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Hearing aids cause tension in relationship

Q: I recently took my mom to a hearing aid clinic to get tested by an audiologist. The results of his tests were clear. She needed hearing aids. Hearing aids are expensive and I knew that my mom did not have the money to pay for them so I took a chance, much to my husband’s consternation, and paid for them from our family account.

At first, I thought that all was well. My mom was wearing her hearing aids regularly and her ability to communicate more appropriately with all of us in the family was noticeably better. But then she stopped using the aids and started telling everyone that I was a controlling manipulator. That hurt. I took a chance with our family finances to pay for the hearing aids because I wanted to help her. All that I wanted in return was a little appreciation.

Instead I got a husband who is angry that I challenged our family finances as much as I did and a mom who has apparently been embittered by the whole experience. Where did I go wrong?

A: Hearing problems creep up on people and they are not aware of the severity of the problem. They do not know what to do about it because they have not figured out that they have a problem.

It’s like bad breath. Everyone else knows about the problem before the person knows.

You got caught up because you were aware of your mom’s problem before either she or your husband was so when you tried to fix it, you were met with considerable resistance.

You might have been more successful if you had spent more time helping both your mom and husband understand that her hearing loss was serious.

That might have helped your mom resolve this matter and more successfully purchase and adapt to her new aids.

This dilemma will soon pass but chances are that your mom will soon struggle keeping up her own home. Again, you will most likely notice it before your mom admits to it and before your husband is able to figure out where in your budget you can find the funds to help your mom.

If this happens, consider spending time talking to your mom about her struggles with autonomy before you start filling in applications for care homes.

At the same time, prepare both you and your husband for what could be an increased expense to accommodate elder care.

If you spend time helping everyone understand the problem, you will more likely get support when the three of you try to fix it. Maybe then your mom can maintain her personal integrity while getting the support she needs.

In return, you might get some of the appreciation that you lost with the hearing aids.

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