Parents Turn Deaf Ears to Getting Medical Help

Article excerpt

Dear Ann Landers: My mom and dad are in their 60s and have serious hearing problems. Dad has a $700 hearing aid but won't use it because he says it sounds like a wind tunnel. Mom flat-out refuses to even get her hearing tested.

Having a conversation with my folks is exhausting. I have to repeat everything at least three times. They often misinterpret information, and I hesitate to get into family matters since they can't hear what is being said and get the facts wrong.

What worries me the most is when they drive. They cannot hear train whistles or ambulance sirens. Another problem is their inability to hear the phone ring. When I call and there is no response at night, I become concerned and drive over to see if they are OK.

My mother becomes annoyed with me because she says I mumble. Ann, I speak at hundreds of meetings a year and enunciate clearly. I am worn out trying to maintain a civil relationship with my parents, and I need some advice. Just sign me "WHAT?"

Enlist the help of your parents' doctor. Tell him or her what you have told me. Hopefully, the doctor will intervene and urge both parents to use a hearing aid.

It also sounds as if your folks should not be driving. If you honestly feel they are not safe behind the wheel of a car, call the police and report them. I have suggested this in the past and have been told this approach is extremely successful and possibly lifesaving.

Above all, be patient. One day, your children may have the same problem with you.

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Dear Ann Landers: This is about "Dottie," who told the hotel staff it was her parents' anniversary when it wasn't. …