Follow
Share

His current hearing aids stopped working so he stopped wearing them. His solution is to just not hear or have very loud conversations. He's anti social to begin with and this is making it worse. My husband refuses to have a conversation while yelling but misses conversing with him. How do I convince him to re-engage with life instead of keeping to himself?

Hello Angelique,
My mother would not wear hearing aides until in her early eighties. We were the ones who mumbled. Finally she decided to get them and it made the world of difference. I would not force your dad. You will waste your time and energy. Is your father concerned with the expense? When he is ready, he should come around, like my mom. Good luck!
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to earlybird
Report

You might consider googling: Dr Christopher legacy on hearing.
You father may need the wax cleared out of the ears. additionally there is a herbal formula drops to put in the ear( ..I think its called ear & nerve )that dr christopher makes that I used for my grandfather. (only a few $, avail on amazon) His doctor was amazed how much his hearing has improved. Its So Much less stressful for me, and probably for him, not to have every conversation a shouting match.
"Nature always heals, given the opportunity
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to sunshinelife
Report

I have a very simple answer. If the hearing aids don't work, do they need new batteries or can they be fixed? If he just simply will not wear hearing aids and gets very loud, I would firmly and simply tell him that unless he wears hearing aids and speaks normally, NO ONE WILL COME NEAR HIM OR TALK TO HIM. Then stay away a while and do NOT engage him unless he wears them. He will learn it is too lonely this way. This is the only way to fix this.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Lockett2166
Report
TouchMatters Jul 26, 2020
If he is depressed and/or his brain chemistry is such that he is unable to engage socially, he may become more isolated and depressed. I feel that this strategy may work with some elders, although it may adversely affect others as the little interaction and socialization / socializing they may get is cut off.
I am sure there are other ways to consider - TEEPA SNOW, one of the country's leading experts on dementia, is an excellent resource to ask.
(0)
Report
See 1 more reply
As others suggested, several options are available.

I would try to get the hearing aids to the audiologist for check/test. They may just need cleaning and/or adjustment. If they can be cleaned and/or repaired, have that done and bring them back to dad. See dad, good as new! Just needed a little cleaning! If not, find out if you can get the same kind and if so, buy them and give them to him. Pass them off as the original ones and just say they needed cleaning and a little repair, good as new!

I would also recommend having his ears checked for wax. Some just naturally produce more build up, but wearing hearing aids can make it worse (mom has had big hard glob removed and last doc visit they recommended an OTC product at the pharmacy - don't recall the name, but the liquid is put in to soften the wax, then gently remove/clean later.

I've seen the audiologist remove some too, so if he's willing to go there instead of doctor, he could have his hearing rechecked as well. Perhaps the hearing aids still work but his hearing is worse.

As for yelling so they can hear, no. Two options I can think of. 1) have a large index card with HEARING AIDS written on it and show that instead of responding to his loud talking or 2) buy him a Boogie Board - LCD screen that you can write on with stylus or anything pointed (I've used my fingernail) and erase with the push of a button. If he doesn't like the Board, flash the index card!

If you can reason with him, find and print out information on hearing loss and dementia - there are many studies that indicate hearing loss (and the accompanying lack of socialization) can lead to early dementia or speeding up existing cognitive decline! Example:

"Researchers found that people with central hearing loss were twice as likely to have mild cognitive impairment as people who had no hearing loss. Of the 192 people with central hearing loss, 144 people, or 75 percent, had mild cognitive impairment."

My mother had one of the few surgically correctable hearing issues (otosclerosis) and refused to have the surgery (she was maybe early 50s.) Over time the little bones ossify and hearing loss can become complete. She stopped wearing the right side hearing aid years ago. Now, with dementia, we really have no way to keep it in her ear. The one she moved in with finally went through the laundry. The first of the new pair went AWOL within a few months (probably wrapped in tissue or napkin at meal and tossed.) She keeps taking it out, so the nurse takes it away. I suspect this will lead to faster hearing loss (someone else noted that if not used, you lose.) Can't win once dementia is in play.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to disgustedtoo
Report
sunshinelife Aug 6, 2020
sounds like a strong minded lady. I moved heaven and earth to help my grandfather be healthier and happier (complains a Lot..always something:) its taken me a while to understand that people (even the older ones we think aren't rational) are making choices, and quite comfortable with their choices. I know that as soon as i walk in the door i take off my bra, and i notice my grandpa does the same with his false teeth lol! I think its uncomfortable to have anything attached to our bodies that we were not born with.
Im sure that even though she doesn't express it to you verbally, in her heart she is very grateful for having you in her life
Bless you for being such a caring and loving daughter and person :)
(0)
Report
One of the replies here made me think about what my DHs audiologist said. My husband liked his analog aides better. The audiologist said many people have a problem going from analog to digital. Why, analog the person's voice sounds normal, digital it sounds somewhat mechanical. Takes a few weeks for the brain to get used to the sound.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report

Imho, depending on the design of his hearing aides, to get them working again may be a very simple tube change out. I actually wear one aide and when the tubes that are a part of the aide become rigid and not flexible, the aide stops working. That is a simple tube change out by my audiologist. However, I do know some individuals who also refuse to get their aides fixed if they malfunction and instead opt to keep them in a drawer. This causes family members exasperation because the hearing aide person will now talk very loud, respond to conversation incorrectly and/or talk over people.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Llamalover47
Report

Quit talking loud for him and quit repeating things. You have been the new hearing aid. Take his hearing aids somewhere and ask for them to be repaired. If they cannot repair them, ask for new ones just like what he had. If it worked before, it should work again. Hand them to him, tell him they were cleaned up and fixed and put them back in. If he chooses not to wear them, then talk in normal voice. When he says he can't hear, tell him to use the hearing aids.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to my2cents
Report
HVsdaughter Jul 24, 2020
He still may need to have his ears cleaned. Last Dr's visit, the doc pulled a huge wad of wax out of dad's ear. Currently we're researching the cheap hearing aids available online because 92yr old dad needs them (was professionally evaluated several yrs ago) but doesn't want to spend the big dollars. I am SO exhausted from yelling at him and repeating myself when I address him. Also, TV Ears (.com) for dad have saved MY ears and nerves. I can set the tv volume where it's most comfortable for me (or mute it altogether!) and dad can still have the volume set on the headphones where he needs it to hear the show. Amazing.
(1)
Report
See 3 more replies
We have a friend who summers in our area and has always enjoyed the theatre. Unfortunately his hearing aides do not work well in that environment and we found that the hearing amplification that the theatre provided did not always work well for him.  We were going to one theatre that did not have a system and purchased him a "pocket talker" from Amazon.  He loved it!  Said it was the best one and he was going to use it at all the theaters going forward.  This might be an option until Dad can get his hearing aides replaced.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to EllensOnly
Report

As a woman married to a man who has been living with someone who has been hard of hearing since 4 or 5, they usually do not repair hearing aids after a certain point. Especially now with the Digital aides. My husband, after 4 years, just got a new one and the advances have really improved.

What I suggest is take Dad back to his audiologist. His aides may not be broke, just need adjusting. He may have built up wax in his ears. He may have lost more of his hearing and needs the Digital adjusted. See, when they are fitted, turning them up and down is limited to how you hear at that time. If there is loss of hearing, it may just be a matter of adjusting for the loss. Also, wax does get in the tubing and needs to be removed. Molds harden and shrink so the need for new molds. If he does not go regularly for cleanings, this could be the problem. If taken care of, aides will last a while. My husband still has his Analog.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report
disgustedtoo Jul 24, 2020
My mother had a fairly new regular pair, purchased maybe 6-8 months prior to the move to MC. She was still okay with wearing it, but not so good with changing battery. As time went on, I did ask staff to replace the battery every 2 weeks (suggested by provider.) They never did. When I would visit, I would often ask about it. Once in a while she had it in, but the battery was dead. Most of the time I would have to search for it - floor, end table, in the bed, on the bed, etc... Once she even said she doesn't wear one! But, sadly, as expected, it finally went through the laundry.

Going to the audiologist would be the best start. He could get a test. He could have his ears checked for wax build up. He could have his current hearing aids checked (they may just need cleaning and/or adjustment for additional hearing loss.)

I haven't been in the audiologist office with mom, but I would think they would have a way to allow someone to "try it" before you buy it. I recall mom having the option to return them within a given period if she didn't like the new pair.
(0)
Report
There is an organization called the Hearing Loss Assn of American that has some good resources for items that are not hearing aids. Maybe the desire to communicate with your husband will be enough motivation to at least use something like that for the period of time they are together, like headphones, pocket talker etc.
If he opts for hearing aids, strongly rec Costco. New ones have rechargable batteries...makes it less hassle. Best prices...
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to gdaughter
Report

My DH reluctantly went in for a hearing eval a couple of years ago, certain that the problem was that the entire world "mumbles'. Shock to him, he barely passed the test!

