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AIBU?

To find DF's deafness infuriating

16 replies

Panticus · 11/01/2024 09:52

Disclaimer: I've used a clickbait title. I don't find it infuriating - I find it very sad. How my mother feels about. it, however, is a different story 😳

So DF is in his 80s and has never had great hearing. He worked with loud equipment when he was younger and has also suffered from tinnitus. He got hearing aids a few years ago and has tried a couple of different brands.

The problem is that the hearing aids don't seem to have worked at all. He is still very hard to talk to, even in quiet settings. Unless you are looking him square in the eye and close to him, he is almost guaranteed not to hear.

I'm concerned about the impact this is having on him and how isolating it is. He's always been a very social fellow and it It is quite upsetting to see him in a group setting, clearly not able to follow the conversation. He will often do things like make a joke that has already been made a few minutes ago by someone else, or inadvertently talk over someone because he can't hear them.

I understand that hearing aids aren't great in noisy environments (e.g. if we're at a busy restaurant, he won't turn them on because the background noise becomes overwhelming). However, am I right to think that there must be SOMETHING that can be done to improve things? Is it just a case of insisting that he goes back to the audiologist to try a different brand of hearing aids?

I'd love to hear from anyone who has been through this. It is quite a sensitive issue for him but my siblings and I are all very worried by it and would like to explore if there is anything more we can do for him. TIA.

OP posts:
biostudent · 11/01/2024 10:02

I couldn't just scroll past and not say how I feel for you, my grandma is the same, she is now 90 and she cannot hear a thing. I don't have any advice, she's become quite antisocial because of it, but that's also in part because she's lost my grandad and she's been alone now for 17 years. But I just wanted to say I understand your concerns and I feel for you.

missmoffatt2705 · 11/01/2024 10:12

I have a friend in his eighties. He worked in a very noisy job when Health and Safety such as ear defenders..wasn't a thing. His hearing aids barely make a difference and he is on waiting list for a cochlear implant but he feels that at his age,he is not going to be prioritised over a younger candidate. He gets depressed and feels left out in group conversations. It has affected his confidence and he will avoid situations where he might feel embarrassed by not being able to hear for example the waitress taking his order.

graceinspace999 · 11/01/2024 10:13

I have lived with partial deafness most of my life. Hearing aids don’t work for me.

I find most peoples attitudes towards deafness are bordering on cruel.

This can range from telling me to get it fixed, get hearing aids, making a joke out of it etc.

Large groups are impossible for me as are noisy places, background noise etc.

I’ve long given up on large group socialising and just meet one or two friends in quiet places.

I very much enjoy a great social life now. Trying to fit in to large group or noisy place socialising became so stressful that I would feel nauseous.

I think it’s a case of rethinking and changing how you socialise.

Inviting one or two people to your quiet house for coffee or drinks works so much better than cafes and pubs with their loud music, noisy people and clanking cutlery, glasses etc.

Gallowayan · 11/01/2024 10:18

It is very difficult with tinnitus thrown in. No matter how sophisticated a hearing device is It can't suppress a competing sound from inside his head.

The best thing you can do is learn to adapt your own communication to accommodate the person. Also be selective about environments you chose to socialise in with DF and be reasonably assertive in getting his needs met (if he is not so assertive) You could also help facilitate meetings with audiologists etc if you are not already doing this.

At the end of the day you clearly care about him and are doing your best. Things could be worse and all you can do is help him to make the best of things.

Panticus · 11/01/2024 22:16

Thank you - you've all been very helpful, understanding and compassionate. It seems we are being a bit naive by just assuming that it can be fixed with a different set of hearing aids 😔

We certainly do try to organise catch-ups in quieter venues but inevitably there are some larger events that can make this a bit challenging. My mum also loves going out to nice restaurants with us all, so she feels like she is missing out if we only ever see them at home. I think I'll just have to start taking her out separately, as it is miserable seeing DF sit at the table not interacting with anyone.

Thank you all again.

OP posts:
Deafening · 11/01/2024 22:42

We have partially deaf members in our family. It’s second nature to always face people when we are speaking. Make sure we have their attention. Never mumble. Don’t speak over each other and check that they are following the conversation.
It can take a little while if you are not used to doing it but I’d hate to feel that I was leaving someone out just because they needed a bit extra support.

Deafening · 11/01/2024 22:43

Oh and hearing aids have not been helpful to my relatives. They have tried various ones.

Yellofello · 11/01/2024 22:45

I would echo to adapt communication and speak slowly and clearly. Poor DF. It must feel so frustrating to lose your hearing like this, and difficult for his loved ones too. He is lucky to have you caring so much about him and what makes his life easier. Hope you find a solution.

SauronsArsehole · 11/01/2024 22:54

along with choosing places carefully. Face to face if possible. Booth seating for sound dampening can help. Those with more soft furnishings are usallly easier to hear than the modern bare floor places (Wetherspoons dingy carpet is good for hearing!)

Learn some BSL together too. You won’t need much. Just enough to reinforce what you’re saying. So he can understand better.

im partially deaf and work with autistic kids so for me knowing some signs is really really helpful. I need to learn properly though for my own sanity because I can’t function is really loud environments and I know I’m going to lose more of my hearing.

https://www.british-sign.co.uk/bsl-greetings-signs-british-sign-language/

BSL Greetings Signs - British Sign Language

BSL greetings signs. Learn to sign hello, good morning, good afternoon, good evening, how are you?, thank you, please, sorry, bye in British Sign Language

https://www.british-sign.co.uk/bsl-greetings-signs-british-sign-language/

NewNameNigel · 11/01/2024 23:01

Hearing aids aren't like glasses. They don't correct hearing in the way glasses correct sight. My mum is deaf and I just look at her when I talk to her, repeat myself a lot and chose quiet places to meet her.

blinkbonny · 11/01/2024 23:09

I am partially deaf and even with my relatively minor hearing loss, have been amazed (not in a good way) at what a difference it makes in social situations. My hearing aid amplifies but does not clarify sound so although it makes some difference, it doesn't really fix the problem. I force myself to go out to social events as I don't want to become isolated but I do struggle to follow quick conversations and I think people think me very dull as I don't contribute often. But I'm scared I'm talking over people or repeating something already said.

I saw a sign at my audiologists that read "Blindness separates us from objects; deafness separates us from people" and I think there's a lot of truth in that.

No constructive solutions for you but you're doing the right thing to be thinking about it!

Midwinter91 · 11/01/2024 23:11

This is an odd suggestion but hearing aids don’t work for my Nan, what did work is the ear defenders my Dad bought for shooting. They block out loud noises but make voices clearer!

Panticus · 12/01/2024 02:43

Thank you all, you've given me some really good insight and ideas here. Very helpful.

OP posts:
NoraZ · 12/01/2024 06:00

Your poor father. I'd have a chat to the optometrist about other options. My DH has hearing aids. His have different settings and cancel out a lot of tinnitis. Example: He can set them to 'restaurant mode', which blocks out a lot of background noise and helps him focus on the conversation. He can change settings quite a bit. I don't know if there's an option for your father that might meet his needs better.

Lurkingandlearning · 12/01/2024 06:19

A long shot but is it possible he may have a build up of wax if the hearing aids aren’t working. It would be lovely if a home treatment from the chemist solved the problem

Tontostitis · 12/01/2024 06:29

One thing I do with my husband is ask him to choose his seat first. If he can sit with his back to a wall he can hear so much better. I'm also 'on alert' and repeat questions to him. It's become such habit friends also do it too and if we are somewhere he can't hear we suggest somewhere else. Some restaurants and pubs we just say no that won't work. Sadly Weatherspoons is the absolute best as there's no music, and the only place he meets his mates. Mind you they are all ex Army and deaf as posts too.

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