How can I encourage my mom to wear her hearing aids?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 09, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mom, although not totally deaf, has significant hearing loss but resists using hearing aids.She readily admits she does hear better when she has them in but really does not want to wear them. Some family members see this as stubborn behavior and become frustrated with her. I suspect there may be something else going on in her mind and perhaps she sees this as another part of her body that isn't working and may not want to acknowledge that. I'm looking for some ideas on how I might find out why she really doesn't want to use them.

Expert Answers

Kay Paggi, GCM, LPC, CGC, MA, is in private practice as a geriatric care manager and is on the advisory board for the Emeritus Program at Richland College. She has worked with seniors for nearly 20 years as a licensed professional counselor, certified gerontological counselor, and certified geriatric care manager.

Many older people (and perhaps younger ones) do not like using hearing aids, even though they agree that they may improve their hearing. Often the problem is that hearing aids augment the full range of sound, rather than the sounds they want to hear. When background noise is amplified along with the conversation, the hearing aids are less effective.

I suggest that you try Pocket Talkers, made by Williams Sound. These are the size of a pack of cigarettes, fit into a shirt pocket, run on AA batteries, and have a directional microphone. The user points the mike at the person they want to hear, and they are incredibly good. They are also inexpensive (about $150). There are 2 types of ear connections; one is ear buds (very fashionable, like what the kids use to listen to their ipods) and the other is ear phones. The Pocket talkers will also attach to the TV to amplify without bothering neighbors.

My suggestion is that YOU purchase one and not give it to your mother. You ask her to use your device when you are together. Insist on her using it or else you won't try to talk to her; don't raise your voice so she can hear you unless she is wearing the device. In this way, your problem with your mother's hearing is resolved. If your mother then chooses to use the device when she is with her friends or relatives, she can borrow it from you, or get one of her own.