Do you have a senior over the age of 70 in your care? You have a lot to remember. Bringing a relative to a heart specialist or setting up an appointment with an oncologist feels like a priority, so you aren’t likely to forget anything like that. But there are things that are regularly forgotten because they don’t seem like priorities such as the annual checkup with a hearing professional. And those small things can make a big difference.
For The Health of a Senior, Hearing is Crucial
More and more published research has echoed one surprising truth: your hearing is vitally important. In addition, your hearing is critical in a way that goes beyond your capacity to communicate or listen to music. Loss of cognitive abilities and depression are a couple of mental health issues that have been associated with neglected hearing loss.
So when you skip Mom’s hearing appointment, you could unintentionally be increasing her risk of developing these issues, including dementia. If Mom isn’t able to hear as well now, she could begin to separate herself; she eats dinner alone in her room, stops going to movies, and doesn’t go out with her friends.
This sort of social isolation can happen very quickly when hearing loss takes hold. So if you find Mom or Dad beginning to become a little distant, it may not have anything to do with their mood (yet). It may be their hearing. And that hearing-induced isolation can itself ultimately bring about mental decline (your brain is an organ that needs to be exercised or it begins to diminish). So identifying the signs of hearing loss, and making certain those signs are treated, is crucial when it comes to your senior parents’ mental and physical health.
How to Make Sure Hearing Will be a Priority
By now you should be convinced. You now recognize that neglected hearing loss can lead to several health issues and that you should take hearing seriously. How can you make certain ear care is a priority? There are a couple of things you can do:
- Once a year a hearing screening needs to be scheduled for anyone over the age of 55. You should help a senior parent make and show up for these appointments.
- Keep track of when your parents are using their hearing aids, and see that it’s daily. Routine hearing aid use can help guarantee that these devices are functioning to their optimum capacity.
- The same is true if you notice a senior beginning to separate themselves, canceling on friends and spending more time in the house. Any hearing concerns can be identified by us when you bring them in.
- Keep an eye on your parents’ habits. If your parent is gradually turning the volume on their television up, you can pinpoint the problem by scheduling a consultation with a hearing professional.
- Each night before bed, make sure your parents put their hearing aids on the charger (at least in cases where their devices are rechargeable).
How to Prevent Health Problems in The Future
As a caregiver, you already have a lot to deal with, particularly if you’re part of that all-too-common sandwich generation. And if hearing problems aren’t causing immediate problems, they may seem a little trivial. But there’s very clear evidence: dealing with hearing conditions now can prevent a wide range of serious issues down the road.
So you could be preventing costly afflictions in the future by bringing your loved one to their hearing exam. You could head off depression before it starts. You may even be able to decrease Mom’s risk of developing dementia in the near-term future.
That’s worth a trip to see a hearing specialist for most of us. It’s also very helpful to prompt Mom to wear her hearing aid more frequently. And when that hearing aid is in, you may just be able to have a pleasant conversation, too.