Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Upset - friend seems to think hearing aids are a horrific disaster

(99 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

MarvellousMarbles Fri 22-May-15 08:48:14

My friend has a quite noticeable hearing loss, and has done for years and years (possibly always). It quite clearly impacts her life, she gave up working a long time ago, and she won't go out with groups of people etc. She told me recently that she'd been referred to an audiologist who recommended hearing aids. She was horrified at this, and won't consider it.

I find it rather hurtful, since I have worn hearing aids for 40 years (since I was a toddler). My friend is well aware of that - we have been friends since the age of 8.

Obviously I didn't say so to her, but it really makes me question how she values me, if my hearing aids are such a dreadful thing that she wouldn't consider them for herself.

Royalsighness Fri 22-May-15 08:50:09

I know someone who is the same with glasses, refuses to wear them but contacts give her infections, she is legally blind I think as her eyesight is so poor but she's to vein to wear glasses. Baffling.

cleanmyhouse Fri 22-May-15 08:52:30

People are weird about hearing aids.

I have 2 but hate wearing them and tend to prefer my quiet little world.

When i got new ones recently, i was amazed at the difference and all the things i could hear that i hadn't been hearing but i found them exhausting and have retreated into my bubble again.

Anyway, i had been talking to a guy on a dating site for a few days, all going very well. I told him about my new hearing aids and never heard from him again.

His loss.

crje Fri 22-May-15 08:54:03

She is daft , ignore her.
Some people make so much of nothing .

MrsNextDoor Fri 22-May-15 08:55:21

Hearing aids are a real possiblity for me too OP....I'm 42...I'm not comfortable about the idea as I can't imagine using "equipment" daily....you get used to coping by lipreading and asking people to repeat themselves...as you've had them all your life, maybe it's not the same sort of issue for you. YABU to be hurt. It's a very personal thing.

thegreylady Fri 22-May-15 08:57:53

I have two hearing aids. I have been partially deaf since measles when I was 6.
I got my hearing aids only 7 years ago (I am 71) and they transformed my life. I will never forget hearing birdsong for the first time.

thegreylady Fri 22-May-15 09:05:30

I was a teacher for over 30 years and managed by lip reading and asking. I never had a problem. I wear one aid all the time, I put it in when I put my specs on. The other is only used for meetings etc. I can hear the TV ,join in conversations and understand my grandchildren.
I do miss some of my funnier mishearing . I once spent ages arguing with dh that we hadn't bought any 'cans of soup' when we were on holiday so of course I didn't know where they were.
We had,however, bought some canvas shoes! Those shoes have been known as cans of soup ever since!
Has anyone else any amusing mishearings?

JaceLancs Fri 22-May-15 09:06:07

I have had hearing problems since my late 20s but was only offered a hearing aid for one side and it was a bulky thing that I found difficult to use
I was self conscious as at the time had very short hair and also found it gave me headaches - this may have been my poor tired brain trying to cope with one loud side and one deaf side
As my hearing got much worse I managed in the way others have described - however about a year ago I decided to try again as it was seriously affecting my job
This time I got a pair of much neater digital aids - which with my current hairstyle are nearly invisible
I still only wear them on certain occasions when I know I would struggle without them
Partly I find them itchy - I do have eczema and end up with sore scabby inner ears, but I also find some noises are amplified to the point of discomfort whilst others are ok
So for me I treat them like other people treat reading glasses - I always carry them with me but only use when I really need to

MarvellousMarbles Fri 22-May-15 09:08:49

Jace - just a thought, are your aids behind-the-ear ones? It is possible to get hypo-allergenic moulds for those, which can really help with eczema/itchiness. Sorry if you've already looked into that.

susyot Fri 22-May-15 09:33:56

I think it can be hard to acknowledge that you need additional help, especially if your friend has had a hearing loss for a long time. My audiologist told me it was quite common for patients who suffer early hearing loss as an adult to be horrified at the thought of hearing aids. For your friend there is also the additional "what if" how would her life have changed if she had help years ago.

For my part I was oddly relieved when told that whilst my hearing loss was significant enough to qualify for a hearing aid due to the nature of the loss it probably wouldn't help. I can't explain why I feel that way.

I can understand why you feel upset but this isn't about you.

MarvellousMarbles Fri 22-May-15 09:42:32

but this isn't about you

I understand what you mean susyot. But it sort of is about me in a way. It means that she thinks negatively about my hearing aids, when I always thought that she didn't. They're a part of me.

OllyBJolly Fri 22-May-15 09:42:52

I have hearing aids - I hate them. They accentuate all the noises I really can't bear - people eating, rustling papers, breathing loudly. When I wear them, people start to shout at me and talk to me like I'm an idiot- I have hearing aids, you don't need to bloody shout!

So I only wear them rarely and make do with listening very hard (much better listener as my hearing deteriorates) and lip reading. It's only a real problem if I can't see a speaker face on, or if there is background noise (especially white noise such as AC).

So my hatred is all about me, nothing to do with how I feel about others.

MarvellousMarbles Fri 22-May-15 09:49:12

It's interesting to hear from all the people who only wear their hearing aids occasionally. I think that can be difficult. It takes your brain quite a while to adjust to hearing aids (or to new ones when you change type) - the sound coming through is different, and your brain has to learn how to interpret it. So wearing them occasionally probably isn't enough for your brain to make that adjustment, hence things like accentuating the wrong sounds etc. It's very different to wearing glasses occasionally - that doesn't actually change the light coming through.

Perhaps that's an additional reason why people don't want to wear them - it's not usually a simple 'put them on, problem sorted' fix, there's a significant adjustment period, so people don't experience the benefit immediately.

MargotLovedTom Fri 22-May-15 09:53:13

I am now profoundly deaf with a progressive hearing loss. I was devastated when I was fitted with hearing aids in my 20s and realised I would have to wear them for the rest of my life. I still hate having to wear them even though I can't manage at all without them. Don't take it personally - I'm sure your friend isn't looking at you and thinking your aids are revolting or repulsive or whatever.

In the nicest possible way, it isn't about you. Let her make her own decisions about managing her hearing loss without somehow bringing yourself into it. I don't mean to sound harsh, sorry if it comes over that way.

DuelingFanjo Fri 22-May-15 09:54:08

My mum is very sensitive about her hearing aids, I think she thinks people look at her differently if they can see them.

Hearing aids are not a great fix for every one btw, my mum struggles with hers when there are lots of different noises in busy places because they amplify everything rather than picking out the person she wants to listen to.

MargotLovedTom Fri 22-May-15 10:00:12

I do understand what you mean in a way - I am a size 16 at the moment, and I have friends who are slimmer than me but who moan about feeling big and having put on weight. It does make you think "Okay, so if you think you're fat what on earth am I?" but then I realise they're actually not even bringing me into the equation. They're just articulating that they themselves are not happy with their own size, not making a veiled insult about mine.

Your friend is stating she doesn't like the thought of hearing aids for herself, not that she has a problem with yours.

cathpip Fri 22-May-15 10:02:35

My son age 6 loves his hearing aids, he has royal blue molds and is getting orange aids (his choice) in August, he's more excited about the new hearing aids than the new baby due in August! People always do a double take when it's a young person wearing aids, my theory being might as well give them something to look at smile, but he has only ever had positive comments esp from older people who didn't realise that you could get different colours! I have tried on his aids and they amplify everything, so I can understand if people don't wear them all the time - like my dad...........

MargotLovedTom Fri 22-May-15 10:06:23

Hearing aids are never going to replicate natural hearing but for many people like myself there is simply no alternative or other way around it. I can't hear much at all without them and I would be totally isolated if I didn't have them.

IsabellaofFrance Fri 22-May-15 10:06:31

Like olly my aids make some noises unbearably loud. I sit in meetings and the noise of people turning over paper is uncomfortable. If I wear them I cant wear my favourite coat because the noise of it upsets me. When I was first told I needed aids I cried for ages.

Please don't take it personally, I know your friend isn't being very tactful but she is probably upset inside.

MargotLovedTom Fri 22-May-15 10:11:20

I have shed many tears over it too. It has ruined my career and my confidence and to make it worse I have passed whatever shitty gene is responsible onto my DC who also wears hearing aids. This devastated me the most (don't worry I don't express all this negativity to my DC! wink).

justwondering72 Fri 22-May-15 10:11:20

I've been wearing aids since I was 9, am 42 now. I've had periods where I haven't used them because I didn't like them at all especially the clunky old NHS ones - they were uncomfortable, just amplified everything and all the clanking noises left me almost as tired as when I struggled on without them.

I got digital hearing aids about 10 years ago (privately, before they were available on the NHS) and wow it was amazing, the difference was huge. I love my hearing aids now, they don't give me a headache, they fit well and are light / delicate so I barely know I have them in. I agree with the above poster who says that occasional wear means you don't really adjust to them and fully benefit: every time I leave them off for a while, it is a readjustment to get back to them. But it's so worth it. I don't feel like me without them: I can't interact with people in the same way, I can't hear my children calling me from another room. Sometimes it's nice to be in my own muffled world, but I would not like to be there all the time.

Anyhoo, OP, try not to take it personally. I've had the same reaction from various older family members who really (IMHO) need to get their hearing tested and probably need hearing aids. Fear of the unknown, of 'machines' in your ears, of being old. But it's not personal.

Momagain1 Fri 22-May-15 10:11:50

but this isn't about you

I understand what you mean susyot. But it sort of is about me in a way. It means that she thinks negatively about my hearing aids, when I always thought that she didn't. They're a part of me.

No, it doesnt mean she thinks negatively about you and your use of hearing aids. Thoughts about you, or hearing impaired people in general are NOT part of her thought process. Her thought process is entirely about her, and not wanting to admit her body is failing her, that she isnt perfect.

It is kind of just like how you are thinking her statements are about you. Because your internal monologue is about you. So is hers. Any concerns about you, your hearing loss and use of aids is entirely incidental. She is not wanting to avoid them because of you and having thought less of you all these years.

IsabellaofFrance Fri 22-May-15 10:18:35

just - Can you tell us more about your digital hearing aids? I hate my NHS ones, but am scared of investing £££ at Boots or Specsavers.

NoIsNotACompleteSentence Fri 22-May-15 10:23:43

I se where you're coming from, OP, she is being a little insensitive, most likely without realising though - which makes her a bit thoughtless too!

For posters saying it's not about you - bit of course it feels like it is...I use a wheelchair and if one of my friends was "horrified" about having to use one, I would feel very hurt. Particularly as I love my wheelchair smile

People can be a little insensitive, but I wouldn't sit in silence (that sounds bad in this context sorry) I would say to her how it makes you feel. If she is just being thoughtless, i think it would do no harm to make her aware.

Scholes34 Fri 22-May-15 10:26:09

When I first had aids I was given two. That was difficult. I've settled on wearing just one, so it helps cut down on too much unnecessary noise and doesn't give my head that bunged up feeling. It means people can whisper to me in the non-hearing aid ear and I can answer the phone.

I don't mind wearing an aid, but I am aware people react differently to me sometimes.

People think my hairstyle is good for a hearing aid, as it covers my ear. Actually it just means I can clearly hear my hair brushing against my ear.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now