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I'm looking for help making a decision about the seemingly endless replacement of Mom's hearing aids. She is 94 and living in a memory care facility, recently recovered from Covid, and is currently in hospice care. After a discussion today with a hospice counselor, I've learned that Mom has improved to the extent that she possibly will be taken off hospice care at her next evaluation! That was the good news. The bad news was in addition, I've been told she's lost yet another hearing aid. After having replaced them 5x since she was placed in memory care 3 years ago, I'm exasperated. I don't need to tell you how expensive hearing aids are.


I understand and recognize the consequences of not replacing the hearing aids. With verbal interaction curtailed, the rate of her dementia will accelerate. I don't want Mom to feel cut off in her interactions with others, etc. I do have compassion. There is money available for another replacement set of hearing aids, $4K, that comes with a one-time reduced replacement for $250. As I've said, we've done this replacement cycle multiple times. This doesn't count the many times I have searched her room with a fine-toothed comb and actually found the missing aids, but more often than not we never find them. It just feels hopeless now. Am I crazy to keep throwing money at hearing aids? Or am I cruel to say "Enough!"


Mom is gradually failing with her ADLs. She gets showering assistance, needs help occasionally with toileting, only partially ambulatory; sometimes okay with her walker but sometimes needs a wheelchair. I have enlisted the help of the staff to help Mom remove and put on her hearing aids, but still this happens. I wouldn't be surprised if they're not getting flushed down the toilet. How else could they completely vanish?


Has anyone else had a similar conundrum, and what did you do?

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Imho, facilities keep hearing aids in a container for the patient for a reason when they're not in use. I know since I was just in the hospital and then kept my one hearing aid in a secure container to prevent loss.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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Mom kept losing her shoes, glasses, teeth or anything that was removed and set aside. I caught several of of the other residents helping themselves to items in her dresser. I saw one woman come thru with one of her shoes on and yes, it was hers because I put her name on the side of the rubber sole. I asked an aide to retrieve it and check the womans room for the other shoe and they refused. Said they were not allowed to check thru their property. I purchased hair brushes, combs, lotions, lip balm constantly. My brother found her glasses on someone and took them. They had a very distinguishing frame. Her laundry was supposed to be put in her hamper we bought and had a sign hanging over it that said family does laundry but, her clothes started disappearing. I kept some extras here and had to replace undies, socks, bras, gowns, etc.

Your moms hearing aids may be in other clients rooms. I know how much these things cost. At her age, I wouldn't buy another expensive set. Do as one of the answers suggested and keep them with you to use during visits or dr appts. I think WalMart has cheap ones now. I would invest in them. I wish you the best.

My husband is on his 2nd set and he will not clean them as they specified when purchased. His first set was $5K and he would wear them in the rain and refused to put a raincoat with a hood on it over them. Had to have them fixed 2 times and that was $500. They finally just quit all together and when the neighbors started calling to check on me because I had to yell for him to hear, he agreed to get another set. Another $3K and multiple trips to have them reset due to ear wax.
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Reply to cherokeewaha
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My Mom has only been in the MC facility for a little over a week now. She got brand new $6K hearing aids before she went there and they must be put on the charger every night. Mom's dexterity is not good enough to place the small hearing aids properly into the charger, so I've repeatedly asked the staff to help and take them out of her ears at bedtime and put them on the charger. Most of the time they don't even take them out of her ears and she ends up wearing them all night, which is certainly NOT recommended. Then they have to be charged the next day so she goes all day without them. I have a camera in her room and one night I observed the caregiver helping her into bed without removing the hearing aids. So, I called the facility and asked them to please check to see if "Mom forgot to take them out and put them on the charger." Soon, a caregiver came into the room, woke Mom up to remove the hearing aids and then spent about 10 minutes trying to figure out how to put them on the charger! The caregivers have not proven to be too reliable so far.

