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My mom's place just called to tell me one of her hearing aids is missing. She has never messed with her hearing aids, so I doubt she's done anything with it intentionally.


The MC lost her original aids just about six weeks ago when one of the caregivers admitted to putting them in a napkin in her pocket and accidentally throwing them away. That little mistake cost the place $4900, but I ended up paying $500 of it when they balked at the cost.


Now they're claiming Mom lost one of the new hearing aids this morning, and while they're still looking for it, I'm not optimistic they'll find it. Of course I can't prove it didn't just fall out, but I seriously doubt my mom took it out because she literally never does. She isn't even aware they're in there and can't put them in herself. She told the aides she gave it to her invisible husband.


Her memory care has gotten sloppy with their protocols since Covid, and when I'm not able to be there a few times a week I can't stay on top of every little thing like I did before they locked everything down. They're supposed to check that she has her hearing aids with every shift change, and when the first pair disappeared I determined that 48 shift changes had happened before they figured out they were missing.


Now I'm wondering what's to keep a replacement hearing aid from disappearing, and the next one and the next one? Should I even replace this lost one and just have her stick with the remaining one for now? She's stone deaf and also nearly blind, so I don't want to isolate her more than her limitations already do, but spending $2200 on yet another hearing aid on top of the nearly $9,000/month we're already paying is painful.


How do you all handle hearing aids and dementia patients?

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How will you feel when the next one disappears after you buy one now? This goes on non stop with my friend; costs a bundle.
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MJ1929 Sep 21, 2020
Exactly my concern. Mom isn't made of money, and at $2500 apiece, I'm not doing this multiple times.
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As a former RN and nursing home worker, I believe that there is something Very Wrong with a high value item repeatedly disappearing.

Insist on seeing the Director of Nursing. If she won't see you, go above her head.

D
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disgustedtoo Sep 21, 2020
My mother only wore one hearing aid. They knew about it. I finally did ask them to schedule changing the battery once every 2 weeks - add it to the chart or something! Seriously, she was mobile and could do most self-care, they couldn't do this for her? Anyway, I was the one who would have to look for it, check the battery, replace it, etc. That went on for some time until I get notice that it went through the laundry. If I worked in a place like that, I would shake the bedding out before leaving the room - who knows what might be in there!!! Things you don't want in your laundry... for sure.

Bought a pair, set up both for the same ear, and delivered one. It didn't take but a few months for that to go AWOL. Most likely she took it out, wrapped it in tissue or napkin and it got tossed after a meal. In her case, they came with loss warranty - $400 would buy a new one. THEY refused to even consider one wooden nickel.

So, we deliver #2. Last I knew, they kept taking it away from her, because she would keep taking it out. Well, a lot of good that hearing aid is doing her!! Sadly, before lock down I met a new resident. That resident thought my mother was stuck up or something, because she wouldn't respond. So, it's pretty clear our expensive little investment is just collecting dust.
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Go to Amazon.com, and select one of their "hearing devices" for about a hundredth or so of the cost of a hearing aid. This is what my sister and I did for our mother after a hearing aid was lost. IMHO the hearing aid industry in this country must be one of the worst and most overpriced "rackets" in existence. For one thing, does anyone really need for a hearing aid to be as small as a wad of chewing gum? (The smaller it is, the more likely it is that it will get lost or thrown away!)
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MJ1929 Sep 23, 2020
Agreed -- it's a complete racket. There's no reason this technology should cost this much.
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Some hearing aides need to be in pairs to work properly. On mine, a button on the right ear increases volume for both aids, and a button on the left decreases volume for both. If one is lost I can't control volume. There are other ways the newer hearing aids communicate with each other as well. So living with just one may not work, although it may be possible to have a single hearing aid re-programmed to work as a single.
Mom should have gotten a storage case with the aids. Put her name and room number on it. Any time they are removed they should go in the case. Every time! It's much harder to misplace, or throw away, the case than the hearing aids. Wrapping them in a tissue and sticking them in a pocket is absolutely irresponsible, and actually quite stupid.
Best if luck.
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Reply to swanalaka
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MJ1929 Sep 21, 2020
Going in the case is their protocol, and clearly they don't follow it.
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Not replacing it will isolate her. Try a hearing aid check chart and ask if staff will use it. Each time someone, even janitorial, enter the room they must look to see if the hearing aids are in her ears. Should one/both be missing - no trash leaves the room and no laundry leaves the room until found. Have a laminated sign ready to hang on the door if it becomes lost that says HEARING AID IS MISSING-DO NOT DUMP TRASH OR REMOVE LINENS/CLOTHING UNTIL FOUND.

This has to be a problem for other patients, too. Perhaps suggesting this would help everyone. On that issue where the employee admitted to losing them, they should not have balked at one penny of the price of new hearing aids. The employee admitted tossing it in the trash.

Does mom wear glasses all the time? Maybe see if there is a way to connect the aid to the glasses with some sort of leash or lanyard.
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MJ1929 Sep 21, 2020
Your suggestion IS their protocol -- they just aren't following it.

They called this afternoon to say they've found the hearing aid, so crisis averted for the moment. I just have to stay on top of them, I guess.
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I just had another thought...if the hearing aid situation won't work, what about a unit that is small and the user wears small headphones. That's way harder to lose. Check out the hearing loss assn of america.
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jacobsonbob Sep 24, 2020
Yes, this is the sort of device to which I was referring in my comment yesterday. We got one for my father several years ago, and it made a big different for him--for something like $25!
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I can relate! I bought insurance on Mom's $5000 h/aids. It replaced the first one she lost. I then paid monthly for the MC unit to remove them each night and store them, returning them to her each morning. It worked for a while, her batteries only last 4 days, so they are scheduled to be replaced 2 times a week. I got a call, she had tried to eat one of them! They caught it, got it out of her mouth including the battery. Insurance paid again because it was damaged. A nurse casually suggested putting a lanyard on them! Who knew! It is a thin clear plastic strap with a clip at the end that attaches to her collar. She has not lost one in almost a year. A game changer, if she tries to take them out they just dangle from her top. These stories make me appreciate the facility she lives in, her care is excellent (as it should be for $10,000 per month). She has been on hospice for 16 months and I have not seen her since March, but the hospice nurse is still allowed to go in. My heart hurts for each of you dealing with dementia in your loved one.
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MJ1929 Sep 23, 2020
The lanyard is a GREAT idea. I'm going to suggest that.
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I constantly wonder about this...and my mom with dementia is here at home with us. I believe we actually could get a replacement set, but to what end? She doesn't seem to want to wear them and is together enough to be uncooperative and even potentially combative. I have spent hours looking for them originally...we suspect she threw them out. At the time she had access to the garage where we have two large bins. She was throwing other things that mattered out as well...so we got refrigerator locks with cables and used a luggage lock on the trash bins which worked very well. It's a tough decision with blindness as well. Whomever solves this problem is going to make an awful lot of money!
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Same as your mom's facility is supposed to....check for the hearing aids at the beginning and end of every shift....and if they aren't there, find them. And if they are still missing, buy more. I believe that my late mom had insurance of some kind for this sort of thing. Having two pairs of hearing aids helped.
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My 91 yr old mother goes thru batteries like crazy! And she occasionally loses one hearing aid...they are expensive! She takes one out because she gets frustrated that she can’t hear properly, she knows how to work them but I think her hearing is diminishing by the day! The TV in her BR is so loud even with new fresh batteries. I am not looking fwd to when she’s completely deaf. It’s hard enough to communicate now! I like the idea of a dry erase board… Simple things one or two words at the most!
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Reply to Middlekid60
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MJ1929 Sep 23, 2020
Hearing aids can be adjusted and the volume turned up. Have you taken her to have them adjusted?
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