There's a Hearing Aid with Your Name on It
What I learned about hearing aids when I bought a $2,500 unit.
When I grow old, I’m going to wear a hearing aid so that I can hear myself think. It’s funny how we say things like that. Hearing yourself think is something I have said a thousand times before, but what does that really mean? We’ve all said things that we wish we could take back. But once we see the reaction of the person we are talking to, it’s too late to catch yourself. Thinking things through before saying them is the best policy, but it’s not always easy to do that. I think you lose spontaneity if you havr to think through everything you plan to say. Speaking your mind can be dangerous, so watch what you say.
Losing your hearing is not age related. When I was young, I thought only old people wear hearing aids, but now, I hear more and more younger people are buying hearing aids. Maybe it’s because they attended too many rock concerts or blasted their eardrums with headphones. Our ears are more sensitive than we think.
Truly I meant what I said earlier. When I grow old, I’m going to wear hearing aids. I say that because my mom who is ninety years old this year refuses to wear her hearing aid. She keeps telling us that she doesn’t need it and she can hear the same as if she was wearing it. I doubt that because she’s answered to questions that weren’t even asked. She would answer randomly as soon as I stop talking as though I asked her a question. Clearly she’s not in the conversation, and I hate that.
My sister took her to a hearing test company and tested her hearing. An audiologist placed headphones on her and put her through a series of tests that indicated a severe loss of hearing. While she was tested, my sister was looking at the variety of hearing aids available for sale over the counter. Some were big and some were tiny, but they all were over $2,000.00. My mom was fitted with a tiny hearing aid that was inserted into her ear. It was so small that my mom thought it would go into the ear canal and never come out. The audiologist fitting my mom showed her that the unit had a small wire attached to it for easy removal. She explained to my mom that the hearing aid must be inserted into her ear for best results. Having it sit on the outside of the canal was not going to work.
My mom’s hearing aid cost her $2,500.00 for one ear. We saw it as an expensive accessory that mom needed and it was going to let her function better and be more in touch with our conversations. Mom didn’t feel that way. She thought it was expensive and she fought us everyday on it. Eventually she refused to wear it, saying that it was the same as when she didn’t have it on.
My brother was helping my mom clean her hearing aid. He accidentally bent the wire that acted like the antenna. He was worried that he broke mom’s hearing aid, so he decided to put it on himself. He heard static noise like when you are tuning a radio. He heard sounds but it was very tinny and he could not make out the words that were said to him. He couldn’t even hear himself talk.
We returned to the hearing aid clinic to have my mom’s hearing aid adjusted. The audiologist took the hearing aid from us and put it through a machine that tested the frequencies of the unit. After a few minutes, she returned and said it did not need any adjustments. We asked about the static noise and the tinniness of the sound. She said that was normal. At $2,500.00, we disagreed and returned the unit for a full refund.
Mom is without a hearing aid now. Lessons learned?
- For older people, try to buy a hearing aid that they can handle and are comfortable wearing it. My mom really had trouble handling a tiny unit and inserting it in her ear.
- Don’t spend a lot of money, or if you do, make sure the replacement is free. Mom has lost a few hearing aids, dropping out of her ears when she leaned over, etc.
- Get a rechargeable unit. The battery models require a battery change every 3 months or less.
- Owning and wearing a hearing aid takes time to get used to. Buy a few different models and let them try it. I liked the tiny one, but mom could not handle it because of her diabetic fingers. She liked the bigger ones even if they looked cumbersome,
- Be considerate of your aging parents. Getting old and losing their hearing is devastating. Try to be supportive and patient. Mom knew how frustrated I was when she kept losing her hearing aid or breaking it. I’m better now because when she loses it, I pick up another one from Amazon and life continues.
Click here to check Amazon prices on hearing aids.