I bought her one of those cords/wires that clip to her hearing aids and attach to her shirt but have not been able to get to see her to put them on. Hers get knocked off when she puts reading glasses on or takes them off. And, of course, masks are deadly on hearing aids!
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Reply to texasrdr22
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Try getting her Lyric hearing aids. The hearing aid specialist places the aids in her ears, and they stay there. No need to take them out. When the batteries go out, the hearing aid specialist will remove them and replace them with new hearing aids. (They are disposable.) You will need to pay an annual fee, and she will need to go to the hearing aid specialist periodically. Battery life can last months, depending on how much ear wax is in the ear.
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My friend lost one the first week in memory care! Then the third week one was dropped in orange juice! Took it in and was fixed for 400. I also at that time from audiologist bought a pocket talker - 150. It has either an ear bud or over the head hearing. It works well! You might purchase that and see if you can keep it from getting lost! I understand your frustration!!
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disgustedtoo Mar 21, 2021
Seems like every doc office is set up on the wrong side - mom used to wear one in both ears, but eventually stopped when the right side didn't benefit, so only the left. The dentist office, most of the "stations" in the Mac Deg treatment, doctor exam tables and desks for discussion are all (in our case) set up so they were on mom's right side!

The first doctor we switched to when moving her to MC near me tried that headset. You'd think it was some kind of torture device! She practically threw it at the doc! My solution for times she had the hearing aid in but couldn't quite grasp what was being said was to use the "Boogie Board" to write things down, she read it and then responded verbally.

IF the headset or something similar works, GREAT! I'd be all for that, but my mother wouldn't let anyone put that on her again.
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I feel your pain as this same scenario played out with my dad. And on top of that I would buy him a new pair and then he wouldn't wear them and take them out and lose them. Finally, I just let the nurses lock them up in the medication cart and if he asked for them, they were there. Of course he didn't ask for them towards the end. It reaches a point where you have to decide if it's worth the money and aggravation.

And as far as where they go, that is the big question. We had signs put up in my dad's room by the laundry hamper for staff to check all pockets before doing laundry. I think one pair he wrapped in tissues and tossed. So we also had them checking the trash but they quit doing that as it was probably too much to ask. Of course he was in private pay facility so the LTC center wasn't responsible.

Can she hear a little bit? Does she ask for them if she doesn't have them? If she can hear some and doesn't seem to miss them, then I would be hesitant to buy another pair.
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Reply to Harpcat
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(Assuming we all get back to normal at some point)

How often do you normally visit her?

What I'm thinking is that you could get a new pair and keep them in your own custody. Obviously this is not going to work if you can't get to visit her from one month to the next; but it is a reasonable thing to do, to wear them for particular conversations and for set periods of time - as opposed to day in day out, every day.

As with laundry, discussed a few days back on a different thread, hearing aid loss is so common it's taken for granted. That doesn't make it acceptable, but it is an absolute PITA to solve.

What has the NH had to say for itself? More than "shrug", I hope?
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disgustedtoo Mar 21, 2021
More than "shrug" = No.

Based on my experience, they just consider this personal property and they aren't responsible for any of that.

Been there, done that. I didn't even complain when told her hearing aid(s) went through the laundry. It was when the brand new replacement went AWOL in less that 2 months that I ask for help with the replacement cost (these came with one time each replacements for about 400$.) The staff was more than aware of what I went through to find another provider and get her replacements. It took weeks to get it all done (had to get through several appointments without them too - fun with Mac Deg and all the testing involved, and PCP staff trying to give mom the memory test!)

Since these were rechargeable, I left the responsibility for the charge with the nurse - suggested taking the hearing aid at night before bed, charge it overnight and return it to her in the morning. That would avoid the "laundering" and being left in her room (under bed, in bed, on or under end table, etc.) So, it's not like they weren't aware of it!

As for OP keeping them in her custody, bringing them for visits, that kind of defeats the purpose. Hearing loss will get worse no matter what, but it will degrade faster when not "used." Plus one of the nice things about living in a facility is socialization. They can't socialize if they can't hear! One of my last visits before lock down, I met a newer resident. She sat at our table to chat a bit and told me she thought mom was stuck up or something because she wouldn't respond to statements or questions. I told her mom's hearing was very bad, not like she'll remember that though. The problem was after the newest loss they kept taking it away if she took it out, so it was OUT more than it was IN. Again, defeats the purpose to having the hearing aid! Just MO.
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Are there less expensive ones available that work. I just looked up inexpensive hearing devices on Safari search engine. There were some, have no idea if they would be helpful, but claim a money back guarantee. Problem is you couldn't attach a lanyard. Check these out also, hearing aid lanyards. Good luck. It seems to me that buying them if they keep getting lost isn't going to help her hearing.
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Reply to Moxies
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I took care of an elderly person for a long, long time and in her case, her false teeth kept missing. I replaced them once or twice as the funds were there. But when it happened again, I had to face the fact she was very old and it would keep happening again and again. To keep replacing them in her condition was just burning up money for nothing. I did NOT replace them. You're mother is 94 and in memory care and in hospice. Please, just make her time as nice as you can but do NOT be a fool - accept what is and do NOT replace them.
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disgustedtoo Mar 21, 2021
You have SUCH a way with words.... NOT.

