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Val123's avatar

What do you think of the mind-set of people who so OBVIOUSLY need a hearing aid, but refuse to get one?

Asked by Val123 (12704points) June 22nd, 2010

There is a small business man (small, as in, one-man-business) in town that you have to YELL to talk to. Oh man. I had to place a phone call to him, so I went into another, “private,” room at my office to make the call. Went to VM. I thought “Oh man. He mostly reads lips….” so I lft the message as loud as I could without disrupting the rest of the office.
Twenty minutes later he called back, asking what it was I needed. Again I went to the “private” (read “bathroom with the door shut!”), and I’m having to repeat key words over, and louder, and over and LOUDER again until he repeats those four key words back to me, then I know that he got the message.
I’ve known this person for many years, and his hearing loss just keeps getting worse and worse, and yet he refuses to get a hearing aid.
So, what are your thoughts on people who CAN’T HEAR but refuse to get a hearing aid….?

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15 Answers

rebbel's avatar

Say what?

Val123's avatar

I said SHUT UP!!!!!! Ok, no I didn’t…...

Seaofclouds's avatar

Is it that he refuses or can’t afford them? My mom needs hearing aids, but she can’t afford them and her insurance won’t cover them.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I feel kind of bad for them. I think it might be hard for some people to admit that as they age, hearing loss and eyesight loss just come with the territory a lot of the time. That said, it can be really frustrating.

I remember trying to talk to a customer one time who couldn’t hear that well at all, so I kept raising my voice. Finally, after raising my voice quite a bit and after I got done talking, she said, “You didn’t have to yell”. Argh!

Cruiser's avatar

I know I will need one as all my Rock and Roll music and guitar playing will take me down….but I am almost looking forward to being able to turn off all the noise! Finally…peace and quiet!

knitfroggy's avatar

My husband is 37. He is close to totally deaf. He has holes in his hear drums from seven sets of ear tubes as a child that didn’t heal properly because of a disorder he has. He never tells people he cannot hear them. I always have to tell people “He’s very hard of hearing.” because he is ashamed. He wouldn’t dream of wearing hearing aids because he is young and just doesn’t want to. We’ve discussed it on many occasions. He isn’t interested. I think he’s used to it more than anything. He’s had trouble with his hearing since he was a small child.

Kayak8's avatar

I am one of “those people” and I have friends who are always threatening to take me to the Belltone Store, I have had a progressive hearing loss that leaves me totally deaf in one ear and the other is a challenge. I pay very close attention when folks are speaking to me, but a hearing aid would not help my right ear at all. It is a guess as to how helpful it would be for my left ear . . . I like the ability to attend or not attend as feels appropriate to me.

dpworkin's avatar

Hearing aids are no panacea (although the newest, customized ones are very effective, they are also phenomenally expensive) and also I think that hearing loss can be subtle, and people often don’t realize they are hard of hearing. My Uncle Mike used to beg us to “stop mumbling.”

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I wouldn’t think much – I’d understand that it’s difficult for them to resign themselves to hearing aids and would deal with it and feel lucky I have my hearing.

faye's avatar

Some causes of hearing loss won’t respond to hearing aids- maybe that’s it for him.

reverie's avatar

There are a huge number of reasons why people with hearing loss choose not to get hearing aids. I do not personally have any hearing loss, but my best friend and former housemate of three years (who is now an audiologist) was profoundly deaf in her left ear and severely deaf in her right ear, and we spoke about hearing a lot which is why I have some knowledge of this area.

Firstly, all hearing aids do is amplify the sounds which enter your ear canal – all a hearing aid is made of is a microphone, amplifier and a speaker. For some people, increased amplification helps them immensely. Without wanting to get complicated, for some people, the nature of their hearing loss means the noise signal they hear is very degraded, and simply amplifying it will not help the clarify of the message (in the same way that raising your voice or shouting at a deaf person may not help them understand you any better). If someone has a hearing loss of this nature, a hearing aid may be unhelpful.

Secondly, there are huge variations in the quality of hearing aids available. Here in the UK, our NHS provides good-quality modern digital hearing aids for people for free (unfortunately you do have to wait a while!), but I don’t know about the situation in other countries. Certainly, my friend never wore her older hearing aids because they were absolutely useless – they indiscriminately amplified all sounds, not just speech, so the rustling of clothing, food packaging etc became as loud as someone’s voice – hardly pleasant or helpful. These hearing aids are at the cheaper end of the market, and if this what you can afford, I can understand why someone would choose not to get them. If they can’t afford a really good hearing aid that will really help them rather than cause them irritation and frustration, I can understand why they might not bother at all.

Thirdly, it is sometimes very difficult for a hearing person to appreciate what it is like living as a deaf or hearing impaired person. My profoundly deaf friend and I have had conversations where she has said if she could choose to have perfect hearing or stay as she is, she would actually prefer to keep her hearing loss. Her loss is congenital, rather than something that has developed over time, but I can completely understand her reasoning – she likes her quiet world, and prefers not to be bothered by sounds that can annoy a lot of people (doors banging, dogs barking, traffic, etc.). Her new hearing aid helps her at lot, but she chooses to wear it only at specific times, when she feels like it.

Fourthly, as others have touched upon, there is a degree of stigma, discomfort, anxiety, embarrassment, shame, and so on, that can sometimes be attached to seeking help for hearing loss, and wearing hearing aids. I’m sure you understand that this is a really big issue for some folks.

Fifthly, for the situation you describe where you are trying to communicate on the telephone, sometimes hearing aids aren’t effective in this situation. As you commented, many deaf people rely on lipreading for speech comprehension, and for some people, depending on the nature of their hearing impairment, telephone conversations will always be a challenge, whether they have amplified what’s coming down the receiver with a hearing aid or not.

I totally agree with you that it is frustrating when you see someone that you perceive to be struggling with communication, when it seems like a hearing aid could really help them. If it was someone I was really close to in this situation, then I might sit them down and see if they wanted to talk about the situation. But it’s such a deeply personal thing (as a lot of health problems are), that if it’s someone you aren’t very close to, I guess you just have to be patient with them. I totally understand that the communication can be difficult and frustrating when you talk to someone with hearing loss, but I think what you have to remember is that is what every conversation is like for that person, every day. It’s such a personal thing that I think the only thing you can do is respect the person’s own decisions they make about how to manage their condition, and offer advice only if it is requested or seems really appropriate (i.e., someone you are very close to).

eden2eve's avatar

A family member who was also suffering from mild dementia lost her hearing aids at least once a month. Sometimes they were found, more often not. After awhile it just got prohibitive to keep replacing them.

Val123's avatar

Thank you all. It put a different perspective on everything for me~

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