Follow
Share

I meant to ask this a month ago. A most burned out daughter... Her appointment is tomorrow. What type of questions should I ask? I’m clueless.

Step 1 you have done - testing. Sounds like she only has some minimal loss. Be sure to get details on what type of hearing aid would be best for her type and level of loss. Some inexpensive ones might work for now, if she'll wear them!

Step 2 check various places and prices, plus warranties and return policies. Clearly from the responses here they vary widely! The longer the return policy the better, because some people just don't like them and refuse to wear them, wasting all that money!

Our mom has otosclerosis (I call it the Florence Henderson hearing problem as an interview she had provided the details!) This can sometimes be surgically corrected (mom was maybe in her 40s when found), but doctors should always inform you of surgery risks and when he told her they do one ear at a time, because if something goes wrong you could lose your balance by doing both at the same time, she sadly declined. She chose the hearing aid option. That was okay for many years, but it gets worse over time and now one ear is pretty much shot and the other isn't much better. Add to that dementia. Sometimes she remembers to put it in. Sometimes not. Often when I go to visit I have to search her room - find it on the end table, on the floor under the bed or table, IN the bedding... Sometimes when I ask where is it, she says she doesn't wear one. Other times the battery is dead, because she doesn't remember to put a new one in! Cupping it in the hand will make that one squeal if battery is good. My worst fear came to fruition recently. I got email from the MC nurse telling me it went through the washer and dryer with her bedding, NFG. The good news is her 3 years was up on insurance, so it should be mostly covered. The better news was this new model is molded to her ear canal and is rechargeable. Best of all is the price includes up to two replacements for about $400. Since only one ear is somewhat functional, both are being molded for that ear and I will keep the second one as a "spare". I also plan to ask the nurse to keep the charger and have staff take it at night to charge it and give it to her when she comes to breakfast in the morning! Hopefully this plan will work, as this will keep it charged up overnight AND keep it out of the bedding...

The audiologist we had been using did in-home repairs and replacements, but I was not able to get a response from him. I found another (sucked up 1/2 or more one day making calls any and everywhere!) and it turns out his office is between my home and her facility - about 5 minutes for him AND he came to her to do the mold and will be coming again to her to fit it and give instructions. The new one will be brought to her Monday afternoon. If I find this is no good or have any issues, I will update with another post. If all goes well, then the above are my recommendations!

One other thing - because the old hearing aid was often either dead, missing or just not working well enough, I bought a Boogie Board on Amazon to enable writing to her - it's an LCD screen with stylus and clear button. It doesn't save anything other than pen, paper and sanity for staff and me, but that can be a blessing in disguise! It can be an option for communication if the person won't wear a hearing aid, loses it, it needs charging, etc. So long as they can still read, it can be a useful tool. We had to get through a couple of medical appts between losing use of the old one and getting the new one. Fingers crossed for Monday afternoon!!!!
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to disgustedtoo
Report

My GP recommended Cosco. I bought mine there last year and they're pretty much what I expected. At first I felt as if my eardrums and brain were being assaulted to the point of being painful. It took several adjustments and getting accustomed to, but I do hear much better. I ordered the top of the line Cosco brand so that I can adjust them with my cell phone. The pair I bought had a 90 or 180 day return policy

My 94 yr old mother went from two mismatched aids that looked like gobs of bubblegum to high tech aids ($4000 a pair), but they were too complicated for her. Four years later the doctor ended up making them into standand hearing aids. We wasted about 3K by not knowing what we were doing.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to sudalu
Report

Get digital that are controlled by a computer at her audiologist. It is imperative that she see an audiologist regularly so that the aides can be monitored and she can have routine hearing tests. I have worn 1 digital aide for 15 years and love it.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Llamalover47
Report
JoAnn29 Apr 28, 2019
My DH does not do well with the Digital. His hearing loss is caused by nerve and bone damage behind the ear. He does better with Analog but they are no longer available.
(1)
Report
This is all good info for me, because I think I probably need hearing aids, but I have been reluctant to get any. So many people complain about their hearing aids and I'm worried about that awful feedback squeal, that I wondered if they were even worth it. Perhaps I should look into getting a Costco membership.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to OkieGranny
Report
MACinCT Apr 28, 2019
New hearing aids do not squeel like the old
(1)
Report
See 2 more replies
Check to be sure what your insurance will cover. I called my mom’s supplemental insurance company and they would only authorize one brand, TruHearing. She had to pay $1500 bit that was much less than the retail price!

I recommend you take the time to examine your choices, how easy it is to handle the devices, change the batteries, and insert them. These are all things Mom had difficulty with because of arthritis in her hands. They are small devices and can be fiddley if you have dexterity issues.

Factor in how often will the batteries need changed and that cost. Will insurance cover damage or replacement? Will water damage them if you forget and shower while wearing them?