OP IS NOT A FOOL.

Plus, "I've learned that Mom has improved to the extent that she possibly will be taken off hospice care at her next evaluation!"

If her mother is going off hospice and can return to some kind of "normalcy", that would include socializing and interacting with others, including staff. Hearing CAN be very important in keeping the elders more active and engaged.

Others have provided some good and useful suggestions. Your comment is neither useful or good.

OP, if you read these messages, understand this is TYPICAL for this person (sometimes posts under other usernames, all ending in 2166.) Please ignore, as most posts from this one are rude and obnoxious, hardly useful.
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Sounds exactly like what happened with my mom. She lost 3 over the course of 5 years. While I understand the cost (believe me!), my worry about not replacing them was increased confusion and even more memory loss from not having the hearing aids. My mom's hearing loss is pretty severe and she gets agitated when she can't understand what people are saying.

Check with your mom's audiologist to see if the model she has can have little clips attached. We did that with my mom's and now have a small wire with little necklace-like fasteners on each hearing aid. The wire has a clip that can attach to her shirt, so if she pulls one out, it doesn't get lost. The only problem we've had is the caregivers pull her hearing aids out by the fastener and have broken them a few times. Fortunately, the warranty has usually covered the repair. Good luck!
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Reply to patiencewithaP
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This is a timely topic! Just had my dad reevaluated and his hearing aids upgraded with a programmable kind (Signia) that can be paired with a microphone for my mom (Parkinson's) to wear on her clothing, so he can hear her when she needs help. But he can't make the controls work (early Alzheimer's, general orneriness), so we recalibrated the settings and volume so it's just mid-range. But now he's angry he can't control the volume. We go back on Tuesday for a check-in and after reading your advice, I may just try something cheaper from Amazon.

I'm new to the world of hearing aids and now I see there's much more than I knew. Thanks!
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Frances73 Mar 20, 2021
The speed that technology updates is frightening to me as I age. My mother couldn’t remember how to operate the TV remote. A friend just installed a thermostat with a remote app for her parents, now they can adjust it from afar when Dad messes it up. At some point I am going to become a Luddite and stop using tech!
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I stopped the replacements years ago with my 98 year old mom. She cannot do a test any longer due to brain processing the language. So I got her one of those sound amplifiers for $50 and headphones instead of ear buds. Since she is in MC and acts like a toddler, I do not bother with replacing small things. The amplifiers are offered by staff if she wants them and I can slip the headphones on her if I want to TRY to have meaningful conversations.
The only thing I will do once COVID is done with is bring her to someone for ear wax removal.
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I'm convinced the exorbitant pricing of hearing aids is a racket, although part of the cost is probably the result of people wanting them to be tiny and inconspicuous. We've bought the inexpensive devices from Amazon for our parents, which worked quite well.
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Reply to jacobsonbob
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My husband has hearing aids that cost us $10K. He never wore them.

Now he is past the point of being able to.

So, we live, somehow, without them. We can't have conversations. Oh well...

I'm ok with it. At this point I just want to make it through each day.
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disgustedtoo Mar 20, 2021
Can he still read? Even when mom's hearing aid was available and working, the "Boogie Board" helped a lot. Her hearing was REALLY bad and sometimes she couldn't understand, so I'd write it on the Board, she'd read it and respond verbally. It made communication a bit easier, the staff loved it and the dental hygienist actually bought some to use with their elder clients!
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Check with her medical insurance or your homeowner's insurance to see if "loss" an be covered. Also, talk with the memory care unit that you are concerned about the frequent "misplacement" of her hearing aids. Seems they should bear some of the financial responsibility.
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Harpcat Mar 20, 2021
It would be her mother's renter's insurance not the daughter's insurance since she lives in memory care. If it isn't a medicaid funded memory care, then no they don't bear responsibility. Learned that the hard way.
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We bought renters insurance and added hearing aids as a scheduled item. We put the $6k value in the policy and that means if they are lost or stolen while in the retirement home - the policy will cover them for full replacement value. Cost is about $250/yr, but worth it.
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I feel your pain ! My dad lost his h.a. Several times while in MC too! I asked that each shift new caregivers came on the previous shift would note where they were. Didn’t happen- everyone claimed ignorance. I’d get upset, turn his room upside down n sometimes find them. The cg wouldn’t check his pockets carefully and many were washed then ruined. With lockdown Dad went without them the first couple weeks till we pulled him out of there. You can get insurance for replacements, but it’s still costly. I tried calling before each new shift came on to check, but his head would slide against the recliner or he’d brush his fingers over his head, or put a hat off and on. There is no easy answer, unfortunately. For the $ one pays to place a loved one in MC you’d think someone could keep up with it. Once dad was out we didn’t have this problem. Sure they’d fall out or he’d hide them somewhere but our cg found them quickly! I realize not everyone can take their loved one out. Best of luck- you’re a devoted, loving daughter to stay after it! God bless you and your mom!
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Reply to DadsGurl
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If her loss is mild to moderate, try aides bought on Amazon. My mom breaks hers. I replace with similar in the $50 per ear range. Mom seems content, and I do not have $$ angst.
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My mother threw her hearing aids in the trash as she said they didn’t help. The cost was $8,000 and the replacement warranty had just run out. She didn’t wear them half of the time (although they did help). She couldn’t change the batteries so she had to rely on AL staff to change them. She’s 95 and often doesn’t realize that they needed changing. Fortunately I kept her old ones and she’s using them when she wants to which is 50% of the time. I doubt that we will replace her hearing aids again. Quality hearing aids are the only ones that work well with someone her age with severe hearing loss.
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Frances73 Mar 20, 2021
It's incredible how tiny and difficult to use hearing aids have become. I wish the designers would consider age and dexterity and make some with that in mind. Mom couldn’t get hers open to change the batteries, and half the time couldn’t figure out how to put them in. Her insurance only covered one model so we were stuck.
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I too would have a problem with not replacing them, so I'd look into less expensive replacements if possible.

https://clark.com/health-health-care/hearing-aids/
https://www.costco.com/hearing-aid-center.html

I also find it interesting that some models have an app for finding lost hearing aids (probably not the less expensive models).

https://www.truhearing.com/more-resources/what-to-do-if-you-lose-a-hearing-aid/

I wonder if any of the clips would work with a Tile or similar tracking device?

Then, I wander off into weird solutions like a "text me a picture of Mom's hearing aids" promotion and a case of M&Ms a week so anyone who sends you a picture gets a pack as a treat.
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Reply to Frebrowser
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Yup--hearing amplifier from Amazon ('Mighty Ear'). The one I bought has an on/off button and a volume wheel--would she be able to handle that? It comes with earbuds, but I bought a cheap headset too, so that she wouldn't lose it. She still has to be reminded to use it, but seems to work well as long as there isn't a lot of background noise (for example, if my dogs were playing and my mom was using the device to talk to me she found it amplified the dog noise too). I think there are some models that come with a holder and pocket clip, too.
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Reply to ElizabethY
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Super ear is a $50 amplifier that comes with ear buds and headphones .Sound is adjustable and is used in hospitals and nursing homes. Worth a try!
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I entered “clips to help with loss of hearing aid” on Amazon. Lots of results there. Would any of those work?
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Amywoody Mar 20, 2021
I've had good results with a clip product called Oticlips - available through Amazon's shopping site and probably other providers. You attach the two loop ends around the hearing aids and then clip to the wearer's clothing. If your LO can do this on her own or obtain help from staff, it's a good solution.

Trust me - I know how expensive hearing aids are. Even with the loss/replacement insurance that may be available, you still have to pay several hundred dollars when you lose them. Makes the <$20 price of the Oticlips well worth it!
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My mother's place threw out her hearings aids by accident, and after getting new ones she lost one within a week. (Fortunately, it was found.)

Someone here told me about little clips you can attach to the aids and clip the other end of the string to a shirt or collar. I never got around to trying it (she refuses to wear her aids now), but it was brilliant. It's what we used when our kids had pacifiers, so it'd be great for a hearing aid.
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