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She can't afford hearing aids. She can't hear full conversations and is filling in the gaps herself which is causing arguments because she is thinks something completely different is being said than what actually is. We have to completely yell in order for her to hear us along with repeating ourselves multiple times. She throws temper tantrums because she thinks we said something we never did and then when we try to correct her on what we actually said she says she knows what she heard and gets even more mad. This constant battle is exhausting. She slams doors, cusses at us, argues and plays the martyr by saying she's sorry she is such a bother to us in a very rude manner. Mom is a difficult person to begin with but this is starting to take its tole on all of us. What can we do.

I really recommend 'magic ears' which are on clearance at cvs for 10.00. It is just an amplifyer. It uses a headset and a wired speaker. It does not work like hearing aids. But when you want to speak, speak directly into the black speaker box. You can adjust the volume. Then turn it off when you are not holding it up to your mouth. For covid, its not ok to shout in someone's face. This device allows you to keep a little distance. Mom can see your face so that helps her understand as well.
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Reply to MayGrey
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CAPTEL Phone are FREE :) I can connect you to a rep if you'd like to learn more! It's free for anyone with hearing impairment.
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Reply to CAREbyChristie
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First, look into what Medicare advantage your Mom has. Have her doctor check for hard earwax. If that is the problem, plesse have it removed. We do face visiting obstacles during COVID-19, but an in office visit may be necessary. Earwax cannot be removed by video visit. If her doctor refuses an in-person visit, ask for another doctor, preferably a specialist, who will and prevent ear infection, then move forward to what additional hearing problem your Mom has.
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Reply to Patathome01
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I agree with everything lealonnie said. I use all those tactics on my mother. Sometimes it backfires. When I shake my head no or nod my head yes she says to me “what’s the matter, can’t you talk “? She HATES it when I use body language instead of talking. Now when she says that to me I just SHRUG my shoulders!
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Reply to elaine1962
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Can members of the family pool some money to pay for the hearing aids for her and get some relief for those who try to visit with her?? Does she have any income that would allow charging the aids and paying out monthly over a period of time? Or, does she say she can't afford it when really she could - she's just not interested in spending the money.

The weirdest thing about loss of hearing is how many of the people don't want a hearing aid. Once you start talking loud for them, you solve the problem, somewhat. Even when they don't understand what you said, they don't accept the misunderstanding as being 'their' problem and resolvable with hearing aids.

My uncle could come up with the craziest "I thought you said" things ever. Funny story - He got his hands on some hearing aids when one of his relatives died. He put them in his ears and made several remarks about hearing things better. While we were outside in the evening, he pulled them off, put them back several times. Then he said, what is that constant noise I hear. He tried to describe it since we didn't notice anything. Through trial and error, we figured out it was the locusts in the trees! He hadn't heard them in years! He pulled them out and decided if that's what hearing aids made you hear, he didn't need them. Who wants to listen to that kind of constant noise? We were already used to screaming around him, so he was accommodated the rest of his life - but it sure was draining on us.

Have you taken her to her doctor to ask them to check her ears for wax buildup? Especially if she has used Qtips for years to clean her ears. Ask doctor first if they clean ears - some do and some don't. You may have to take her to audiologist to have it done and while there do a hearing test to see if she needs the hearing aids.

You can discuss her financial issue to see if they are aware of any assistance program or a cheap way to get the devices. You will at least have the report from audiologist if you locate an assistance program to show what her hearing loss is. You also need to ask if they take whatever health coverage she has - medicare, medicaid, insurance. Do a search online for hearing aid assistance programs in your area.
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Reply to my2cents
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Our mother has otosclerosis ("Otosclerosis is the abnormal growth of bone of the MIDDLE ear. This bone prevents structures within the ear from working properly and causes hearing loss. For some people with otosclerosis, the hearing loss may become severe.") She developed this long ago, and I learned the most about it reading something Florence Henderson (mom on the Brady Bunch) wrote about it, as she had this too. It IS surgically correctable, but docs have to cover warnings, so when she was told they do one ear at a time, just in case, because it can cause balance problems, nope!