Many styles have a smart phone app to adjust the volume, help locate a lost one etc. Is this important to you and will you use it? Mom's have this but she doesn’t have a smart phone.

make sure you understand how the devices work, and what your expectations are for getting them.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Frances73
Report
JoAnn29 Apr 27, 2019
I was afraid of this. We just got info that our BC is now TruHearing. My husbands hearing problem is caused by bone and nerve damage. He does not do well with Digitals. He does better with Analogs that are no longer being made. He was fitted for one that is as close to analog as u can get.
(1)
Report
PS: Spouse can adjust his hearing aides from his smartphone! That works great for him (70) but not for 92 yr old Mom. Glisse1121
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to glisse1121
Report

I see that Costco is mentioned. They are wonderful. Spouse who is 70 wears his and Mother who is 92 wears hers sometimes. She has vision problems, some dementia. Mother got hers after she spoke to my husband. We live close to Costco and husband just had them adjusted. They do require that occasionally. Mother got hers at Costco that is 100 miles away and so the distance can be a problem. They DO NOT SOLVE HEARING PROBLEMS for everything. I hear them squeak from across the room sometimes. Some tones are harder to hear. You also need to tweak them for noisy situations such as a restaurant where you want to block background noise. Can the person do this themselves? Also situations in the person's home are usually quieter. Out and about may seem extremely loud to the person. Some tones may not be heard at all. I have a cat that purrs and spouse cannot hear that at all even though he is next to the cat and it is loud. Nature sounds may not be able to be heard. If person goes out to hear music, they probably won't need their hearing aides at all! They are not a cure all but can be a help. If the person gets frustrated with putting them on or using them, it may be best to forget it. I'm not sure it was the best course of action for my Mom. She also has vision issues and that issue interacts with using the hearing aides. Costco does have a return policy and a replacement policy which some places do not. Spouse has the ones that need batteries and Mom has the ones where the batteries do not need to be replaced. The way they feel seems to be more of an issue for Mom - not for spouse - he loves going out for coffee with the guys - he can now hear everyone in the group whereas before he had them he couldn't. I wish you good luck because they are not a good fit for everyone. Glisse1121
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to glisse1121
Report
cherokeewaha Apr 28, 2019
If you hear the aides squeak, they may not be far enough down in the ear canal. My husbands 2nd set will do that if they are not pressed in firmly. And I have super sensitive hearing and they are like having a whistle go off in my ear when his does that. Even if he is in another room.
We got them at a Sams Club. They now carry them in some clubs. Free hearing test, financing if you qualify and several different styles and prices. We added 2 extra years of protection/replacement and the total was $3K for both of them and 3 years warranty. They do free adjustments for about 3 months too. Unfortunately, I our insurance didn't cover them. They only cover mail order ones.
(2)
Report
I was so impressed with KAISER hearing aids (for my client). Around $2,000 each. Includes ongoing 'adjustment' appts care w/o charge. Check policy.

* The technology is so advanced now, it is amazing.
* So much can be adjusted by the specialist in the 'settings'
* Wireless options - connect to cell phone, TV
* Google your question and see what others ask.
* Costco is likely a great resource; I'd go anywhere there is follow-up care - and find out what it includes.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to TouchMatters
Report

YEARS ago, you could rent hearing aids. You may want to check that out. Then if Mom doesn't wear them, you can return them.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report

There was a great article in the AARP magazine recently regarding the different types of hearing aids. You may be able to find it online or
on their website
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Braggdeb
Report

Go to Costco. They have no commissions to influence your choice. In many states there are laws governing the sale. They may act like they are wonderful offering a trial period but guess what! They are REQUIRED by law, at least here in OH. But Costco lets you have even longer. The brands they carry are made by the two most well regarded manufacturer's including Siemens. Get the easiest to use model; it will be worth the difference in price. Some now come with an electric charging cup...you pop them in at night, you're good to go in the AM, and the batteries last 9 months or so. No drugstore runs to buy those little buttons and fiddling with the hearing aid to take them in and /out AND the hearing aids self-adjust. The kind they suggest will be based on the hearing test...don't make it harder than it has to be, if you go to good people you won't have to worry about what to ask, they'll educate you and the questions will come. If you're not a Costco member, it's worth it for the savings compared to other places. The audiology places no doubt hate them. Your pocketbook will love them.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to gdaughter
Report

The thing I would add... is if you want to get them. Go to several places. By boyfriend (not my father who I help) went recently. The price differences were crazy even with insurance. Highest was about $13k and the lowest was around $2k before insurance paid anything. One place let him go a 30 free trial.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to ltushla
Report

