Best suitable aids for a 96 yr old

My 96 yr old FIL is in all sorts of trouble with his hearing aids. His R ear WRS is 8%, his L ear is 32%. His current hearing aids are Signia super power aids non rechargeable. He has constant trouble getting his aids in or out. He constantly breaks the tubes, therefore hubby is at the audiologist every week or 2 getting them cleaned and new tubes put in.

He doesn’t have a smart phone to do alterations on an app. He doesn’t have the internet either. He also has early stage dementia. He should have had a CI 20 yrs ago, but he wouldn’t manage a CI with todays technology.

Would a Cros or Bi Cros work for him?
As long as it’s not rechargeable, doesn’t need the internet and definitely needs to be batteries.

Thoughts please people?

@Deaf_piper: Has this poor man nobody to help him put in/remove his devices?

He lives alone and point blank refuses to go into a care facility. I would have to go over twice a day to help with his aids and that’s a 2 hour round trip for me, doing this twice a day isn’t practical.

@Deaf_piper: Frankly speaking - are the aids doing him any good at all, given his loss and his living situation?


They help a bit for his left ear. Enough so he can communicate on a landline phone, and have a conversation with people/visitors/carers.

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@Deaf_piper: Okay - so is it possible to reduce the issue by half by deciding that your FIL will only wear ONE HA, henceforth?

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@Deaf_piper: If your FIL has the manual dexterity to change batteries, I’m going to assume that his technique, and not a lack of dexterity, is the root cause of his insertion/extraction problems. Is this a fair conclusion? (Or is his ear canal so sinuous that deep insertion is problematic? If so, could he wear a full skeleton mould with shallow insertion tips?)

If his technique is the problem, has he the capacity to benefit from training, or have his cognitive skills deteriorated beyond that point?

[FYI: I’m trying to reduce the problem to its smallest scale…]


@Deaf_piper: If your 96-year-old FIL still has enough suction left in him to live on his own and insist on it, he must be a feisty old fella. What’s his attitude towards his aids and this problem?

What I’m getting at is - how valuable are his aids (his aid, now) to him? Is he motivated to work cooperatively with you to solve the problem?

(May God bless him, BTW.)


Yes you are partially correct, add his early onset dementia along with fast declining cognitive skills his life is difficult. His fingers have got very awkward in movements recently.

The audiologist today took impressions for new moulds. They will take 2 weeks to come back. I’m going with them to the audiologist next visit to discuss all his options. As my husband has no clues with regard to hearing aids.

I know they advocate wearing 2 aids, but in his situation at 96 he’s not going to get a CI so there’s not a great reason why he needs 2 aids. Especially when one ear is virtually useless so why keep sound going into the nerve.

One of total frustration. He wants it/them working so he can communicate. As I’m just the DIL I try to stay out of his problems and let his children manage him. As they have no knowledge of HA’s I can see I’m going to have to get involved with his hearing aids in future.

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@Deaf_piper: Yes - I hope his children recognize your deep knowledge about hearing issues/aids, and let you contribute freely and fully.

Reduction/simplification are the watchwords. I agree that the complications arising from aiding the essentially “dead ear” negate any advantage of doing so (… my unsolicited opinion!)

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Do not get him a RIC HA, just get him a durable/trusty Oticon SP/UP BTE HA, they are built like a tank and have them make a hearing aid mold that is easy to take out with a pull out grab thing.


@ssa: Your opinions on UP HAs are much better informed than mine. Thank you for sharing them with @Deaf_piper. I hope her FIL finds a workable solution.


@ssa: I hear @Zebras has one where the pull tab that looks like a tiny tree frog!

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A family member of mine found the best solution for her uncle with dementia was a personal amplifier that could be worn on the chest. He kept losing (or chewing on) his hearing aids. I don’t know what his audiogram looked like but he wore big looking BTEs and was pretty deaf without them.


Yes - it’s simple enough, all right, but would it provide enough power and adjustability to actually work in a profound loss situation?

[Addendum: I’m not expressing a doubt here … I know nothing about devices like the ones you’re talking about and am curious as to whether they are sophisticated enough to really aid speech comprehension.]

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He’s long past RIC HA’s. The AuD gave husband a Phonak Naida UP SP brochure to look at. (My experience with Phonak aids isn’t good)

The biggest problem is Hearing Australia are contracted to sell Signia aids. And trying to get anything but Signia out of them is extremely difficult.

@MDB How does a personal amplifier work with phone calls? As he talks on the phone a lot. The very basic one he had in hospital didn’t seem to help. It was good for conversations with people though. Are the battery operated or need charging? Because his past remembering to charge things.

Nothing wrong with those, Signia is just as good/bad as any others, a couple of models come to mind that could possibly be suitable.
Motion 13P Nx
Motion SP PX (very powerful)
Intuis 3 SP (Basic but powerful)
All are bigger BTE the intuis SP is 675 battery just like the Phonak UP, they qoute 160 hours, so could possibly get 12 days before a change.

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What I meant by that is other brands, Oticon, Resound Enzo, Renton, Widex etc aren’t available to choose from. It doesn’t matter if other companies have a more suitable HA it’s just not available. The AuD just stares at you for daring to ask and shakes her/his head.

I simply don’t know anything about Signia aids other than what my FIL has, and they tend to keep breaking. Wether that’s his fault or not. I trialed them years ago and didn’t like them.

I have worn Rexton, a sister brand for 4 years. The only breakage was receivers that appear to last about 2 years. In my case, though, they have not updated the firmware for newer iPhones.

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Re: Phone calls. I’d guess best solutions for phone are either landline with adjustable volume (usually also have large numbers for visual impairment too) or speaker phone on cell phone. My take is that this is a problem that calls for raw power and not finesse.
I don’t know which personal amplifer my sister used. This:

looks decent and uses AAA batteries.

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