Follow
Share

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?

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.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to mally1
Report
MJ1929 Sep 21, 2020
Exactly my concern. Mom isn't made of money, and at $2500 apiece, I'm not doing this multiple times.
(1)
Report
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.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to swanalaka
Report
MJ1929 Sep 21, 2020
Going in the case is their protocol, and clearly they don't follow it.
(1)
Report
See 2 more replies
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.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to my2cents
Report
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.
(4)
Report
See 1 more reply
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
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Donyah
Report
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.
(2)
Report
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!
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to gdaughter
Report

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.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to gdaughter
Report
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!
(0)
Report
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.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to amoeba
Report

Gdaughter, I have the same issue with hearing aids, only at home. My husband is terribly deaf, had hearing aids provided by the VA but decided he didnt need them, who knows where they went. I did order some from a vendor whose product is made here, they seemed to work but he wont let me have the charger or the aids, thinks he’s just fine. Well, both hearing aids are now MIA, al9ng with his Iphone. I dont think I’m going to try getting more, he just doesnt get it enough to even be able to tell me if they work
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Bogartsmom
Report

HAH!

"That little mistake cost the place $4900, but I ended up paying $500 of it when they balked at the cost."

Mom's replacement hearing aids (they put hers through the laundry!) came with warranty which included loss, so it would have been a measly $400 to replace it when the first one went AWOL (she only wears one) after less than 2 months and they refused. I didn't even complain about the one they ran through the wash!!!

Last I knew, they kept taking it away when she'd take it out, so it's likely on a shelf collecting dust, not doing her any good.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to disgustedtoo
Report

My mother has fairly new hearing aides, one broke and needed repair, the company fixed them at no cost, has a warranty on them for five years. I would call the company and see if they can replace the lost one free of charge if she loses them again. My moms hearing aides can be replaced only one time within a five year period. Hearing aides are very expensive and it is easy to lose them, she has a case and I place them in it every night after cleaning them. My mother would be deaf if she did not have them and communication would be difficult. Glad the hearing aide was found. I would still check it out, though.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to earlybird
Report

Based on your profile, your mother is very similar to mine, except mom is now 97. Even with the hearing aid, it was sometimes hard to communicate - keeping it brief, ensuring she could "read" lips, along with sometimes miming simple queries (drink, coffee, eats, etc) worked, but for anything she didn't really understand, I bought a Boogie Board (LCD tablet you can "write" on and erase. That was a big help. She also has Mac Deg, but we've been doing the treatments, until now - she just had a stroke and now in addition to being in a wheelchair (refused to stand and walk some months ago), she also has right side weakness. The appts are about 1.5 hr away and take about 1-2 hours to complete the whole process, so it could be 4-5 hours min to get through it all. Her next treatment was coming up, but I cancelled it. I wanted to preserve her eyesight because of the hearing loss, but that would be too taxing for her.

I see that they found your mom's missing one. That's great, but only if they're going to keep track of BOTH from this point on. Sounds like the aide admitted to tossing the other pair, so that should have been covered by them. Most places, it seems, will NOT cover a simple loss.

Mom's first one (she only wore one) lasted a while there, but they weren't monitoring it, often I would have to find it and even more often the battery would be dead, so it was useless many times between visits! They didn't check bedding, so hers went through the laundry. THAT should be their fault, but they never offered anything and I didn't ask. I DID ask them to monitor when the new pair was purchased. They're rechargeable so I gave the charger to the nurse, so it wouldn't go missing. Take the thing out when prepping for bed, charge it overnight, give it back at breakfast (or as she's dressing.) Didn't last 2 months, AWOL. Most likely wrapped in a napkin at meal time and tossed. In her case, they came with a great warranty, which included loss. I asked them to cover the $400 for it and they refused.

We gave her the second one, but every time they saw her take it out, they'd take it away. What good is it collecting dust on the shelf? It was sad that during one of my last visits I met a new resident and that woman thought mom was stuck up or rude or something because she wouldn't respond when talked to! I explained her hearing loss, but this is MC, so who knows how long that woman will remember?

For you - best you can do is stay on top of them, even though you can't be there. It's a hard decision, regarding outlaying that much for something that might disappear in a week, a month or even a year! I decided against paying the $400 for another and I'm now glad I didn't, since they won't let her have the one she owns already!

I don't know how bad your mother's eyesight is - often it's central vision that is lost, and there's still some left. If she has any eyesight left, can you (or they) try a whiteboard? The Boogie Board still works for mom, but I can't use it during an outdoor visit since she's 6' away, so I bought a small white board to write on, hoping she could see it. Just write simple statements, but make it big, maybe?

The whole visit was kind of a joke (it was her b'day, not allowed to share the cupcakes and ice cream I brought and between the heat, masks, distance, no hearing, etc, I'm not even sure she knew I was there! She always knew who I was before lock down, and this was before her stroke, but it wasn't clear that she knew I was there.

Good luck with the hearing aids!

The other potential option is a headset. Would she object to wearing it, at least while someone is trying to talk to her? One doc tried that with mom, but she wasn't having it (she's very opinionated about things and no way would she wear it!)

If you ever have to make that decision to buy again, see if you can find some like we got that have that GREAT warranty! I wasn't shopping for that, just for SOMEONE local, so I was surprised to hear about it.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to disgustedtoo
Report
MJ1929 Sep 22, 2020
I think we do have the same mother! :-)
(0)
Report
See 1 more reply
Check the paperwork and call the company the hearing aids were purchased from. In Washington state all hearing aids are sold with a lost replacement policy. I think it is in the first year. Most states have similar programs. As far as $4900 for hearing aids. I have been purchasing my hearing aids at Costco for 15 years. The service is GREAT and the cost is about half of a normal hearing aid center. I also like that they are open on weekends. As far as buying a new one a month out?? That depends on how well she is getting along with one? Can she use one of the old ones you replaced for a period of time. There are also hearing aid charities for SR citizens. to help pay for a replacement. In some states hearing aids are now sold at Wal mart they are on a rack just set them up and plug them in. They are around $600 a pair.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to lacyisland
Report
MJ1929 Sep 22, 2020
They found the lost one.

Her old ones were from Costco, but as the nursing home was responsible for losing those (an aide threw them away), they would only let a guy from one particular company come to the facility (lockdown and all) to fit her for new ones. It was no skin off my nose, as they paid for them. They'd have been out a lot less money had they gone the Costco route.
(0)
Report
So sorry this is happening. It is frustrating to deal with and negligence on the part of the staff. Napkins should never be used. Mom's hearing aids should be placed in a case with her name on it.

Write letter to staff about missing hearing aid. Let them look for 1-2 weeks, then demand that they pay for a new one. You are paying for them to be diligent with their client's devices. Nerves in the ear that don't get stimulated to hear stop working altogether. So the hearing aid is very important to keep your mom's hearing intact. Check with your mom's medical insurance to see how much they will cover for the loss.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Taarna
Report
MJ1929 Sep 23, 2020
They found it, thank goodness, but yes, I've been in contact with the director and reminded him that loss is their responsibility, not mine. She's in a wheelchair and can't move herself anywhere, so it shouldn't be too hard to search for it, as the range of area she covers in any given day is very minimal.
(3)
Report
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!)
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to jacobsonbob
Report
MJ1929 Sep 23, 2020
Agreed -- it's a complete racket. There's no reason this technology should cost this much.
(2)
Report
See 1 more reply
Often the place you buy them from will cover loss for a certain time period. Call and ask them.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Harpcat
Report
MJ1929 Sep 23, 2020
I did, and they do. Thank you so much!
(2)
Report
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.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to GrandmaC
Report
MJ1929 Sep 23, 2020
The lanyard is a GREAT idea. I'm going to suggest that.
(1)
Report
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!
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Middlekid60
Report
MJ1929 Sep 23, 2020
Hearing aids can be adjusted and the volume turned up. Have you taken her to have them adjusted?
(3)
Report
See 1 more reply
The caregiver putting aids in her pocket....this is just not done and your were good at making them liable. when she said gave it to her deceased husband. She maybe deciding to "give up and die". The social worker can determine her past and daily functioning. It is o.k. to admit "I am through with all this". If she has a history of wanting and needing the aids...get the provider to give her a basic at a cheaper cost. Here is another option. Get the program for both ears and take it to Costco and for 1500.00 get a super set. The supplmental insurance every two years will pay 80% of the 1500.00. There is no excuse for all those shift changes before finding they are missing. The aids are part of meeting the patient "care needs" and are put in the patient's over all treatment plan. So to answer your concluding question. The aids can be as important as keeping her dry.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to DKelso34
Report

MJ1929: I did see your positive update. Good for you!
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Llamalover47
Report

Does the facility charge a fee for the service of maintaining the hearing aids (i.e. charging, changing filters or domes?) If so, send them a request for refund of these services that should have been performed during the 48 shift changes. Maybe that will offset some of the cost...
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to JustDaughter
Report

Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter