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Family Members Who Are In Denial About Their Hearing, How To Deal With It?

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Raidergal2022 | 13:47 Thu 24th Aug 2023 | Body & Soul
27 Answers
Say you live with a family member who has been hard of hearing for years but they refuse to get a hearing test or aid.

They are in denial about their hearing and instead blame other for mumbling and not not speaking clearly. Many things have to be repeated to them which is fine short term but over a long period can honestly get annoying.

When out and about you realise that they are only partly hearing others conversations. They might meet an old friend on the street and you can tell that at times they really haven’t heard as the person will ask them a question and they will reply ‘oh’ and smile. They also get annoyed if you point this out to them and mention anything about their hearing.

Is there any effective way to deal with this, or is the best way really just to keep repeating everything for them?



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Speak louder. Be more tolerant - it might be you one day.
You cannot force them to buy or obtain a Hearing aid.

The most common situation is when they can hear you but cannot understand what you are saying.

It is called Pesbycusis.

The only solution to this is to speak slowly and precisely. Not as easy as it sounds, but Noel Coward developed this speech beautifully presented.
Wow, I thought it was just me, I can hear the volume OK but it often sounds gibberish.

So, it's Pesbycusis (at least I can tell folk now).
When my father went mutton we got my daughter (deaf) to persuade him. It worked.

Now we have it with my Mother, 93 and still very stubborn (and fiery).
Not got there yet. She moans no one calls her but if you do its pointless.
Are you aware that you can get hearing aids free on the NHS if you are old enough. Places like Specsavers offer the service but, be careful, some branches offer the hearing test free but sell the hearing aids, others test and supply under NHS. Once you've got one even the replacement batteries are free.
It's a weird sort of personal pride - I can't understand it myself, must make life bloody difficult.
start writing your responses down on paper and hand it to them. When they ask why you are doing this, you then reply, on paper, as speaking to you is pointless as, I hate to say it, you have long needed an aid.
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Yes this is what I meant .. they know that I am saying something they just can’t make out what it is.

Believe me though I make a lot of effort to speak slow around them and clear it may help a little but not a lot.

It may well be me one day, but I would rather get an hearing aid than keep making everyone repeat everything. Call me callous but I do think part responsibility falls on the person who is hard of hearing to have an aid although yea we can’t make them it is up to them.

Pesbycusis I didn’t know this was what it was called I’l see if I can find some tips when speaking, thanks
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Bhg481, thanks, if the time ever comes when they will accept one I’l be sure to look into this further.

Right now though, I am snapped at and blamed for my ‘mumbling’ speech whenever I even mention their hearing.
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I can understand that Canary, it’s a bit like having to accept a walking aid I guess.

I have mentioned to them that they do some cooler looking hearing aids and that young people have them. At this point though even if I offered one made of solid gold I would get snapped at.
The early ones, like my dad had 40 years ago, used to make the sound louder. Nowadays when you have your hearing tested they test at several frequencies of sound; it's fairly common that the response to high frequencies falls off with age, causing sound to be "blurred". When they fit you with a digital hearing aid they tune it to your frequency loss ie, only amplifying the frequencies that you are losing, so the sound is clearer. If you explain that to your relative and persuade them to have a free test it may become clear to them exactly why they think you are mumbling.
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Thanks bhg, this I didn’t know. That would make sense with the frequencies. I wonder if speaking in a deep voice would help, even though as much as I want to help I ain’t doing that.
It is difficult to come to terms with declining facilities and artificial replacements. I guess I had an early start (first denture in early teens, lost most hair by 30) which helps I suppose (not that I recommend it LOL).
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I appreciate that Canary, though I would see this as even more reason to have an aid because the longer you are hard of hearing the more people realise this and you become the one that people have to speak clearly too.

If you have an aid you can fully join in conversations and your intelligence will show to its full extent.
Good point. Getting it across to those who are in denial is the challenge of course. My grandmother and mother both always used the "it's because you always mumble" defence before eventually coming to terms - and then when they get an aid they keep telling you how wonderful it is, why didn't you tell them before. You can't win :-)
My OH hearing deteriorated over a period of years and it's all very well saying be patient but when you have to respeat everything you say several times and then be told ' There's no need to shout' patience wears a bit thin. We started off going to Specsavers for NHS hearing aids but we not really happy with their follow service and then a friend said to go back to the doctor to be referred to the Audiology Dept (not ENT)at the
hospital, where they did a test and took a mould of his inner ear. It took a while to get the initial appointment but this week we picked up his new Bluetooth hearing aids and he's like a different person that I can actually have a conversation with.
My Mum (who was quite deaf) had a saying (which, as I'm somewhat hard of hearing, I agree with): "Going blind is a tragedy; going deaf is a nuisance."

Nobody berates a person who cannot see properly (or at all). Of all disabilities, loss of sight seems to attract the most consideration from others. But ask somebody to repeat what they've said and reaction varies from mild annoyance to downright hostility.
Coleridge mused that the perfect marriage would be that a deaf man to a blind woman.

But seriously; If you could only somehow get him to a hearing aid centre and they could put one in his ear, he'd be sold on the idea right away
oh I see, stick the hearing aid in with superglue....
presbycusis - it has an /r/ in it (*) - I thought also an /a/ but no

do these people exist? come from a genetically deaf ( mod, mature onset) family and there was always no question if..... only when. The one with a white forelock.

I did however tell someone they obviously had osteopetrosis and my god didnt I get an... earful.

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