My Mom refuses to wear hearing aids and I physically cannot talk louder. Any advice? -

My Mom refuses to wear hearing aids and I physically cannot talk louder. Any advice?


Mom has Alz, she's had a stroke which caused a huge hearing problem. I spent $4,000 on the state of the art hearing aids. She refuses to wear them. I have a speech impediment b/c I was born w/ Cerebral Palsy. The last time I visited Mom, I totally lost my patience w/ her. She keeps saying "TALK LOUDER" which is something I cannot physically do. Advice?? Mom is well cared for in an Alhz, unit of an assisted living facility. From what I read, she is late stage 4/early 5. How often should I visit her?

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If your Mom can hear wearing the hearing aids, but refuses to use them... instead of talking louder, talk softer to a point where you can barely hear yourself. My Dad and I did that with my Mom, we were just mouthing words and Mom was afraid she was missing out on something :)

That would only work if the rest of the staff at the continuing care center would do the same thing.
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We too have thousands of dollars worth of hearing aids in a drawer. P.S. -- They can be donated to the Lions Club.

Mom (97 with dementia) made it clear long ago that the problem with her hearing is ours and not hers. So I talk as loud as I can for as long as I can and then just tell her I can't shout any more and put my hand over my throat. Generally, she nods that she understands.

Perhaps wearing portable karaoke equipment would work. I looked on Amazon and they have a "Singing Machine" for $45.95. Tempting.

Bottom line: Do your best, with love, and then let it go. Blessings for peace in this trying situation.
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Visit her often enough to satisfy your own pleasure in seeing her, and your conscience (providing your conscience is healthy and not into martyrdom.)

I start to miss my mom if I haven't seen her for a week or so. I feel a prick of conscience if I haven't seen in two weeks.

It would be VERY frustrating not to be able to talk to Mom. Mine is having decreasing hearing and that is hard to deal with. I sit on her "good" side, get her attention, speak directly to her, and repeat the words she doesn't get. It's hard.

But I still love her, she's still my mom, I still want to be with her regularly.

If the hearing loss is causing you a lot of stress and frustration and you think cutting down the number of visits would help, give it a try. Or visit when you can be with her without a lot of talking. Sit with her during a movie, or bingo, or some entertainment. You can hold her hand or put your arm around her shoulder or just smile at her.

Can your mom still read? I wonder what would happen if you went in with a white board and marker, with "Mom, I have a sore throat today. I will write my answers, OK?" Might that relieve some of the stress?

I don't think the hearing situation is likely to improve. I hope you can find some ways to still be present for you mother in ways that aren't too stressful for you.
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Try bringing a large pad and bold pen with you. Every time she says talk louder, start writing your responses.
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What an impossible situation! It must make you despair.

I was able to speak more loudly but I used to find it exhausting - and as well as that, the drag of having to repeat every sentence made me reluctant to start a conversation sometimes. Especially because I began to suspect that it wasn't exactly that my mother couldn't hear: she'd just assume she couldn't, and then when I repeated myself would quite often complete the sentence for me. It used to drive me to distraction.

What I started to do was make sure she was looking at me and paying attention, then pause, then speak slightly more slowly than normal but at normal volume. It kind of worked. No miracles, though, I'm afraid; but I hope something like that might help.
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People who have bad teeth get dentures. Bad vision, get glasses. Bad hearing? BLAME EVERYONE ELSE OR MAKE THEM YELL/REPEAT. I dont chew food for others, nor do I read to them unless they are blind. My sig other is told that I will not enable him because he wont get his age-related hearing deficit checked. I have been hearing impaired since age 10, got an implanted hearing aid MedEl (NOT a cochlear implant) about 8 years ago, in my 40's. I do not repeat myself more than once, do not raise my voice, and don' t criticize people who dont/ wont wear their HA. I can get away with this because I wear my HA and dont ask people to speak up because I cant hear. I have had people write things for me if really important and I still dont hear or understand. Most people tell me the HA is uncomfortable or doesnt work anyway. Also, as a health care worker, yelling violates privacy laws and embarrasses patients. I agree totally with using a normal or softer voice. Higher pitched (female) voices are first sounds to be lost. I have been very successful lowering my voice and speaking directly into HOH person's ear. Private and effective. Good luck to all of you!
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My mom has severe hearing loss and has great hearing aides collecting dust in the nice box they came in. She refuses to use them too. I walk in her house and her t.v. is on 90. If you find a way to have your mom wear them let me know. Good luck.
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Good luck with that! I bought mom 6000 dollar hearing aids and she flushed them down the toilet. Her ears have way too much wax and I take her to the ear doctor and she won't let them touch her. She is 95 and I have been her caregiver for over 5 years. I just make sure she is well fed and don't even try much to talk to her as she gets mad at me because she can't hear me. I love her and try to help her. But that soundless world she lives in is hard on her and me. She does read close caption to watch TV.
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My father, who had dementia, wore his hearing aids, but was always messing with them. He said they didn't work. I don't think it was his ears that weren't working, but his mind. He could hear, but not understand.

My mother also has hearing problems sometimes, but hears perfectly sometimes. I think dementia is setting in. Sometimes her brain is engaged and she hears, and sometimes her brain is tuned out. Then sometimes, it seems like it is the tone of your voice, i.e. high pitched vs deep pitched.

My husband, who has early onset dementia, doesn't always understand or seems to not hear me. Can't blame old ears. With dementia, the line blurrs between not comprehending and not hearing, and hearing aids don't fix comprehension.

Besides, technology isn't always that great. I'm in my 60s and need to wear progressives, but they bother my migraines. I wear bifocals, but they don't cover all the ranges I need. I can only imagine the complexities that go into hearing all the different sounds, i.e. loud/soft, high/low, background, etc. Then factor in a brain that is not working correctly, and you have quite mess.
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Reference the eyesight/glasses, tooth loss/denture analogies - it isn't quite as simple as that. Those devices immediately and precisely - more or less precisely, anyway - replace the lost faculty. With hearing aids it doesn't work like that.

Hearing is a much more complex process than just sound reaching the inner ear and then the brain, because the brain then has to process what it has heard. The trouble is that because we lose hearing so gradually, and because it's such a nuisance to correct, by the time we get round to buying hearing aids the loss is going to be very marked and, even more to the point, the processing part of the brain will be rusty and cobwebby. It takes time, patience and brain retraining to get your aids to work well, and to be honest if you're fed up and old and tired anyway you're just not likely to be in the mood to put in the necessary diligence. That's why so many of these insanely expensive gizmos get put away in a drawer and are never seen again.

Think of it not so much as putting on a pair of glasses as turning on a bright light. Where before there was an absence of sound, there is suddenly a heck of a racket - it's uncomfortable, and your poor brain is wrenched back into action and forced to deal with a job it hasn't been doing for years.

A good audiologist, or a really good commercial hearing technician if you're lucky enough to have one, will take your elder carefully through the process. Be there at the appointment, write down the instructions, and follow them conscientiously - or as conscientiously as your elder will co-operate with, at least, and good luck with that.

Broadly, the trick is to reintroduce the concept of hearing gradually. Routine and repetition are the key. The aids go in after your morning wash. Actively listen *to* something - music, a favourite radio programme, something you want to hear. Do that for an hour, gradually increasing the length of time. Vary the sounds being listened to. Keep at it. Come the Oh Happy Day, the benefit of hearing something you want to hear will outweigh the discomfort and inconvenience of having to fiddle about and stick bits of hard, noisy plastic in your ears; and after that it's a less daunting challenge to keep going.

And be a good patient/customer - go back regularly to have them adjusted, keep your devices properly clean, keep zillions of spare batteries, etc.

And, by the way, there was a report in the BMJ the other week on various methods of dewaxing ears, and it turns out that audiologists and ENT surgeons don't rate *any* of them - syringing, hooking, drops, they chucked out the lot and dismissed them as either useless or potentially damaging. They didn't say what you *should* do, mind; other than let your ears clean themselves, don't stick anything in them that's smaller than your elbow, and if wax gets really impacted they'll deal with it.
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