The audiologist was extremely kind and non-judgmental. Left the option to get aids totally up to DH. I just sat there, not weighing in b/c he already knew how fiercely I wanted him to get HA's---for the last 20 years (he's only 68).

He opted in for the MOST expensive ones with bluetooth capability and he is pretty good about wearing them. Still has to focus on people's faces, and that is simply due to so many years of just missing everything that was being said.

I did NOT raise my voice and I told the kids not to either. He simply missed out on a LOT of life---now he does better.

Now he's WFM and not putting them in and so when he has video conferencing, he is actually yelling at the monitors---it'd be funny, except it's not.

My neighbor went to Costco and got the mid range aids. He's perfectly happy with them, and they cost 1/4th of what we paid.

BUT--my neighbor was bothered by his hearing loss and didn't blame everybody else for not talking louder. A BIG PART of being comfortable with HA's is you have to WANT to be able to hear.

DH has had some extremely embarrassing moments where he caught the wrong end of the stick, as it were, and missed what the conversation was about and jumped in, not knowing he kind of looked a fool.

Luckily for us, my hearing is perfect, so important things (like a cop coming lights and sirens behind you on the freeway) are HEARD and addressed.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Midkid58
Report

My friends dad did this .
He received very expensive hearing aids from England to replace his old ones and still refused to wear them.
That annoyed R very much but what he did was he stopped speaking up. Everyone did apparently so R's dad had no choice but to put them in .
I remember the constant yelling so R's dad could join in and it just about drove me and them insane so I don't blame them .
R's dad seems pretty cool with them now and is pretty talkative . He had mentioned how having to wear something to hear made him feel depressed and old so that's something to think about .
If your dad is anti-social, maybe he likes not hearing and is enjoying the quiet. Sometimes people just want to be left mostly alone . You might not understand that but it's true . I'm pretty reserved myself and I can go days without a conversation , quite happily .
Maybe , if the hearing aids have volume controls , you can write a note saying : " Dad , when you feel like talking just give a signal and turn your aids up." That way he can be " alone" or engage when he wants to .
He could have a red cloth (or something noticeable) that he can put out when the hearing aid is turned up to show he wants to talk and he can put it away when he doesn't want to .
He might be old but he still has his preferences I imagine.
It was once a battle for me to get my family to understand that I love them but I also need alone time with my thoughts to recharge , maybe he is the same .
Hopefully this helps and best of luck to you .
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Lanfen74
Report

Stop talking to him?
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to SFdaughter
Report
disgustedtoo Jul 24, 2020
Was this an itch you had to scratch? I.E. Nothing constructive to say, but you had to say something? What kind of a suggestion is that? OP's statement is short, but it sounds to me like she wants to keep her dad engaged (and HE will converse, but loudly to make up for the hearing loss.)

Hearing loss and social isolation are two factors that can contribute to earlier onset, or speed up progression of dementia. Her desire to help her dad has many benefits. Your suggestion has no real benefit, other than scratching that itch - did you get it?
(0)
Report
Not being able to hear can escalate dementia so I have read. It becomes another form of social isolation. My dad absolutely refused to get new hearing aids and it was so difficult trying to communicate with him. His would have been free from the VA too. You cannot force them to do anything. My dad could hear nothing at his doctor appointments and then complained he was left out of the conversations.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to InFamilyService
Report
disgustedtoo Jul 24, 2020
Not just escalate, but also result in earlier onset:

"Why is hearing loss a risk factor for dementia?