My mom is 86 has vascular dementia and has had several pairs of hearing aides in the past due to severe hearing loss. She was recently fitted with hearing aides that are rechargeable! The best invention in the world! They are put into a little charger every night when she goes to bed, takes a nap or shower. She doesn’t have to remember to change batteries or open little door on aide every day which was becoming difficult with dementia and macular degeneration. If my mom needs more assistance someday, someone could easily put them into the charger.
Also check with insurance company, as many of them have a hearing aide discount. I signed my mom up for BCBS supplement to Medicare. I chose the additional vision/hearing option for a few extra dollars per month. With that benefit, she got a substantial discount for new hearing aides through TruHearing and they have an interest free 12 month payment plan. Good luck!
PS For anyone who’s person still uses a landline, contact Caption Call. They provide free phones which transcribe conversations on a large screen. It’s really helpful for the hearing-impaired community!
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Nimbus
Report
gdaughter Apr 27, 2019
If you get a Costco membership and their credit card, you can create your own payment plan of sorts and save on the cost for a quality hearing aid. Great point about the captioned phone, but I believe this is mandated program to provide them free, via the government and a signed statement from a health care professional attesting to the hearing loss. There are other companies as well, like Clear Caption and CapTel. Read on-line reviews before deciding as some customer service is better than others, and some is not available 24/7. In addition be especially aware of how it works with the phone system...if you have a landline, it is reliable, but anyone calling the impaired person has to dial an 800 number FIRST, so it is a little more cumbersome. The newer versions do not require that, BUT you must have internet access...and if the power goes out and the internet is down, you are out of luck.
(1)
Report
Thank you all so very much for your responses, advise & input. Mom’s hearing has been tested, however her loss isn’t that drastic. I think I’ll give it a try and see what epic moment will come from this..... I’ve had to learn just to laugh some of her antics off just to keep my sanity
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Attyrhand
Report

You don't say how old She is. Your profile says she has Dementia. If this is true its going to be hard to fit her correctly for hearing aids. It maybe a waste of money. I wouldn't even consider it unless her hearing loss is extreme. There are other things that can be used. TV ears are great. Someone mentioned on sight that they still have sm box type aids with earphones.

My husband is 72 and has been extremely hard of hearing since he was 3. When Mom first goes in, she should be examined by a Ear doctor. Her problem maybe built up wax. Then she will see an audiologist, this is the tricky part. She will be sat in a small room. Like a sm walk in freezer. The audiologist will ask her to repeat back a word. She will ask her to out a finger up when she hears a sound. Then its fitting for the mold. When the hearing aid comes back, it will be placed into the ear and then balanced. Mom is going to have to be able to tell the audiologist if the sound is too low, too high or just right. Yes, there are volume controls but with the Digital, they only go so far up and down from the comfortable setting. Like said, is she able to get batteries in. Arthritis and shaking make this hard. Those controls are also hard for elderly to work. Then after all is said and done, Mom refuses to wear them. My Mom broke the tubing by pulling the mold out wrong.

The wife of a man I know put her aids in a microwave to "get them warm". With Dementia, she may hide them, throw them away.

My husband wears his aid from the time he gets up to the time he goes to bed.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report

Can you hear me now?
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to SparkyY
Report
SparkyY Apr 26, 2019
I just somehow deleted the rest of my answer to you. I did that in another post and it ended up posting twice. I was basically just saying I didn't mean to end with my witty little post someone came to the door and it posted before I could change anything. Long story short, I thought mom could benefit from a hearing aid but by the time I got everything together her Dr said and I had to agree that she wouldn't be able to to answer the questions good enough for them to get a good reading on how her hearing really was. Half the time I think she can't hear me the other half I can tell she did it's just taking longer for her brain to work out what I said
(2)
Report
See 1 more reply
This is something you can answer yourself all about self managing...
Will she recognize when batteries need changing?
Can she change the domes and wax guards plus recognize when they need to be changed?
Will she remember to keep them out of wet places?
Is she already motivated that she needs hearing aids or does she deny that she is hard of hearing?
Will she stow them properly? My mom decided to just put them in her pocket and the ended up in the wash

IF you answer no to any of the above then kiss those expensive aids goodbye. That is unless you plan to supervise 100% of the time
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to MACinCT
Report
gdaughter Apr 27, 2019
Well, alleviating the battery is possible with the rechargables, BUT you are right about remembering to put them in the plugged in charging cup. Perhaps the caregiver will want to keep them in her possession and only use them when she is present and take them with her. My mother has dementia but dad keeps track and makes sure they are charging; but sometimes mom won't give them up. I can't get hold of them to clean them easily because I guess the good part is she does wear them. She would see me if I sneaked in to get them after she went to sleep. So sometimes when we are out getting her hair done, we'll go into Costco and hand them over. They are so kind and understanding there, at ours.
It's a challenge to be sure.
(1)
Report
See 1 more reply
Think about her ability to manage inseting the hearing aid and changing the batteries, just because tiny in the ear HAs are available doesn't mean they are the best option for the elderly. And ask about the cost to insure them.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to cwillie
Report

Ask how many hours hearing aids should be optimally worn.

Whether the price is negiatable

Ask what to do if your Mom doesn’t like them and wants to return them (grace period?).

Ask whether there is insurance or replacement coverage available.

My Mom’s heading aids from Costco were great.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to ACaringDaughter
Report
gdaughter Apr 27, 2019
We became Costco members ONLY for the hearing aids for mom. They have become a blessing in my life. Not only the kindness of everyone I have ever encountered, but their support...from those understanding folks in the hearing aid dept to issues when my dad used their car buying program and especially when he lost the bonus cash card with over $600 value on it. And while not the most convenient, you get the lower gas prices. And when you're exhausted, they have some ready to heat or serve meals...and the elders like the samples and get exercise walking the aisles:-) Plus...if you take an elder who has a parking permit...you can park closer LOL.
(2)
Report

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter