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Chance to win £250 - share with Specsavers - as a hearing care centre - your tips and experience on encouraging older family members to have a hearing test NOW CLOSED

(165 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 19-Dec-14 11:08:47

We have been working with the team at Specsavers - as a hearing care centre - over on our sister site, Gransnet on all things hearing.

There's some great content here.

Specsavers say "It's no secret that there's a bit of a stigma surrounding age-related hearing loss - not surprisingly; and the clue is in the name, that it's age-related.... so having hearing loss isn't something that people always want to admit to as they get older. This can be a big drawback when it comes to getting the issue sorted. Left unresolved though, hearing loss can affect every aspect of life, especially the things that are most important such as relationships with family and friends".

With this in mind, if you suspect age related hearing loss in a relative or close friend, what would you do? Have you ever had to gently encourage your parents to go and get their hearing tested? Did they realise it was bad or were they in denial? What signs of age related hearing loss have you noticed with your family?

We know from a recent survey with gransnetters that this is an issue for a large number - especially at Christmas

Please share any tips and experience of this on this thread and you would win a £250 voucher for the store of your choice (from a list).

thanks and good luck!
MNHQ

Please add your comment by 2 January 2015. Standard Insight T&Cs apply

telsa Fri 19-Dec-14 14:47:34

I have tried to raise it with my 88 year old mother, as she is definitely losing her hearing, but she won't have it. There is a real stigma around hearing aids - I have to deal with it as my DD has one. Perhaps the older generation think that they are fiddly and unwieldy. They don't have to be do they, but I think we need some positive images of hearing aids and hearing aid wearers.

ButterflyOfFreedom Fri 19-Dec-14 15:05:46

My mum is definitely starting to struggle with her hearing but she is in denial about it (as well as many other signs of ageing!).
It's not to the stage where it is too bad yet but I think the time will come when I will have to gently recommend a hearing test to her.
I think my dad will be worse - he'll be too proud to admit he has a problem and too vain to wear a hearing aid (he'll still envisage them as big and clunky).
My Grandad got to the point of having his TV volume turned up to the max but still didn't acknowledge he had a hearing problem!

I think there needs to be more advertising / awareness made of hearing problems and the solutions. There may well be stigma attached to it but there really shouldn't be and I'm sure many people suffer needlessly.

FluffyRedSocks Fri 19-Dec-14 18:35:39

My grandad has a hearing problem although my nan believes it's selective!
I've mentioned getting it checked 'to keep the drs happy' but he's not having any of it, I think sometimes the older generation are worried that if something is 'wrong' with them then they will just be written off sad

Jenny2014 Fri 19-Dec-14 18:43:58

Yeah my dad is also struggling with his hearing. I tried explaining a while ago that he's turning the TV up more and more (exceeding normal levels). But it really struck him when I explained that my baby now cries everytime grandad talks because he's shouting at him. I asked him to 'whisper' and that sorted that, so we're starting to get him to see sense and have booked an appointment in (whether he'll go and get a discrete hearing aid is a different matter). But small steps.

NotCitrus Fri 19-Dec-14 18:55:23

My parents convinced their friends to have hearing tests after mentioning that nowadays no-one notices hearing aids because they look just like earpieces and come in hi-tech black and silver. One chap has now got some and even wears them as I passed on the message that if you wait till your hearing is really bad, your brain will have forgotten how to understand noises when it hears them again.

Though my dad isn't convinced any of this means he should have a test, though he agreed to humour me and do it recently. Must poke him again.

And MIL who has aids from hospital and doesn't care about their looks won't wear them because they hurt and hiss but it's impossible to arrange an appt to adjust them without using the phone and even if she gets SIL to do that, it's a whole day taken up in driving and sitting around, and a couple attempts hasn't helped much.

Purpleflamingos Fri 19-Dec-14 19:01:35

There's too much of a stigma - ironic in my family since I have had a hearing age from around 7yrs. My mum was muttering about hearing aids and not wanting a test in case she had to wear one. We could see her confidence faltering. Selfishly all I could think was 'when I was really self conscious about it from 7-27yrs old you told me not to be bothered by it'. I told her everything she had told me over the years - giving her own advice back. I didn't want my mum in the position I had been in but I've also come out the other side, and realised if I don't make it an issue for me then no one else can. My mum to this day, two years after being given hearing aids, will still 'forget' to wear them. But if my battery goes in an inconvenient place to change it the first thing she says to my accusingly is 'did you put your hearing aid in today?'.

hearingmum Fri 19-Dec-14 20:04:06

I agree that there needs to be awareness-raising and creation of positive images of HA-wearers of all ages and backgrounds and of what HAs can (and can't) do. I had no idea before my HA-wearing baby was born, and had a lot of misconceptions, despite working for years in education, including with people using HAs!

If specsavers are going to start a new advertising campaign, I think that would be a great opportunity to build public understanding of hearingng, loss, deafness, and HAs. I'd suggest involving organisations like NDCS, if this is not already taking place.

CMOTDibbler Fri 19-Dec-14 20:04:43

I think both my parents could do with their hearing testing, but theres nowhere in their small town that does hearing tests, and going anywhere is impossible for dad. And though I've been very touched with the care that has been shown to mum who has dementia by her opticians in testing her in a way she can cope with, I wonder if her hearing could be tested as gently - or if she'd accept the aids

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Flywheel Fri 19-Dec-14 20:41:22

I've been at my 69 year old father for years with no joy.
I thought I had a breakthrough a few months back, by talking about a colleague of mine (much younger) who was delighted with his new hearing aid. How he hadn't realised how much he was missing. And how discreet it was. DF agreed to make an appointment, but it hasn't happened yet.
This thread has spurred me on - might have another go.

thewomaninwhite Fri 19-Dec-14 20:48:39

I do wonder about my parents. It's the sound of the TV that is the largest hint. It's a difficult situation to broach isn't it as you want to be helpful but none of us like facing the negative aspects of getting older (it's not all bad!)

sharond101 Fri 19-Dec-14 20:48:48

The company I work for are piloting hearing care centres in some of our stores. The uptake for the service hasn't been fantastic but I believe a lack of awareness could be to blame. I tried to get my Father to go but he is yet to make the time. I think they are a brilliant initiative but how do we get the message across? How do we get people to think of it as they do their bi annual dental visit? I don't know the answer just hope the message gets out there and more people can be helped to gain a better quality of life.

TooMuchCantBreathe Fri 19-Dec-14 21:39:51

Ensure they go to an honest audiologist. I work in audiology, my mother had hearing loss. It affected her working life, she couldn't cope in groups making her isolated and she largely lip read by the time she was 55. She stopped watching movies, couldn't have a chat watching soaps, couldn't have the radio on when talking.

After many years she was finally persuaded to approach the problem. She got her reading and went very quiet on it, was almost nasty with me when I asked. Turns out the private audiologist had quoted her £4000 for a suitable device. He then told her not to approach the NHS as they have awful aids, he showed her one. He failed to mention the nhs hadn't used that device for 12 years! It was analogue fgs and the size (and colour) of a man's thumb.

Luckily I managed to talk her round, saved her 4k and got her fitted with beautiful, tiny, black/chrome, digital aids with all the features of the ones at 4k - same brand, different model number. Provided, supported and maintained by the nhs - as was her right (any return visits, maintenance etc are extra when private). Tbh the experience has left me pretty disgusted with private audiology. The fact that the "audiologist" you see doesn't need to be qualified and isn't regulated leaves me cold.

Bet I don't win this one hmm

Keepcalmanddrinkmulledwine Fri 19-Dec-14 21:49:39

Maybe there should be a targeted ad campaign to raise awareness. This could also remove some of the stigma attached to wearing hearing aids (unnecessary stigma, but it would appear many older people don't like the idea).

If your sight was deteriorating, you would get your eyes tested for safety reasons (driving for example) so surely hearing should be equally valued.

clopper Fri 19-Dec-14 21:59:15

My parents seem to have lots of arguments and misunderstandings with each other as they both have hearing loss but refuse to acknowledge the issue. When we visit, the TV is unbearably loud and sub-titles are always on. The radio is equally loud. They live too far away to visit each week and phone calls are becoming more and more frustrating both for us and them.

