enough (or read lips for simple instruction), we use this. Funny that she cannot remember what she said from one minute to the next, but she figured this out quickly! She'll read it, respond to it and press the clear button! We don't have to use it all the time, but it does come in handy. The staff was VERY happy when I got this! There are many options online (I used Amazon, compare sizes and prices, as there are MANY available.)

FYI:
Otosclerosis is a condition that causes hearing loss. It happens when a small bone in your middle ear -- usually the one called the stapes -- gets stuck in place. Most of the time, this happens when bone tissue in your middle eargrows around the stapes in a way it shouldn't.
Your stapes bone has to vibrate for you to hear well. When it can't do that, sound can't travel from your middle ear to your inner ear. That makes it hard for you to hear.
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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Get her to her audiologist who can give her digital aides
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Reply to Llamalover47
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Lot's of good ideas and experience here already. I do think in order to select which direction might work best for GM a little more info would be helpful. My guess is a good audiologist or professional helping you with this would want more info too, at least I hope so. First does your GM have full time assistance, does she need to be the one adjusting and caring for any hearing adjunct or is there someone else who can always help with that? Does she seem bothered by fit, having something behind her ear, having her ear canal sealed? Has she ever had hearing aids and if she has might it be helpful to keep as many similarities as possible or is her displeasure with them the problem? There are so many types and variations of both hearing "aids" and "adjuncts" all of which can work well for people it seems worthwhile to me anyway to expand your horizons and consider all of them while narrowing down the personal needs of the patient. Does she care about appearance? Does she prefer a full headphone over her ear or an earbud type in her ear? Does she need 2 or is 1 better for her and of course, how much does she have available to invest financially? There are options all over the place for discounted units but also a big variance in the help/assistance you get with them so some of it depends on your comfort and ability/time as well. I have done a fair amount of research for my mom and can tell you that there is still a lot more I could do but we don't have the funds to go with an all out professional route so we may or may not be in a very different financial situation to consider. Good luck! I know how much difference mom being able to hear or not makes to us, never mind what she thinks is acceptable or not, lol or claims is acceptable to her (I know she struggles around others).
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Reply to Lymie61
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I agree with a lot of the other answers, but I also wonder if as in eyesight, some of the difficulty in understanding what other people say could be compounded by dementia in that it's not just actually hearing that is impaired, but the ability of the brain to interpret what is said so that it is understood. I am thinking that the dementia interferes with the brain interpretation of more than one of the senses. I am not a doctor, these are just my thoughts. I plan to discuss this with my Mom's doc on her next visit.

Thanks to everyone who participates in these forums, I not only learn a lot, but it is comforting to know there are others out there for support who are going through what I am.
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Reply to AnnieCL
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Oh...and don't forget...you might want to check into a captioned telephone for her home use. They are typically provided free through a government sponsored program as long as there is a documented need by a hearing specialist (like the folks at Costco who do the free test). Captel is the one we use at my home...and they have a version that works with standard phones, as well as one that is a bit easier if you have internet access. Of course in a power outage you're out of luck...but otherwise it works fairly well.
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Reply to robinr
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Late for work so responding before reading other answers:
Yes the hearing aid can be even more essential for the circumstances. Most of the time they suggest one for each ear which helps with sound as well as other issues. Many sellers are out there and there are cheap ones that are, basically, crap imo. I have a full pill bottle full of old ones that my mother used representing thousands of dollars worth. You need to recognize/be aware of her resistance and potential lack of cooperation to wear them at all...but if she's willing...one thought is to to go to Costco if you are near one. We got outstanding service. The manufacturers are the same as the best brands audiologists sell. The exam is free. They have some that are SELF adjusting and just have to go in a charging cup at night and are ready to go in the AM. NO battery buying/replacing except once every 9 months or so. You get about 3 months to try them. No hassles if they are not working out. The other item is called a pocket talker. Looks like a little radio which is a device to pick up sounds and the hearing impaired person wears headphones. More visible, but functional and not so easy to lose. Lastly, if you're using an iphone...you can get an app that will be something like a dictation program...if you speak into the phone or anyone else does, it can translate what you said into written words Grandma can read. And, if all else fails...check out a bogie board. Labor intensive, but you can write notes and then erase them with the push of a button on the "magic" screen. Good luck! She's very blessed to have you in her life!
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Reply to robinr
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My mother,91 and mild dementia, has significant hearing loss.She wears 2 aides and has for last 40+yrs. 4 yrs ago we got her new aides. The aides self adjust to noise. They need the wax filters to be changed weekly. I take her to have them cleaned by audiologist yrly. Sometimes opening battery holder and closing again will reset them and no humming. Mom forgets to open battery holder at night and aides screech all night and drains batteries quickly.Mom can use regular phone by removing aide she is holding to the phone. But then will forget were she put the aide. Found using speaker phone works best for her as she can keep aides in. She hears clearly. Only need to get her to push the speaker button. Over yrs we have tried various phones. Putting on speaker seems to work best. If you can give it a try. I have taped arrows pointing to the speaker button, sometimes works sometimes doesnt depends on day .I have found that thinking up new ways to help her hear and function is keeping my brain working.
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Reply to GMSARG
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Lymie61 Jan 8, 2019
Hahaha, sounds somewhat familiar! In our case though mom had a cell phone long enough before her cognitive abilities slowed down too much that she is still comfortable with it. I didn't say she could use all the features or figure it out but we are able to set her Iphone so that it's on speaker phone automatically whenever she answers the phone, that way she doesn't have to do anything other than answer (a nightmare every time they change from slide to tap, errrr). She typically puts it up to her ear though and often hits the button with her face by accident if we don't remind her right off that it's on speaker phone and she doesn't need it on her ear. Still when that does happen all we need to do is hang up and call her back, it is working for us so far. Maybe there is a way to set whatever phone she is using to automatically use speaker phone?
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My husband has significant hearing loss, bought a state of the art hearing aid that cost thousands, and could not stand the ambient noise. He bent a plastic oil funnel from the auto parts store to make it like a hearing trumpet, and he heard perfectly. Not a practical thing to bring with you everywhere. If he cups his hand behind his ear, his hearing improves. So on a daily basis, he does nothing except to have earphones for the TV. Sorry, I have no answer.
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Reply to Caregiversister
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Sometimes when a senior has not used hearing aids for a while, they have a difficult time adjusting to all the background "noise" they are no longer accustomed to hearing. I suggest getting one of the hearing amplifiers like this one where the "box" and larger switches are easier for elders to use. They use headphones so you can get over the ear or in the ear, whatever works best for your senior. They can easily put the headphones on/in when they want to hear someone or something like the TV and remove them when the background noise starts to irritate.