So she has worn hearing aids for MANY years. When she moved to MC, she still was using one (not much hearing left in the other ear, as this is progressive.) She was already forgetting to replace the battery and a few times misplaced it. Despite asking them to make an effort to schedule battery replacement every 2 weeks, they didn't. Sometimes I would have to go locate it in her room, sometimes I had to check it and replace the battery, sometimes when asked she would say she didn't wear one!

Anyway, the worst expected finally happened. It was in her sheets and it went through the laundry. I had to find a new provider (no response after multiple tries to contact the previous one) and he set her up with the newer model that is rechargeable. He made the mold for both to fit the one ear. I gave the charger to the nurse, so it wouldn't "disappear" and asked them to take it at night and charge it, then give it back in the morning. About 2 months later, the first one went AWOL, most likely taken out and wrapped in napkin or tissue and thrown away by staff. SIGH. The facility would not help cover the replacement cost (only $400 as it comes with warranty that covers loss too.) We set up the second one, but most/all of the time she isn't wearing it. She takes it out and they take it away.

Even before the first one was laundered, I purchased a Boogie Board on AM. It is an LCD screen that you can "write" on and erase with the push of a button. When she couldn't hear well enough, I would write it down. It was helpful to me AND the staff. Once it also went AWOL (hot pink, about 5x8, so it should be easy to find!) A few weeks later, it reappeared. Since we aren't allowed in, no clue if they still use it. She's also refusing to stand/walk now, so there's no way she can "port" it around now (used to keep it in the rollator basket.)

Recently they have allowed outdoor visits, but with masks and 6' apart. Knowing we couldn't "share" the Boogie Board, I bought a small white board at WM. It helped a bit, but the visit wasn't long as it is hard to communicate with her and it was HOT out (even under the canopy)!

You could try the amplifiers and see how that goes. One doc tried to use this with mom, even though she had the hearing aid in (on the wrong side for communicating with docs!) She wanted nothing to do with it, and this was about 5 yrs ago! If it works for your mother, great.

If not, try the Boogie or white board. Any conversations that have nothing to do with her, try to have those when she isn't present. If what needs to be said involves her, use the board. Also, ensure whoever is talking is in front of her. I believe my mother was capable of some minimal lip reading. She did complain to a staff member about the masks they have to wear, probably because she can't see the lips! Speak slowly, enunciate well and keep whatever you say to a minimum - wordiness can result in her missing a lot.

If she also has dementia, this will make it more difficult. Even if you can find affordable hearing aids or amplifier, she may refuse to use them. In addition to not hearing everything, she may be misinterpreting what she does hear. If she hasn't been Dxed yet, perhaps a good checkup and testing is in order.

Hopefully you can find a resolution. I know it isn't fun dealing with someone who has hearing loss AND is difficult!
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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So, my mother is almost 94 and pretty much deaf. For those who are saying things like "please don't be angry with her", they just don't get it. At all. Trying to communicate with a person who can't hear is THE most frustrating thing on earth, and when they refuse hearing aides, it takes the frustration factor up 10 notches. In this case, your mother can't afford hearing aides. Let's say she gets them for free; then there's a ton of other aggravations to consider: losing them and refusing to put them in are just two of dozens of possibilities for things that tend to go wrong with hearing aides. They are not a magic wand.

It sounds to me like your mother suffers from dementia. I say that because you're stating that she's throwing temper tantrums and refuses to believe you when you correct what she misheard. Unless you all have a history of a bad relationship with one another, why is she unwilling to listen to reason? Once dementia kicks in, there IS no reasoning with a person, whether they can hear you or not. Trust me, I know..........my mother has dementia AND she can't hear, making for a truly untenable situation. Even when she CAN hear me, she argues that I'm wrong. I brought her 3 bags of toiletries 2 weeks ago. Yesterday she tells me I brought her 'nothing' and she has 'nothing' and needs all sorts of things but can't remember what. She also needs new bras b/c all of her old ones have twisted hooks. She's gone through no less than 20 bras in the past 2 years alone, and there's nothing wrong with the bunch she has; truth is, she has stopped asking for help in getting dressed/undressed and can't manage putting on/taking off the bras herself. She lives in a local Memory Care ALF.

So my suggestion to you is to look into getting mom evaluated for dementia, first off. If she can't score well on the MOCA or SLUMs test, at least you know WHY she's acting this way in addition to not being able to hear.

Then take her to an ENT doctor to remove wax from her ear(s) as others have mentioned. When I took my mother to the ENT, he removed a gob of wax the size of a grape. Honestly. From then on, she was able to hear quite a bit better until age caught up with her and the hearing again diminished.

Get a large dry erase board that you can write on, for obvious reasons.

Sit close to your mother and speak in LOW tones; the hard of hearing cannot hear high pitched WOMEN'S voices especially; if you drop your tone to a man's level, she will likely hear you a bit better. Enunciate each word using your mouth to form the words so she can also lip read.

Try not to yell although the urge to do so is HUGE. Every time I raise my voice at my mother in an effort to be heard, she accuses me of yelling and says she can hear me just fine, in spite of saying WHAT? over and over and over again. See where I'm going with this? We lose. Either way. Accept that fact and do whatever you can to minimize YOUR heartburn. Which brings me to my last point:

Allow yourself to recognize your limitations as a human being and how frustrating this situation truly IS. Leave the room when the irritation factor gets too great. Minimize the lengthy conversations you try to have with your mother at the dinner table and use body language and head movements instead.

Wishing you the very best of luck in a very tough and grueling situation. I feel your pain. Daily.
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Reply to lealonnie1
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shelli382 Sep 4, 2020
Thank You for getting it! She has had her ears checked, No wax, just plan old hearing loss. Hearing aids are $5000.00. How can a woman who lives on only $1000.00 a month afford that? Most places consider them cosmetic? How is that possible when hearing is essential? Looks like a white board is next on my list. Thank you again.
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Assuming your mother has Medicare, when it's time for her to renew her policy for 2021, you might look at Medicare Advantage plans. Many of them have a hearing aid benefit--not to cover the whole cost, but to reduce it a lot using specific providers. If she joins AARP ($12/year, I think), she also can get a hearing benefit that reduces the cost of hearing aids quite a bit. That she can do at any time. And as others have pointed out, Medicare lets you have a free hearig exam once/year, I believe--might be once every 2 years. She could do that right away, and then you'd have a better idea of whar kinds of hearing aids/assistive devices might work. Then you can tackle the cost issues. As others have pointed out, she should first have wax removal if it's needed, and that sometimes can be done by her PCP. Otherwise, when she arrives for her test, she may be told to come back after the wax has been removed.
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Reply to caroli1
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My mothers hearing aides recently broke in half, 3 years old, so still insured. and it will take about two weeks to get them back. She said to me the other day, she wanted to leave, no one was talking to her. We do talk to her of course, but she could not hear us. Communication is not so good without them. I have to practically yell for her to hear me. It can be frustrating for both parties.
Is your mother on Medicaid ? They might pay for a pair of hearing aides, She will need a hearing test prier to getting them. I would call the local office and check it out. Good luck.
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Reply to earlybird
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I believe it's the Lions' Club that offers free hearing aids to those who qualify.

Given the friction that's existing though, you might want to consider a Beethoven option:  he used conversation books, writing out his thoughts and questions.    I know this can be tedious though. 

Does Mom type?  If so, someone could set up a document for her on an iPad or computer and she could type her questions, and family can respond with typewritten answers.  It is a tedious way, but I've never really found any good solutions to hearing deficits, nor have I experienced someone being really pleased with hearing aids, especially their outrageous costs.

For issues such as needs (food, water, blankets when she's cold, etc.), create a picture or written chart by which she can indicate immediate needs just by pointing.  That's what I did when my father was intubated and couldn't speak.    I made a cardboard backed chart with a photo of water, blanket, and other things he might need.   The  nurses used it once it was created; he pointed, they got what he needed.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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Please try to at least not be angry with her. Imagine the torment of being unable to hear. My brother flat-out stopped talking to our mother when her hearing was going, and it was unspeakably cruel.

