Follow
Share

My mom has very poor hearing that keeps getting worse. She has many other health problems such as heart failure, mild dementia, and a bad back. Despite these health issues, she LOVES to talk. However, it is very hard to communicate with her because she cannot hear, unless you shout. This is very difficult when we have family over. She wants to be included in conversations and we want her to be included in them, but even when you shout, she still doesn't always hear if it is a group of people. When this happens she gets mad and cries. She thinks that we don't want to talk to her. This is very hard on me. However she will not wear hearing aids. I feel like if she did wear hearing aides, it would be much easier to talk to her and she would be much happier.

Is there a better place than Costco to get hearing aids? the ones Costco sells seems that they have a lot of sound issues. I need a better pair. any suggestions? I am 92 years old
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to rocketdog
Report

My mother complained of hearing loss and ringing in the ears as she entered her 80's. It kept getting worse. She would have the TV blasting. She couldn't hear the phone ring or the doorbell. I took her for hearing tests in 2006, 2012, and 2014. They all did excellent jobs testing and analyzing her hearing, but she refused to wear a hearing aid. She said they were just trying to make money from her. She put the burden on everyone else to communicate with her. I went to doctor appointments with her because I had to talk to the receptionist and the doctor and communicate what the doctor said to her. I had to do the same with her neighbors. She said everyone was whispering. She always refused to accept that the problem was with her hearing. When she had a massive stroke in 2014 she lost her hearing almost completely. When she was in acute rehab the speech therapist refused to work with her unless she could communicate better. I got a hearing amplifier and headphones. This is the only way she can hear. I still have it and I want her to put on the headphones so she can hear what I am saying. She gets mad and says I am not talking loud enough. She can't understand why she can hear with the headphones and not without them. It is not humanly possible to talk loud enough for her to hear. If she refuses to wear the headphones I have to write everything down that I want to say. I put external speakers on the TV, but she still can't hear with the sound at max and the speakers distorting. I have to wear ear plugs so I don't damage my hearing.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to johnk6749
Report
pollinatorlady Oct 14, 2018
It sounds mean, but you could tell her (yell at her) that you won't talk to her if she doesn't put on hearing aids or use other means to hear you. And then stick to it. She needs firmness from you. You need peace. Don't argue with her about it - just tell her firmly and then back it up. Ignore the splash back by leaving the room.
(0)
Report
Who knows why they won't wear them.  When she lived alone, my aunt would not use the TV ears we got her.  She did not understand changing the battery when she finally got a hearing aid.  Now with her here, I get her hearing aid, put in the battery, give it to her, and say 'Put it on.' We do that dance only when she is going out for an appointment.  Otherwise we get in front, speak slowly and a bit loud, and she reads lips.  We also have closed caption on the TV, and write down notes for her to read and digest.  It's like getting kids to put on boots, hat, etc.  Good luck.  When she's ready for a NH, she'll lose it.  For now it works, except the confusion of crowds makes it impossible to eat out.  Let us know if you find any kind of a solution.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to GrannieAnnie
Report

There has been research that hearing loss is a precursor, cause, well something, that leads to dementia. I took it serious when my father started talking about ears ringing and other problems.

Then, of course, he yelled at me when I made him go to the VA to get hearing aids but then he's been resistant to every suggestion I've ever made so he was being consistent. And this one wasn't negotiable.

He does seem to wear them.

My mother struggled because she lost the coordination to use them, and, she couldn't change the batteries or anything else. My father, courtesy of the VA, has expensive over the ear one's that are easy to set up and use. He also doesn't have dementia so that could be part of it too.

Anyways, make sure she can actually use them. Even mild dementia, and coordination loss can make them hard to use. Maybe a different type would help?

As far as other reasons for resistance, there is no easy answer. My father won't face that he's elderly and won't accept help for the most part. It's his life, he's not in danger, and he gets to make his own decisions. But, damn it's frustrating because there are so many easy changes that could make things easier for him.

Anyways, I don't think I offered much advice so I'll just say good luck with it and it's important.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to dontgetthechees
Report

I already answered once, but reading other replies made me think of something that I did not see mentioned. First, I did not mention that I too wear hearing aids. I do not hear high pitched sounds at all, or so faintly that I don't notice them. My most recent visit to the audiologist gave me some new information, It seems that there is more than one reason for hearing difficulties. One - the most prevalent one - is loss of volume of sound. But a really sneaky one is an inability to decipher sounds. My audiologist told me that the decoding function is not an ear problem, it is a function of the brain. There is NO fix for that malfunction. Sorry to say, that is my problem. I will hear a word like - mile. I hear the long I in the middle of the word, but not the beginning or end of it. So many words I miss whether wearing hearing aids or not. So, often I don't use them. If your mom has been diagnosed with loss of volume - has she also been diagnosed for deciphering words she hears? If that is her main problem wearing hearing aids will not make much difference. The other difficulty might be that they hurt/bother her ears when they are in. If that is the case, see if you can get her to wear them only when she wants a conversation with you. She might be up to using them if she doesn't have to keep them in all the time. Hope some of this - along with other advise given - helps. I live with both sides of that issue and it isn't fun.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to pollinatorlady
Report