https://www.amazon.com/Personal-Sound-Amplifier-Enhancer-Assistance/dp/B077ZFGLPH/ref=sr_1_15_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1546008637&sr=8-15&keywords=hearing+amplifier
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Reply to TNtechie
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Hi MikeMan - I can relate on two different fronts. Due to a genetic defect, almost everyone in my mom's family, including myself, my siblings and my mom, wear hearing aids and have for 30+ years, so lots of trial and error in my family! My mom is 84 and definitely needs some new ones, but she feels she hears well enough. To the rest of us, it's very frustrating to communicate with her, especially knowing she has better options. Your mom should qualify for special telephones for the hearing impaired (Free!) as my hearing aid provider has worked with us several times to get those. My new aids cost $6000 so the newest digital aids are certainly not cheap. Mine are preset with several options and also have 4 options I can manually set. I can use them with the telephone and they self adjust. I can blue tooth them to my iPhone, TV set and a clip to be used in meetings. There are no batteries, I simply place them in a charger every night and go. That's overkill for an elderly person, but just added that detail so you can see hearing aids have come a long way in the last 10 years! I see my mom struggling to get batteries into hers. Mine are behind the ear (with mold fitting in the ear) since my hearing loss is so profound. The only button is an off/on button, which is also used to turn my manual options on depending on the environment. I think most elderly people could do without the manual options. But as others have stated, it does take some weekly cleaning maintenance to keep them working well and I can see how that could be difficult for the elderly with limited visual and dexterity issues. Maybe check into the newest aids and hearing impaired telephones with a reputable hearing aid dispenser. Set up a weekly visit to have someone clean them properly and maybe she will enjoy them. My 89 year old aunt said the older she got the more annoying her aids (and noise) got so by the time she passed away she refused to wear them. Good luck! And don't give up! I do believe hearing is an important part of an elderly person's social and mental well being.
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Reply to campbec
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campbec Jan 8, 2019
One other note-even though I’ve worn aids For 35 years it still takes a good two weeks to get used to all the new sound with each new set. Patience is required!
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My mom had to have the molds made to get the hearing aids to fit correctly. But, most important was making sure the wax was cleaned out from the hearing aid. If that little area gets plugged with wax, the aid will not work. And you cannot use aids with a telephone, it causes interference.
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Reply to gladimhere
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Helping77 Jan 8, 2019
Are you referring to your hearing aid (or older aids) because mine connects by bluetooth to phone... or about anything else.
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Very hard for the elderly to use hearing aides. I just found out that a mold may need to be shaved if it doesn't fit right. Elderly may not be aware of this and the mold is uncomfortable. Now aids are digital and the person has to be able to tell the audiologist what they hear and don't hear. My husband doesn't do well with digitals because of the type of hearing loss he has.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Most modern hearing aids don't need adjusting, you just turn them on and leave them alone. They do however need constant maintenance that can be difficult for anyone with arthritic fingers and poor vision, and any kind of cognitive decline can make it hard to remember how to look after them. I suggest that tiny in the ear hearing aids are only suitable for younger people, grandmother needs something the caretakers can easily help her put in and remove, and they should also be in charge of their daily care.
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Reply to cwillie
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MikeMan, my Mom, who was also in her 90's, had major problems with hearing aids, and mainly it was user error. My Mom must have gone through 3 different hearing aids in 3 years, again with the same problem of user error.

Trip after trip back to the medical office where the hearing aid was adjusted and Mom could hear a bit better, but the next day, back to square one... [sigh].

I honestly think if one used an old fashioned "hearing horn" [ear trumpet], they could probably hear just as well without it being so complex to use.
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Reply to freqflyer
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