Help to get my mother able to hear me on the phone

#1

Is there any techy solution that will help my mother hear me when I phone here? She has a hearing aid but never uses it. She can hear me when I visit her and shout loud enough and if she looks at me when talking but trying to talk to her on the phone now is hopeless. So I phone her every other day to se she is well and she talks to me and that’s it. She’s 87. If there was a way of typing a message to her that she could see (without having to have a router, computer email etc - that is totally beyond here - though she has no excuse I know a 95 year old who uses the internet). Hoping someone can help?

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#2

For the typed messages, a TTY https://www.google.com/search?q=TTY&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS765US765&oq=TTY&aqs=chrome…69i57j0l5.2263j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

would work, but an amplified telephone would likely be simplest. I think there are programs to be able to get them for free if you get a form signed by a doctor.

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#3

Has she had a recent hearing test? It normally takes a few adjustments to get hearing aids just right, then some time for the brain to adjust. It is not like putting on glasses.

My hearing aids are, basically, life-changing. I would advise start with a hearing test, modern hearing aids, a few adjustments, and wear them all day, every day, no matter what. In six months the benefits could be significant.

There are some devices available to connect land lines or cell phones directly to hearing aids and most new hearing aids can connect to iPhones without an additional device. Phonak Marvel can connect to Android or iPhone without a device.

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#4

So are you saying you would use a hearing aid to talk to someone on the phone? She cant be bothered to put it on - ever. Even if visitors come (and that’s only about once a year as she doesn’t want them) I have no idea re hearing test. The doctors she is registered with don’t know her as she never goes same with dentists. All too much trouble.

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#5

My family practice doctor told me that some people who can’t or don’t adjust to hearing aids get help from Bose Hearphones. I don’t know much about them–including whether they’d help your mother hear you on the phone. Maybe–if she had a speaker phone too?

I also think that helping her adjust to hearing aids is the real answer, but maybe she’d see this as less of a fuss. It does still function with earbuds though. I think they let you return them, with all the money ($499) back in 30 days if they don’t work out.

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#6

Let’s be realistic. At 87, if she doesn’t like using her hearing aids, she probably isn’t going to start using and liking them. Moreover, they probably aren’t going to help her hear when using a corded phone. And I assume that hearing aids Bluetooth-paired to a smart phone is out of the question.

My best guess at something she might be willing to use AND might enable her to hear you on the phone is a binaural headset with an amplifier that can be plugged into her corded phone while still maintaining the conventional headset. Search something like: “binaural telephone headset with amplifier”. I’m guessing that she might find it more acceptable to slip on the headset and adjust a volume dial (like on a radio) than stick HAs in her ears and try to make them work without squealing, discomfort, and the things I suspect she complains about. This potential solution of course depends on her loss, her willingness to slip on headphones, and her eagerness to hear you on the phone.

BTW, I used this solution on my landline until I got $6,500 Oticon OPNs and paired them to my iPhone.

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#7

Do people who use hearing aids use them on the phone? She has always claimed they don’t help.

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#8

Worn hearing aids all my life and I use them with landlines and mobile phones all the time. The only difference is I press my phone headset directly over the speaker of my hearing aid (I wear behind the ear ones) rather than to my ear canal as people with normal hearing would and it amplifies the sound well.

I agree that for many people starting hearing aids later in life, one key issue is you do need to first get used to having your brain “hear” with them. Also, getting the right sound settings is important, including the fit of the ear mould, if she’s wearing one with that.

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#9

Yes. A couple of brands have a phone program that picks up the sound and transmits it to the other ear, so you get the phone call in both ears. It would switch to that mode one of two ways, one is it would sense a phone and automatically switch to phone mode, or you can switch manually using the buttons on the phone.

If she had the in-the-ear style hearing aids it might work without using a special phone mode.

My wife’s aunt, 86, just got new hearing aids after having an old set and not using them, and she loves the new ones. They set them up to transmit from her iPhone so now she takes calls that way. She says they are so comfortable she can’t tell they are there.

But it took some “you need this” talks where people told her they were tired of repeating everything to her over and over.

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#10

YE GODS Trevor1. You have my utmost empathy. Your mom is not young, so it will be hard to even get through to her. If the roles were reversed, chances are SHE would love for YOU to wear aids - sad.

Is she of sound mind to listen to reason? There have been MANY articles on the topic of hearing loss and dementia. I have seen this happen to a dear aunt, and it is really scary. Maybe you could print this out and show her - from AARP.

MANY of today’s aids make things very easy to hear on the phone. I’ve used a few of them myself, and currently, am LOVING my Phonak Marvel aids that stream phone calls (and other audio sources - TV, laptop) directly into my ears.

With age, dexterity and coordination become increasing issues, too. So there’s no guarantee that your mom is even able to insert the aids correctly or use the program/volume buttons. Adding cell phones with automatic call streaming and control of the aids is a whole 'NUTHER dimension.

I hope you can focus on the basics: get your mom to acknowledge your frustration and concern for her health and safety. Believe me, we deaf folks SEE with our EARS. Not being aware of sounds around us makes us more likely to trip, step in front of traffic, you-name-it! It simply is not safe - NOR is it a good recipe for independent living - to go without hearing aids if you need them.

GOOD LUCK in getting this point across. For my aunt, she went from living in her own apt at 91 to 3 different care facilities - KICKED OUT of one even - and then dead at 92. She went down that fast.

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