Do research into possible low-cost or free hearing aids and definitely get her ears checked for wax. Until then, change the tone of your voice lower or higher rather than yelling. Volume isn't the problem when people can't hear -- it's the timbre of voices that's the problem.
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Reply to MJ1929
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You can start by taking her to her PCP to check for wax. Many times offices may be able to schedule another appointment in the office to have staff do a clean out. It needs to be done before an audiologist appointment as well
If she has dementia then she will not be able to follow directions to take the test. She needs to repeat spoken words and hit a clicker spwhen she hears sounds. So even if she gets the aids, they are very tiny and easily lost. Plus she may deny hearing loss and toss them in the trash.

Do be aware that some seniors can hear but their brains may not recognize words and process them
Start by spending $50 on those transistor hearing devices but instead of the earbuds, get a $5 over ear headphone. If she gets agitated, put them on to calmly talk to her. She may not want to wear it all day, but try to get her to use them for important times.
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Reply to MACinCT
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Make sure her ears are CLEAN from wax and buildup, first, then see what you can find for little $$ to aid her in hearing. DH finally got aids, which were a blessing, but came kind of late to the table--he was 'used' to ignoring us and so even with the aids (top of the line at almost $6K!!) he still needs to be facing the speaker to 'hear' them.

Get used to talking really loud and distinctly. I cannot talk to DH unless he is IN the same room and facing me. He misses about 50% of what is said, or he gets the wrong end of the stick and starts arguing with people--over something they did not say.

The kids and grandkids have made no adaptations to their level of speaking, partly b/c he doesn't live with THEM and they don't care if he can hear them. To me, it's a daily battle, having to search him out to talk to him.

Our neighbor got his HA's at Costco and has been perfectly happy with them. I know he paid much less than half what we did. Dh had to have the very best possible--so he couldn't come back and say "If I had bought better HA's..." he has the best possible, but the person has to make an effort to concentrate on the speaker.

Honestly, I feel sorry for DH, He misses all the funny, cute things the grands say. He hears people make comments (esp political ones) and he gets the wrong end of the stick and wow--do we have some blowups before things are straightened out.

The idea of a family 'go fund me' might help to offset the cost. Our son offered to pay for DH's HA's himself, it was making him nuts. I told him it wasn't the MONEY, it was the PRIDE.
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Reply to Midkid58
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Maybe all can learn sign language for at least basic things. Learn a few words a day and practice till it becomes habit then move on to a few more new ones.
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Reply to LCPELC
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Google free hearing aids for seniors and there is a list.
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Reply to LCPELC
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First - what state are in you? Check with your state's health and human services to see if they can point you to a charity program or social program to help with the cost of a hearing test and aids.

I'm sure your Mom feels left out and worried about what people are saying. When people get elderly, their brains deteriorate and don't work like a younger person's. They can get paranoid, resentful and scared. Just understanding that helps me cope with the bad times.

Can your Mom read and write? Maybe try communicating by writing things down sometimes.

As a last resort, are there any friends and relatives that can donate money? A little bit from a lot of people could add up to enough to help buy what she needs.
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Reply to RoxineM
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See if she has wax build up in her ears. It will cause hearing loss. Call your County disabilities dept and see if there are any programs available for Mom. Medicare won't pay for a hearing aide but they will pay for an exam

"Hearing & balance exams

covers diagnostic hearing and balance exams if your doctor or other health care provider orders them to see if you need medical treatment. You pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for your doctor's services for covered exams, and the Part B Deductible [glossary] applies."

Check her supplimental or Medicare Advantage.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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There are personal amplifiers that are much less expensive than HA's which can do a pretty good job for one on one conversations but someone a few months ago mentioned personal microphones (or voice amplifiers) that amplify what you are saying so at least you don't have to wear out your voice shouting and I thought that was brilliant, especially for anyone who is resistant or unable to try other devices.
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Reply to cwillie
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