The reason they will not admit to this obvious hearing loss is I think one of pride and also fear that they will then be classed as 'old', even though in many ways they are relatively fit and active. I think hearing loss can be quite socially isolating as they avoid many venues and events as they can't hear properly e.g. with background music or in lively pubs.

I wish the NHS would screen for this (it doesn't necessarily have to be in a medical setting) at certain ages as I think they would probably go for this. They have been for several checks recently (cholesterol, bowel polyps, breast screening, dental checks) when summoned by an official letter.

NotCitrus Sat 20-Dec-14 05:12:54

I've just seen the ad for Specsavers hearing aids at the bottom of this thread (see, targeted advertising!). I think it would be more successful if it said "The handy high street provider of NHS hearing aids" - I bet many people think they would have to pay for the hearing aids at Specsavers - you do for glasses, after all - and have heard of a friend of a friend being charged thousands.

Clamping down on gits like Hidden Hearing and others who claim their aids are great and the NHS won't offer modern discreet aids would also be good. I sent off for Hidden Hearing's hearing aid advice pack and it is a masterpiece of misleading that doesn't quite lie. Not being able to get an appt without supplying a phone number to be sold to all and sundry is also not good. At some point I plan to walk into my local one and see what they do in practise.

hearingmum Sat 20-Dec-14 07:15:05

I wish the NHS would screen for this (it doesn't necessarily have to be in a medical setting) at certain ages as I think they would probably go for this. They have been for several checks recently (cholesterol, bowel polyps, breast screening, dental checks) when summoned by an official letter.

That's a good idea!

Agree also with NotCitrus...it would be useful for SS's and others' campaigns to make clearer what you can get on the NHS. There is an ad in the window of my local SS for NHS HAs. I saw it yesterday, and it made me think of big, unattractive, clunky, cheap things. This despite knowing lots of kids with colourful modern aids. There is a major stereotype to be broken down.

MakeTeaNotWar Sat 20-Dec-14 07:30:54

Naively I never really thought about this before but as my dads hearing is definitely degenerating, I'm going to raise it with him and suggest a test

HangingInAGruffaloStance Sat 20-Dec-14 08:57:13

My mum has a hearing aid but doesn't wear it. Her hearing loss is mild and she doesn't like the sound quality. I think she hoped it would be like her normal ability to hear. She misses quite a lot so I have asked her to try wearing it for a whole weekend to see if she can adjust to it. Obviously it is important that it is her final decision.

My Dad also has some hearing loss but it hasn't been investigated yet. My mum drives him mad at times so I gently told him he is getting a bit the same. He is arranging a test!

FannyFifer Sat 20-Dec-14 09:57:53

My dad has tinnitus & it really affects his hearing in a group situation, he struggles to join in conversations as doesn't catch it all.

We are trying to get him to see about a hearing aid as I know there are ones specific to tinnitus.

Need to try & make him think it's his idea though. wink

I don't understand the stigma with hearing aids, I will def get one if I gave probs, just like I got glasses when I needed them.

CatWreathkeith Sat 20-Dec-14 15:48:32

Its taken years to convince my dad to have a hearing test, finally, in desperation, my mother, sister and I took to miming odd words in an otherwise normal conversation.

Believing he was going completely deaf was the only thing that finally convinced him to go!

StillNoFuckingEyeDeer Sat 20-Dec-14 20:00:24

It took years for my mum & me to convince my dad to get his hearing tested. He's 66 & has had a hearing aid for several years now, but doesn't always remember to wear it. He mostly thinks it's great & wishes he'd got it sooner, but occasionally it starts to get a bit uncomfortable.
He never really had any issues about wearing a hearing aid or acknowledging he was going deaf. He just doesn't feel that he should be troubling his doctor about things that aren't serious.

Dolallytats Sat 20-Dec-14 20:23:25

I know he's not old, but my 52 year old DH could do with a hearing test. The tv volume has been creeping up and you almost have to shout at him when you speak. It's a bit annoying, not least because I don't beat around the bush and tell him to get checked.

He says he will, but never does.....

sockmatcher Sun 21-Dec-14 10:00:33

It's so hard. The TV is on so loud even the children want to turn it down.
My mum has an hearing aid .... Absolutely had to be her decision though

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