My Mom got her hearing aids at COSTCO and they work okay. However, she still does not hear well even when she wears them. She has had them adjusted, etc. but still does not hear so well. It is especially bad for her in crowded, noisy places. She does have a setting for "noisy places" on her aids and one for TV but she forgets to adjust them. This inability to hear well has impacted her life in that she does not want to go anywhere there will be crowds as she can't hear and therefore can not communicate when she can not hear what is being said to her. I purchased TV Ears for her and wearing them is about the only way she can hear dialogue above the loud background music that seems to be a part of EVERY TV show now, and hear the actors who always seem to be whispering! Sometimes I think she chooses not to remember to put the hearing aids on so she does not have to listen to me always saying "Mom, stand up straight"!
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to texasrdr22
Report

I deal with that problem as well. Extremely frustrating. My solution has been to (shout) at my husband to tell him that IF he wants me to answer him, talk to him, he MUST wear his hearing aids. If he doesn't, I won't. He doesn't like it, but it is HIS decision whether or not he wants a conversation with me. Don't make the mistake of taking on someone else's problem as yours. It isn't yours. It is hers. I realize that older people can become steadfast in their actions/reactions - my husband is 87. But stick with it. if you don't want to be confrontational, you could (shout) to advise your mom, that you will leave the room if she wants to talk to you without hearing aids. Even if she just puts them in for the short time you are talking with her, then takes them out again (they may bother her ears). Hope this helps. Remember, if you are to be there for HER, you have to take care of YOURSELF first.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to pollinatorlady
Report

Try lowering the pitch of your voice. Sometimes it is the higher pitches that are lost sooner.
Women have higher pitched voices and since most of us are the caregivers we seem to have the most difficulty since we are the ones communicating most often. (and lets just face it we talk more anyway)
When we begin to shout the pitch of our voice goes up even more making it even more difficult to understand what we are saying. Not to mention when we get frustrated and begin to shout sometimes we talk faster making it doubly difficult.
So try the lower pitch and slowing the conversation down.
I read once that it may take someone with Dementia 40 seconds to process what was said. I don't know about you but in 40 seconds I am 3 topics ahead. This makes it frustrating for the person with Dementia to follow a conversation, just as they process what was said everyone else is on another topic and that makes the response from the person with dementia sound out of place, like they have no idea what is going on.
Try the lower pitch and slower conversation. Let us know if it works.

As for the hearing aids it may be that they amplify background noise as well making it hard to focus on the conversation
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Grandma1954
Report

gdaughter, if this reply was to me: "And, if your mother is up to the challenge...my dad who is deaf uses an iphone and it has a captioning app on it...so you can speak into the phone and the words will appear on the screen to be read."

That is a great idea, but unfortunately my mother is most definitely NOT up for that challenge. She has a tracphone, but it is only for emergencies. She can't even really use that.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to CTTN55
Report
gdaughter Oct 14, 2018
I understand completely. My dad is amazing at 101..HE has an iphone...and I have a flip phone! He would be lost without it...especially at medical appointments...really one of the toughest problems...that you are dealing with.
(0)
Report
See 1 more reply
Your conclusion is probably true.  Is she a bit of a drama queen on top of it all?  Because the crying is very effective I would imagine, as you point out, it's hard on you and I'm sure she can figure that out.  Maybe time for a little tough love and saying you are done shouting/screaming and are going to speak normally, and if she wants to hear the conversation she'll need to get the aids.  We had wonderful care at our local Costco and we got my mom who has dementia newer ones that have a rechargeable battery.  Pros and cons with that.  No buying batteries except once a year, no running to the store or running out BUT someone has to remember to put them in the charging cup each night.  Short of that, there is a gadget called a Pocket Talker that looks like a small transistor radio (remember those?) or Walkman...it has small headphone and can be turned up for someone to hear which you could keep for when with her.  Good luck with it all...
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to gdaughter
Report

This is my mother, also. She refuses to consider hearing aids. And of course she blames everyone else, because they are mumbling, not looking directly at her, etc.

Conversing with her is exhausting, because everything said to her has to be repeated several times, louder each time. So I tend to say not much at all.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to CTTN55
Report
gdaughter Oct 12, 2018
People who do not deal with this do not realize how physically exhausting, if not mentally, it is to constantly repeat...but I am noticing some loss myself and the other side of this is how frustrating and hurtful it is to not hear or to have to ask others to repeat themselves.  Also annoying when it is obvious you do have a problem and typically soft-spoken people can't get it in their head to speak up.  In addition to all this I have a land line --a corded one--that I will not part with and I am totally convinced that with the wide variety of phones available, the smart phones, cell phones, portables, the quality of the calls varies as well.  I especially find poor quality more often than not, VOIP calls which are over the internet.   Although it won't help in person (maybe a pocket talker gadget for that?), you might want to consider a captioned phone.  And, if your mother is up to the challenge...my dad who is deaf uses an iphone and it has a captioning app on it...so you can speak into the phone and the words will appear on the screen to be read.  I can tell you constantly writing notes is also frustrating and annoying and at least this alleviates that.  It has been a godsend at MD appts, though they have to be a little more patient as the app takes a few seconds to convert their words into text.  It is a good way to test the patience of the MD's LOL.
(2)
Report
I am 81 and have been wearing hearing aids for almost 20 years. Not only are they expensive (although less so than 20 years ago), they are tiny, hard to keep up with, hard to manipulate, easy to lose and step on. The first ones I got were actually the best, but maybe that was because I was younger. They were molded to fit my ear and completely in the canal. And cost $5000 a pair, but I had a good job then. My hearing continues to go downhill, and the last pair of hearing aids I got 2 years ago at an audiology school are already not enough. They are behind the ear, and very easy to knock off if you are always putting your reading glasses on and off as I am. Still, not being able to hear your grandchildren is motivation enough for me.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Arleeda
Report
gdaughter Oct 12, 2018
When you are ready to get new ones, seriously give Costco a try.  You do have to be a member, but the people at our local one are terrific.  By law hearing aid places must let you try them X number of days, but Costco's policy is far longer, and as the staff is not on commission, they don't care or pressure you to buy or keep them.  My mom's rechargeables are already not the newest, and no playing with the batteries except once a year, and Costco folks will be happy to install them...you just put them in their charging cup at night, and you're good to go in the AM for about 15 hours I believe.  And if it doesn't work out, they will refund your membership as well.  Also a good place to get some walking exercise even if you don't buy...if it's difficult to get to maybe you could trade the use of your membership discount to take someone with you shopping who gives you a ride (but they are on to it all so YOU will have to be the one you hands over the money:-)
(2)
Report
There is a hearing amplifier that can be set on a nearly table or worn around the neck or in a pocket with a outlet for standard ear buds and head phones that can work better than hearing aids for many older people. They are about the size of a transistor radio. The switches are larger and easier to work and they can take the headphones off/on when they want. They are a lot less expensive than hearing aids too - only $30-50.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to TNtechie
Report

Point out to her other aides she uses to maintain a level of independence. Glasses, dentures, wheelchair, walker, etc.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to commutergirl
Report

Has she worn hearing aids before? or does she refuse to wear the hearing aids she has now?

If so, the problem might be comfort. Mine -- the behind-the-ear kind, with a tiny cone on a clear wire all that goes into the ear -- came with cones that were too big for me, uncomfortable when in and almost impossible to get placed correctly. My audiologist replaced them with cones from a different brand. I wear 'tiniest possible' in one ear and 'only one size bigger than that' in the other.

I also notice a problem with manual dexterity. When my hands are stiff or trembling I have trouble getting them in right, and changing those tiny batteries can be a nightmare.

If they're adjusted too loud - say, because my hand trembled when I tried to adjust with those tiny controls - they're intolerable. The solution to that turned out to be a device I can wear on my belt or around my neck that has bigger buttons.

Hearing aids, no matter how good, can be unbearable in noisy environments.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to maggiebea
Report

With ALZ and Dementia it may not just be Moms hearing. It maybe how she processes. I found with Mom when you talked to her she was still trying to process the first couple of words and I was going onto something else. People with ALZ/ Dementia get overwhelmed in crowds. Like children, they get over stimulated.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report

Its hard for the elderly to wear hearing aides. Ur Mom has Dementia and its hard to do an eval if they can't follow directions or process. Then they won't wear them and have a hard time adjusting with the small wheels on the aide. As a person who has been married to a man who has had hearing problems since he was 4, even with a hearing aide Mom will have trouble in crowds. Its hard to concentrate on one conversation when more are going on around you. This is true for grandmom now. She needs to be in a small group of people with no background noise. Her and maybe two others. Each person looking at her when they talk. No talking over each other.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report

Is she worried about the expense? Would she be willing to try a personal amplifier?
If it is vanity that is holding her back you might try pointing out that her deafness emphasises her age much more than hearing aids would.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to cwillie
Report
rocketdog Nov 7, 2018
Where can I get an amplifier for her?
(0)
Report
Perhaps you could try making a written notice that says 'You cannot hear us and we cannot keep shouting. You must get a hearing aid. Then we can talk.' Get multiples made, and put one in front of her each time. She will cry a couple of times, but after that she may get it. Cuddle her and point at the notice.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to MargaretMcKen
Report
MACinCT Oct 10, 2018
Do you realize that replacement hearing aids start at $2000? Unless she has a big piggy bank and can travel back and forth to the supplier to program them, it is a big problem. The dementia throws out all reasoning. My mom threw hers out as soon as I left her apartment. She refuses to use the cheap amplifiers and claims he has no problem. When I get tired of shouting to her, I simply nod. And yes I also see her inability to process words and express speak back to me. I have the same problem as Kutz except for the crying.
Mom no longer travels well to get replacemnts, nor does she have a big piggy bank
(3)
Report
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter