Is there a less expensive alternative to hearing aids?

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My 93 year old mother lives in a supportive living facility. She has dementia but has been doing fairly well. Normally, I replace the batteries in hearing aids or she asks the nurse. She seems to have forgotten to do this and broke both hearing aids trying to replace the batteries on her own. One is repairable... one is not. I see she is continuing to play with the one that is still work and I am hesitant to replace them as I think she's just going to break them again. They cost $1,000 each and she isn't financially able to cover the cost. Any recommendations for a less expensive alternative (device, manufacturer, etc.) would be appreciated. Thank you.

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Marilyn, hearing aids and batteries. You'd think modern science would come up with something user friendly. Since the vast majority of hearing aid users are the elder, many with poor eyesight and poor coordination. When I cleaned out my parents house, good grief, the amount of tiny dropped batteries that I found :P

Also found old hearing aids, where I could tell Dad was messing with them, due to screw driver scratches.... [sigh]

I think we should go back to the old fashioned "ear trumpet".... no batteries needed... can't lose these things because of their size... and they come in such wonderful designs and colors. Someone could have a dozen of them in different colors to match what they were wearing that day. Now, if only we could get the fad going :)
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We've struggled with this one as well. My mom wears hearing aides due to hearing loss from radiology. After her stroke she was unable to put her hearing aides in or change the batteries. We did it when we lived with them, then had aides help with this. However, my mom would fiddle with them while they were in her ears, they'd fall out or the batteries would fall out. We managed to get them stable (one was not working) and my mom lost one while visiting my dad in rehab. We visited an audiologist who gave us a brochure where the least expensive hearing aides were $4,000. Even my mother agreed it was too expensive. I've purchased a pair of hearing aides online for less than $100. They're larger than the previous ones. I'll post a review when they arrive
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My mom's hearing aids died of old age and I have decided not to replace them. (well really it was decided for me since being fitted for new ones was almost impossible). You might want to look for personal amplifiers, there are several available on Amazon, but he one recommended to us was the pocket talker by Williams Sound.
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I am a Hearing Instrument Specialist, and this is an important problem to fix.

First of all, best option is to get the aids fixed. Starkey.com can direct you to a hearing specialist who might be able to send the "non-repairable" aid to our lab and see if they would be willing to repair it. They have an all-make repair lab, and they are very motivated to help people, so they may be able to repair the aid at a reasonable cost.

If she won't leave the hearing aids alone, and I know some people get to this point - won't stop fiddling, start hiding things, etc - a better option to help her hear you one-on-one is a Pocket Talker. This is a pair of headphones attached to a microphone that you can turn the volume way up. This way, nothing is stuck in her ears for her to fiddle with and she can still hear to communicate with you and the staff. This device will run in the neighborhood of $150, and it may be worth it for you to get two of them - one you keep with you, and one for the nursing home staff. This way, if one gets broken, there is always a back up. I checked and they do have these available on Amazon.com.

If she is a big TV watcher, and can't hear the TV without her aids in, they also have TV ears that are relatively inexpensive and much more durable for fiddling. This may also be another device to help solve some hearing issues. Lastly, you may like something called a Boogie Board which is a digital tablet you write on (similar to a magna doodle but much easier to read because it is clear). These devices are also available on Amazon.com.

I wish you the very best of luck in helping your mother to hear you. Hearing is so important to our connection and when she can't hear, it makes everything so much more difficult.

For all the readers, education time. Untreated hearing loss severely increases the risk of developing dementia and alzheimer's disease. A mild untreated hearing loss doubles your risk of developing dementia. A severe untreated hearing loss is a 5x risk of developing dementia. If you have a family member with dementia or alzheimer's, you want to do everything to make sure you minimize your risk, and being proactive about taking care of your hearing and treating your hearing loss if any hearing issues are found is an incredibly important piece. Wearing properly fit hearing aids mitigates this increased risk by up to 90%. Get your hearing tested. Treat your hearing loss appropriately for proper brain health throughout your life.
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Or they put them in with a dead battery or don't close the door properly so they aren't turned on. It amazes me how so many of those who work around old people can be so clueless, sure there are differences in different hearing aids but it isn't rocket science.
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If Mom likes TV there are "TV Ears". They are wireless with a head piece like a headband. Mom's Neurologist took a tuning fork and started moving it towards Mom from the side and asked her to tell him when she heard it.she heard it when he got to her shoulder. He said she heard well enough not to use her aids. Actually hearing doctor said it was too hard for him to judge her hearing loss now because she couldn't handle instructions.
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I really appreciate all of the suggestions. I feel guilty for not replacing them but I also think it's inevitable that she will continue to break them if she no longer remembers that she shouldn't be attempting to replace the batteries. The TV is blasting but, at least, she can hear it. Unfortunately, I don't think she's hearing people. I will look into the personal amplifier and thank you, chrismsherman, in advance, for posting a review of the hearing aids you are going to try.
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Please do not rely on the staff to follow her around all day. Mom started "playing" with hers and claimed that she did not need them. One day they were completly gone. Now I am going through that with her lower dentures and she just lost them after 2 years. As far as the good hearing aid, save it and use it only when you or family visit then remove it so it too does not get broken. I found ear buds with an amplifier for about $40 online. Again my family only uses it when conversation is important TO US. (church, doctor office etc). If we continued to leave it up to her even the earbuds would go MIA.
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Mom's hearing doctor was telling me he went to see his patient in a home. During the exam he noticed the patient had her aid in but couldn't hear him. He took the aid out and found that no battery was in it. At that facility they take the aids to the Nurses station. He went out to the station and showed them no battery.
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We need the Chinese to come up with something decent and affordable. I recall seeing an advertisement one time that offered them for about $195 but this was the price for each if they were bought in bulk. Some of the products listed on Amazon are much less expensive and work reasonably well.

I suspect it would be better to have rechargeable devices rather than having to replace the tiny batteries. My mother had a hearing aid, and it was ridiculous even trying to turn the thing on (tiny print in plastic with no color contrast). I've decided if I ever need one, I'm going to get something that isn't so tiny because a lot of the hassles are caused by the small size. People walk around with Bluetooth devices on their eyes, so there's no reason why someone can't have a hearing aid of similar design (if they don't like to show that they need a hearing aid due to vanity).

I would use an ear horn before I would pay the ridiculous prices asked for most hearing aids!
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