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Advice regarding stubborn dad

(128 Posts)
Babyshark Fri 05-Jun-20 10:35:45

Hi all,
I need advice about how to talk to my dad and in fact whether it’s my place to talk to him. Actually it’s also a bit of a aibu. Sorry lots of requests there!

My dad is 69, semi retired and works part time. Does some childcare for me also.

His hearing has been declining for years and he had been adamant that he doesn’t want to get his hearing checked or see a GP but I do know he’s tried little things like wax remover in the hope it’s a simple fix but really it’s not.

He has a small social life but he relies on and enjoys the family social events and we all see each other frequently (in normal times).

His hearing is so bad now that it’s impacting on his ability to take part. He can’t hear conversations if there is any ambient noise, he feels left out and feels we leave him out despite everyone considering him to try and enable him to hear and get involved. If we are at home he wants the radio or tv on so loud that it’s literally uncomfortable for everyone else.

We have been at events where there are lots of people and he sits there feeling sorry himself because we are laughing and joking as a group but there is no chance whatsoever for him to take part.

He wants to support with child care and although it’s a massive help for me, financially we could manage nursery but he’s a brill grandad and he likes the company. My daughters love him but as they get older I worry his hearing impacts on their safety as they get older.

We have encouraged him for years to get his hearing tested and he keeps saying he’s not old enough for a hearing aid (not even sure if that would be the right solution). He’s not joking, he thinks hearing aids are for “old” people and by getting one he will suddenly decline in health and drop dead in a year - I’m not being flippant.

So.... aibu to raise this with him again. It’s sad that he’s so isolated and I can’t help but think going to the gp could literally be life changing for him.

Is it my place? Parents are separated but very friendly however my mum has given up because she feels he’s making a choice to isolate himself and that’s that.

How do I shift this mindset that a hearing aid or a gp appointment isn’t the beginning of the end for him confused!?

Thank you.

OceanMama Fri 05-Jun-20 10:45:31

You can talk to him about it but he has to be the one to decide to do something. Sometimes you just have to let it go and let them get to the point they are ready to do something themselves. It's frustrating when it could be fixed if he just got the help, but you can't make him.

If you have safety concerns with child minding and have talked to him and refuses to do anything, then, as the parent, you have every right and responsibility to not allow him to care for your child. It will be hard to make him sad about that, but your children's safety is important.

My friend got a hearing aid in her late 40s. Hardly old. I hope your father will decide to do something to help himself. It sounds like he is in denial about aging.

twinnytwin Fri 05-Jun-20 10:48:57

My Dad was exactly the same. He said that his golfing pals all teased one another if one of the club members wore hearing aids. In the end, Dad got them and it changed his life. It is so isolating when you can't hear. I know how it is if I get blocked ears with a cold. I definitely think you should speak to him again. There are many different types of hearing aids out there to choose from and some are very discreet. He doesn't have to have the NHS ones if he can afford others. First thing he needs to do though is to have a test. Good luck.

MiniMoon Fri 05-Jun-20 10:50:51

When he is able, he might be more inclined to have a hearing test at Boots or Specsavers. You could maybe have a chat with him about it when they open up again after lockdown.
Deafness is very isolating, as he has realised that hes missing out on so much, now might be a good time to bring it up again.
I'm 68 and seriously considering doing this as I have tinnitus which impacts on hearing the tv I have to turn the volume up which annoys DH.

annodomini Fri 05-Jun-20 11:17:43

Your dad might be surprised at how many of his contemporaries wear hearing aids. They can be very subtle and barely show that the hearers are wearing them. I wonder if he has a friend who could raise the subject with him. I blame social attitudes towards deaf or partially deaf people. Have you read 'Deaf Sentence' by David Lodge? He wrote it when he was himself losing his hearing. Your dad might find it enlightening as well as amusing.

MrsJamJam Fri 05-Jun-20 11:48:02

If you get a GP referral to Specsavers the aids are free. Very small and discreet. This after me nagging OH for months after getting fed up with either tv sound too loud or putting on the subtitles. He was pretty stubborn about it but is now really pleased with them and life is transformed. I do wonder why glasses are accepted but we all feel hearing aids are a sign of decrepitude. Our next door neighbour has been profoundly deaf since the age of 12.

SueDonim Fri 05-Jun-20 12:03:22

My dad was the same. He finally did something about it after one of the little GC commented that Grandad might as well be dead because he never listens to anything they said. Funnily enough, he heard that!

My Dh got aids last year and it’s true to say that it’s revolutionised my life as well as his. smile

sodapop Fri 05-Jun-20 12:23:23

I've recently had a very large amount of wax removed from one ear and its made a fantastic difference. No more turning up the volume on the TV and radio now. It could be something as simple as that.
MrsJamJam is right why are glasses ok but hearing aids seen as ageing. Maybe a comment from one of his grandchildren would spur him on.
I share your concerns about the safety aspect with child care.

jane1956 Fri 05-Jun-20 12:32:26

tell him to go to drs as they are free on NHS boots and specsavers are dear. My husband has had one for 5+ years so much better very small and not easy to spot. He is much happy now he can hear. Batteries are free too so no cost at all.

Furret Fri 05-Jun-20 12:32:46

This is me. My hearing is deteriorating in some situations. My adult children mumble so I do feel left out sometimes yet I have no trouble hearing my grandchildren or friends.
I find this very frustrating.

However I have had a hearing test and was told I was borderline. But that was a year ago at least

Please understand how your dad feels. His body is starting to let him down and this is another unwelcome sign of old age.

I think that if my adult children were to talk to me and say 'look mother, we hate it when you feel left out and don't get what we are talking about, please get another hearing test because we want you to feel included' or something like that, I might go back and do just that.

It's hard growing older. Be kind and talk to him in the nicest possible, caring way.

Hithere Fri 05-Jun-20 12:39:46

How many times have you talked to him before about this?

One more time wont help. He is in denial about his health.

I wouldnt let him be childcare anymore
It is a matter of safety and the kids come first, not adults to refuse to see reality and address their issues.

Maybe the removal of privileges he has now will make him snap and take care of himself

Best of luck

Hithere Fri 05-Jun-20 12:42:20

I hope he is not driving in his current condition.

TrendyNannie6 Fri 05-Jun-20 12:50:49

Yes he’s in denial. And yes it’s horrible when our senses deteriorate, but all sorts of ages have hearing aids, so I think he’s being a bit silly to be honest, but surely he can understand that it will improve his quality of life if he can do something about it, it’s a pride thing, I wouldn’t let him look after his grandchildren if he’s having these probs, he is being left out but could join in if he had a hearing test and take it from there

TwiceAsNice Fri 05-Jun-20 13:11:04

I also think hearing aids nowadays are very discreet and he’s shouting himself in the foot not to try them. Ask him first would he try some ear drops and get the practice nurse to syringe his ears when this is allowed. I have mine done twice a year as apparently I make more wax than normal and that impacts massively on my hearing when it’s at its worst. It feels like the world is turned up when I come out of the surgery. I also have very small ear canals which make it worse. Would he find it easier to speak to the practice nurse rather than GP?

Hetty58 Fri 05-Jun-20 13:15:22

It could just be a severe case of impacted ear wax. Would he be willing to have that checked by his GP?

If you could make the appointment, that might be a start, a way in - especially if you phone in with a message for the doctor (to let them know how bad things are). You have to be sneaky with the stubborn!

Alexa Fri 05-Jun-20 13:23:47

Your father sounds quite stupid. The best way to treat somebody who can't change their ideas is to make light of the situation, light hearted friendly jokes sort of thing.

murraymints65 Fri 05-Jun-20 13:27:19

With respect furret its probably not that they mumble its because of hearing loss, my husband always says I mumble it's just because he is hard of hearing.

Kate54 Fri 05-Jun-20 13:29:24

Perhaps look at it from the childcare point of view - the grandchildren need him to be able to hear them in the interests of safety. In my experience, a gentle threat can work wonders!

SueDonim Fri 05-Jun-20 13:33:06

Why on earth shouldn’t he drive? confused

There’s no law saying you can’t drive a private car (it’s different for buses etc) and I have deaf friends who drive. It surely can’t be any worse than driving with loud music or earphones on.

NotSpaghetti Fri 05-Jun-20 13:49:11

My father had a hearing aid from his late 30s and often told the stories of "when I could suddenly hear again".
They really make you think about the life he had in the period before he had an aid and how much he had missed out.

My mother in law was adamant she didn't need one till at 95 she realised she struggled with her bridge group.
She was advised by a wily friend to seek help from an "augmented hearing" specialist!!!
she DID!
Now she has a tiny device for "augmentation purposes" and is as happy as Larry!

Try changing the language! You may be surprised!

NotSpaghetti Fri 05-Jun-20 13:49:49

Just realised I've obviously got shares in the exclamation mark!!!

Hithere Fri 05-Jun-20 13:54:16

An able hearing person relies on that skill to drive.
If he is not able to contribute in conversations where there is background noise, he definently would not hear a car coming fast behind him or somebody honking for him to stop

Deaf people have already adapted to their circumstances.

You are not supposed to drive with headphones on, at least legally where I live. It's a no brainer.

rosenoir Fri 05-Jun-20 13:55:08

Download a hearing test app. He can test his hearing himself then may realise how bad it is and how much he is missing out on.

So sad when vanity affects quality of life.

FarNorth Fri 05-Jun-20 14:01:36

He's tried ear drops but it wasn't that.

I had no success with ear drops either, but getting my ears syringed by the practice nurse produced lumps of wax and a huge improvement.

He can probably make an appointment with the nurse (when it's allowed) without having to see the GP.

Definitely stop the childcare, if you are worried about safety, and explain clearly and kindly why you have to do that.

diygran Fri 05-Jun-20 14:05:28

A hearing aid will greatly improve your dad's quality of life. If you can persuade him to see GP to rule out wax, then he would be seen by NHS dept. Husband has tinnitus and is 71. He struggled with not hearing conversations or tv very well and we all got fed up repeating and shouting out words for him.
NHS have a great service, with small earpieces, aftercare and free batteries. Husband hasnt looked back now and walks dogs etc. He's able to have conversations with other dog walkers and hear birds tweeting!