Research has shown that hearing difficulties may reduce quality of life through social isolation, feelings of loneliness and depression, and a loss of independence. These factors in turn may increase the risk of developing dementia."
(0)
Report
I am somewhat sympathetic with your father. I have hearing aids and use them but I have a love/ hate relationship with them.

it is great to hear the birds and crickets. It’s not so great when TV adds come on, painfully loud , or when there is a lot of background noise, like in a restaurant or in the car. (Wind & Road noise. )

like your dad, I’m an introvert and I find a lot of what people say is either useless or very hard to understand even when I hear them correctly. Sometimes I hear the syllables correctly, but just can’t make sense of the words or sentences. sometimes Understanding “small talk” just isn’t worth the trouble.

the experts say that my ability to process sounds may have atrophied because I put off getting hearing aids too long.

but also I find getting the aids serviced periodically is helpful. The tubes get plugged or cracked and they don’t work as well.

my dad got free hearing aids thru the VA, based on his demolitions work in WWII.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to OldernWiser
Report
InFamilyService Jul 24, 2020
How do you converse with your doctor?. Do you want others making important decisions for you? Some conversations are extremely important.
(1)
Report
See 1 more reply
Tell dad that he needs to wear his hearing aids so he can continue to hear. If the "hearing nerves" do not get stimulated, he will lose the ability to hear anything.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Taarna
Report

It's really hard when we get to a certain age. That can be a form of depression, I would schedule the appointment anyway, that would probably help him get out of it.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Stylistchild3
Report

Hearing aids are very expensive so perhaps he is worried about the cost. Have you asked him why he will not replace them? And when they did work, did he wear them?

I use hearing aids and I cannot imagine life without them. So I don't understand why anyone would not want to replace them. However, my inlaws both wore them. My MIL lost hers twice so my FIL replaced them with cheaper ones that he got online. He did not tell anyone he did this and we wondered why her hearing aids did not seem to work well. But I also think that she was no longer really able to process what we were saying to her; not because she could not hear but because her brain was broken due to advancing dementia. That might be part of it for your father. If he was a veteran, the VA provides very high quality hearing aids for free for veterans for those who qualify for a duty related loss. Their hearing aid clinics are well run and they provide batteries for life too. My FIL supposedly had a hearing loss related to airplane engines from WWII but I think they interpret that very loosely. So if he is a veteran, a free hearing aid might be possible and "free" might be something that appeals to him.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to dogparkmomma
Report

Hearing aides can be such an issue-which was a surprise to me -
my mom would wear them for days and not charge them and complain that they didn’t work or just wear one and say the other was uncomfortable or that she didn’t really need them anymore -because she was good at reading lips-it seems funny now but it can be really frustrating

they are constantly improving the technology so maybe he will be happier with a new set if his are older (Bluetooth, more comfortable, etc)
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to LuluRoxy
Report

I’ve been there and for a while tried fighting this battle. His dementia made wearing his aids difficult and finally I just gave up. Sometimes you get to a place where you have to let things go or you will be causing yourself more stress than it’s worth. So he's antisocial..he’s obviously ok with it. But my one question is why don’t you at least try to get them fixed. It might be a simple solution. Sometimes the microphone covers need replacement because they get coated with oils from the skin when taking them in and out. You can drop them off at a hearing aid place and get them inspected
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Harpcat
Report

I can understand not having to yell. Other than that, you know he is an introvert. Forcing social interaction on him only "solves" your problem - he doesn't have a problem with less.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to anilyn
Report
disgustedtoo Jul 24, 2020
What part of this "... misses conversing with him." makes you think the dad is an introvert and just doesn't want to talk with anyone? Husband was CONVERSING with, not lecturing, the dad - conversing is a two way street. So this isn't just about "solving" OP's "problem."

"Somewhat anti-social" is OP's description. That is NOT the same as introvert. Even if he was introverted, it doesn't mean he wouldn't listen to others. Introverts would avoid crowds, etc, but can sit and take in information from others while they are talking together or with others. Quieter. More reserved. Inner thinking, but that doesn't imply shutting people out. Clearly he WAS conversing, at least with OP's husband.

PLUS, keeping someone more socially connected is better for the person. He doesn't have to be the life of the party and the center of attention all day every day, but hearing loss is considered one of the potential gateways to dementia.
(0)
Report
Have his old hearing aides fixed.

Tell him that people miss talking with him but shouting gives them a headache.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to bevthegreat
Report

I tried all sorts of things with my father in law. Eventually took him for a countryside walk & said “ooh, listen to the birds!” That did the trick for him, and us :)
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Tansy56
Report
lindabf Jul 24, 2020
Very clever! Congratulations and thanks for sharing!
(2)
Report
You have plenty of company in this struggle. On this forum there is information here:

https://www.agingcare.com/topics/153/hearinghttps://www.agingcare.com/topics/153/hearing
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Geaton777
Report

Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter