Depressed and increasingly social isolated – mum finally received some good news. My case for new hearing aids – 3 years earlier than the standard pensioner replacement time of normally 5 years – had been approved.
Unfortunately on the day of the hearing aid appointment, I was still suffering from dizziness – bought about according to my doctor – from an intense 3 months of caring for mum after she had had a fall.
So my 40 year old son, took his granny and returned her to my place all smiles.
Mum could hear us – wearing the small microphone – shaped like a USB – clipped onto our tops – when she was in the kitchen and we went into the loungeroom. Again with it clipped on to my son who tends to mumble at times, she could hear him clearly. OMG – placing the device in front of the TV for the first time in years, mum could hear the TV. She could actually hear it without the USB microphone device – just with her new hearing aids.
When I took her home, we set it all up and yes she could hear her TV.
Smiles. High Fives. Happy
Gone will be the Watcha Say? Hanging up because she can’t hear.
Day 2. I went to mum’s to drop off some shopping and check up on her. Problems! She couldn’t hear the TV. She was pushing volume buttons up and down on the remote device that ‘talks’ via Bluetooth to the USB microphone. Stop. I explained it was the TV remote she needed to push as she had it on silent! So explained with the new hearing aids and devices – she could have it on at a level that I could sit and listen to the TV with mum
I wrote out very simplified instructions regarding how the remote device she wore around her neck ‘talked’ to the USB microphone.
No light = OFF
Green light = ON
Blue Light – Bluetooth connected – the devices could ‘talk’ to each other
Red Light – Turning Off (then would have no light).
OK….All understood after a couple of practise runs. Mum was taking it to cards and was going to clip the USB to the side of her little water bottle cover.
Day 3 I ring mum to let her know what time we will pick her up to take her out for lunch – as we normally do each Sunday. How did you go yesterday at cards with your hearing aids and the USB microphone I asked.
I lost it – she replied. I lost the microphone. I think it might have been caught up at the end, in the tablecloths, or card packs when it was all been packed up. I rang the card organiser and told her but she didn’t see it anywhere.
So hubby and I go around. Hubby retraces the road, path, and into the centre where she played cards at the retirement village. He looks in drains, curbs, driveway ramps. No sign of it. I look in her two handbags, purse, zip compartments. No sign of it. I look everywhere all over her scooter.
Oh she says, when I came back the scooter was extra noisy. I think something must have been misplaced when I went over the road bumps. And she added – there is something wrong with the phone ringing volume. I could only hear it, because I was standing next to it.
Hubby walks in and within seconds, finds the USB microphone in front of the TV. I thought that you said you left it in the centre yesterday afternoon. Oh, says mum. You found it – where was it? In front of the TV, I reply. Oh, well I can’t remember putting it there. I must have put it there when I came back and forgot. Anyway, she added, it doesn’t work. It’s useless – I can’t hear the TV. I look at the device. That is because it is turned off, I say calmly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You have to turn this on and the remote device – where is the sheet of instructions I wrote out about the colours!!!
So I set it up again and test it. All good. Off we go to lunch.
My son clips the USB onto his shirt. Yes, granny can hear him.
Then – oh the background noise is soooo so noisy says mum. Stand up and look behind you – there is nothing there! Mum looks. Well there is loud background noise. That is just the general noise of the RSL lunch area. Your brain has to readjust and get used to been able to hear again. Mum goes to the loo – oh the toilet is so loud and noisy. Great her new hearing aids are working – they might need the volume adjusted. Mind you mum has pushed volumes up and down so much since the audiologist had set them.
Lunch over – mum heads into the pokies to play her $5 at 1 or 5 cents a push. She is very happy. She can hear and she wins $5!
After two days of some busyness caring for hubby who had an eye operation, I finally get time to ring mum. Without enquiring how my hubby is – who does so so so much for her also – mum says – I want you to take the hearing aids and everything back. They are too noisy. The microphone doesn’t work. The volume of everything is too loud – to much background noise.
I try and explain that the audiologist said it will take some time, to readjust to hearing and to preserve.
Mum replies dogmatically and emphasising her words I SAID TAKE THEM BACK. I DON’T WANT THEM. THEY ARE TOO NOISY AND DON’T WORK.
Mum explained that she spoke to another woman who had something similar – and how she stopped using them and reverted to her old hearing aids.
Mum says she has packed everything back into the box, and I am to come and pick them up and take them back. Mum has the Bluetooth remote and USB microphone on trial for just over a fortnight before paying $550 for those – the hearing aids are free replacements. Remember – because she was crying from depression with her social isolation from not been able to hear and people ignoring her.
I try to explain it is like rehab after a hip operation. You have to keep working at the exercise for improvement. Same with the hearing aids, you just have to keep wearing them – preserve – to get used to them and retrain the brain.
Mum replies, that there are at least 5 deaf people at the RSL cards and none of them have a remote device or microphone. Well I reply aren’t you lucky you do have these – to help you with your hearing.
I don’t want them. I am using my old hearing aids. I want you to TAKE IT ALL BACK.
Me: I can’t hear you. Whatca say. And hang up
It is time for a Bailey’s on the rocks! Time is 9.30am.
PS – I checked the phone – mum had turned the sound down as with her new hearing aids it didn’t need to be sooooo loud.
Hubby checked her scooter. There was nothing wrong with it – just her new hearing aids – she could hear it better.
To be continued.
Mum’s hearing has been deteriorating at an amazing rapid rate over the past few years. Although she has been going to a hearing aid place – for new hearing aids and many adjustments, nothing seemed to improve.
In fact the last time she went to a Hearing Centre, the hearing aids became even worse. They had been adjusted so that background and ‘normal talking voice’ noise were overbearingly too loud for mum.
For years, it has been so frustrating for family, trying to talk to mum. On the phone….well conversations are not only frustrating, but sometimes I also get the giggles.
For example a recent ‘conversation’ with mum:
Hello it is CELENA!
Mum: Is that you?
Me: Yes! I rang and cancelled the cleaner (Mum has a HACC cleaner once a fortnight)
Mum: What? You are having a clear out?
Me: NO, I rang and cancelled the cleaner
Mum: What is clear?
Me: I RANG AND CANCELLED THE C L E A N E R
Mum: Did you ring and cancel the Cleaner
Mum: You have to ring HACC
Me: I DID
Mum: Listen to me. You have to ring HACC
Me: F*%K – PUT YOUR HEARING AID IN
MUM: LISTEN TO ME! You have to ring HACC. I gave you the number.
Me: I DID!!!!! All done
Mum: Did you ring them?
Me: Y E S
Mum: If they don’t answer leave a message
Me: OK. HAVE A GOOD HOLIDAY
Then her recent stay in hospital just prior to going away:
Mum and Me – Conversation when I rang the hosptial
Nurse gives mum the phone and tells her it is her daughter on the phone.
Mum: Hello? Hello? Who is it?
Me: It is C – e – l – e – n – a
Mum: Hello is anyone there
Me: IT IS C E L E N A!
Mum: to Nurse, I don’t think anyone is there
Nurse: Do you have your hearing aids in?
Mum: Who is on the phone. I don’t think anyone is on the phone
Nurse: PUT YOUR HEARING AIDS IN (and obviously picks the up and gives them to mum), it is your DAUGHTER
Mum – mumble mumble as she fiddles
Mum: I can’t hear anything
Nurse: TURN YOUR HEARINGS AIDS ON OR UP. It is YOUR DAUGHTER
Fiddle mumble in background
Mum: Hello? Is that you Celena
Mum: Well I feel much better. I have different tablets. those tablets the doctor gave me made me feel sick
Me: Good. When are you coming home
Mum: I have been doing the exercises for my knee, and it feels a bit better
Me: OK. So when are you coming home?
Mum: Have you done the exercises for your knee?
Me: WHEN ARE YOU COMING HOME?
Mum: You should do the exercises Lisa gave me. They help a lot.
Me: W H E N ARE Y O U C O M I N G H O M E?
Mum: Anyway it is good you bought the cardigan up, I am not cold. It is a busy ward and the nurses are lovely.
Me: WHEN ARE YOU COMING HOME?
Mum: The meals are ok
Mum: Oh your knee – it hurts? Yes do the exercises.
Me: F*&K!! I WANT TO TALK TO THE NURSE!
