Results from 2 visits for hearing aids.
Costco. Administered by a certified technician. The test was a Windows program which tested each ear programatically. Test consisted of playing beep’s in one ear then another with Mom pressing a button when she heard them. Showed significant hearing loss in left ear with the right ear even worse. The technician programmed a pair of hearing aids and placed them on Nana’s ears. The results seemed to be pretty good. Mom heard both of us at normal speaking volumes but certainly not a genuine test.
Today we went to the Audiologist recommended by her PCP. This test, I felt, was much better as it was administered solely by the Audiologist. First she tested that Mom’s ear drums were behaving normally, they were. The next test consisted of the beep test, but the technician varied the pattern after it was clear Mom was guessing. She also spoke to her and had he repeat words and or letters. Both tests (as the ones at Cosco) were done at multiple frequencies 250hz – 4000hz. She would vary the volume until Mom was able to either hear the beep or repeat the phrase.
The results were interesting. In her left ear, she was correct a little of 60% of the time. In her right ear the success rate dropped into the mid 20% range. In her left ear, some of the misses were minor, like missing the “s” at the end of a word. In her right ear the misses were wild. Some of the words Mom repeated had no sonic relationship to the word she “heard”.
The audiologist would later explain that due to Mom’s hearing in her right ear being so bad, having a hearing aid in that ear would make things much worse and screw up whatever good hearing she had in her right ear. The bottom line is we all agreed Mom would demo a hearing aid in her left ear. The hearing aid is the Widex Unique 110 ($1000). It’s a step up from the bottom end ($800) which is okay, but old technology. The next step up ($1500) is the the one the Audiologist prefers but it’s benefits (more channels) won’t add that much to Mom’s hearing experience. The other benefit is slightly better ambient noise elimination. But considering Mom doesn’t get out much and it doesn’t get crazy busy around her other then every couple of months (November and December, though are exceptions). The demo costs a non-refundable and will not be applied to the purchase, is $75. I told Mom I will pay for the demo. It will be an unexpected Birthday present as she will get it on December 20th.
I don’t have to tell you the challenges we are have when trying to communicate with her, consider your experience and expand it to all day for 5 1/2 weeks. Also, we’ve run into a few situations where her lack of hearing caused big problems as she was very upset with what she heard. Of course what she heard was significantly different that what was said. Most of the time she stewed about and blew up later.
I must also say she has had multiple experiences which were completely in her head. Two quick ones. She took a shower, came to us later and said there was a pair of little girl underwear in the shower and wanted to know why we allowed a little girl to use her shower. She reached this conclusion because of the underwear and the fact the shower head had been moved. I looked and only found 3 wash cloths and a pair of her underwear. She reluctantly accepted that (I don’t think she believed me). The other was this morning when she told a tail that during the night another young girl came to her with a tee shirt which had apparently been used to clean up dog mess. In the tee shirt was a folded up $10 bill. The bill dropped and she told me she couldn’t find it. I said that was quite a dream. She said no, it was real. Again she really didn’t believe me.
Okay, a third happened just now. I heard her talking while watching TV. I asked her what was up. She said she saw Donna on TV. I said no, she’s a meeting at church. She said Donna was wearing a bathing suit with big flowers and I said, I’m sure it wasn’t her. Mom then asked if Donna had such a bathing suit. I said no, she doesn’t. Quote of the day followed: “I guess anyone could look like someone else in a bathing suit”. Yes, I said, I suppose. As I walked as she said, “maybe it wasn’t her”.
There was a brief thing while we waited for the time to leave for the Audiologist. All of sudden she yelled out a bit angerly, “ok now, let’s go”. I said, do you mean to the hearing test? we’ll leave in about 15 minutes. A few minutes later she yelled it again. We left a few minutes later.
I am concerned about her mental health. I suspect this most recent episode along with the one she shared this morning where dreams (she often doses off on the chair in the living room). But there have been others.
I’ll keep in touch.