Mum: It looks like a nice day I can see out the window.
Me: ARGH!! I WANT TO TALK TO THE NURSE! GET THE NURSE
Mum: When are you coming up? Bring a book with you
Me: – I just hung up. Then called hospital again and spoke to the nurse – useless talking to mum – she didn’t hear one word I said.
Nurse: Yes, we have given up, we are now writing on a piece of paper to communicate.
Me: Will she come out today? I need to work out when to come up.
Nurse: Maybe, maybe not. Don’t know. Hopefully we should know if doctor sees her this afternoon. She is much better on the different tablets. The ones the doctor gave her are known for making people nauseous. And her oxygen level is up. Unfortunately she likes to wander and forgets she is hooked up to the oxygen. When we yell out before it all falls down, well of course she doesn’t hear us, so we have to be quick.
I think they might be glad to have mum released!!!
So, this brings me back to the hearing aid and OMG a break through.
It seems that many hearing aid businesses have an agreement with particular hearing aid manufacturers. As did the one mum attended.
As of the middle of May, I took over the role of primary carer for mum. So having knowing this was coming, I had started turning away a lot of wedding enquiries, I have virtually stopped working – actually I have virtually stopped doing anything for myself…but this is about the hearing aids.
I took mum – but it took a lot of persuasion as she liked the man at the hearing aid place she went to – to an independent Hearing Business Neurosensory. Independent. NO sales agreement with manufacturers. State of the art testing equipment. So state of the art, that the tests do not leave mum absolutely exhausted!
The result after two visits – we can hear and we have new hearing aid moulds that seal mum’s ear canal. I am no longer shouting at mum. Phone calls can still be a problem, but day to day conversation is a lot easier. She still has some difficulty as she has a severe hearing problem. But oh, so much improved.
I had been trying to talk mum into an independent place for a few months. But she talks to other elderly people at cards and. they say, oh mine work, or oh I go here….it was hard work getting her to accept an appointment at the independent business. And that is one of the frustrations and emotional stress and exhaustion of being a carer also. Trying to reason and explain.
My daughter recently said to mum “Granny….mum is a very intelligent woman….you have to trust her”. Made me feel wonderful and wow….hmmmm mum listened to my daughter….and I have not only ‘fixed’ as best can be fixed the hearing issue……but have now signed mum up to a Level 1 and 2 Package. That story I will leave for another blog post.
So, I will just leave you then with this mum and me conversation:
Phone Rings and yes it is mum calling me.
Mum: Hello? Is that you?
Me: yes mum, it’s Celena
Mum: I want you to come around. I have a message on my phone and I can’t understand it (this is due to mum being nearly deaf…only wears one hearing aid! and frankly…well….that’s another chapter of a book)
Mum: continues as she hasn’t heard me. I think it is the gardener that David (my son) uses….I told him I wanted him to contact him as I wanted him to do some gardening work for me. I think he said he is coming around today. But I can’t understand the message. Can you come and listen to it. And tell David to ring him back and say I don’t want him to come around.
Me: OK….I will come around and listen to the message and let David know.
Me….Ring David….did you arrange for Ian the gardener to go to granny’s?
Me: Explain situation…..
Later….I go around to mum’s to listen to the message as I know it won’t be Ian….and why she even thought and relayed so much of a message that she couldn’t hear and it wasn’t him anyway, but mum makes up huge stories of things she assumes or decides.
So I go to mum’s. I make a lot of noise when I go around, so she hears that I am there.
Me: Hello I have come to listen to the message, as it isn’t Ian the Gardener
Mum: Oh….well I don’t know who it was. I deleted the message as I thought it was Ian and you would tell David to cancel him.
Me: Sigh…..(thinking is it wine time yet?)…well it wasn’t him, so now we don’t know who the message was from.
Mum: Oh well it doesn’t matter, if it is important they will ring back.
Now you are here, you can have a cuppa and a piece of cake.
Me: Sigh…. (thinking I will never lose weight…and actually I prefer a glass of wine! – oh it is only 10.30am….oh well!)
So my advice is – seek out an independent audiologist for your hearing aid tests and recommendations. One that is not aligned with one or two only hearing aid manufacturers.