Do you have a senior older than 70 in your care? There’s a lot to take into consideration. You aren’t likely to forget to bring a loved one to an oncologist or a heart specialist because those are clear priorities. What falls through the cracks, though, are the small things, like the annual checkup with a hearing specialist or making sure Mom’s hearing aids are charged up. And those things are a bigger priority than you might think.
The Significance of Hearing to Senior Health
More and more published research has echoed one surprising truth: your hearing is vitally important. Additionally, your hearing is critical in a way that goes further than your ability to listen to music or communicate. Neglected hearing loss has been connected to numerous physical and mental health concerns, such as loss of cognitive ability and depression.
So you inadvertently increase Mom’s chance of dementia by missing her hearing consultation. Mom might begin to isolate herself if she isn’t hearing well these days; she eats dinner alone in her room, stops going to movies, and doesn’t meet with her friends.
When hearing loss sets in, this kind of social isolation happens very quickly. So mood may not be the reason for the distant behavior you’ve been noting in Mom or Dad. Hearing loss might be the problem. And cognitive decline can ultimately be the consequence of that hearing loss (your brain is an organ that has to be exercised or it begins to decline). So noticing the symptoms of hearing loss, and making certain those signs are addressed, is crucial with regards to your senior parents’ mental and physical health.
Alright, we’ve persuaded you. You’re taking it as a given that hearing is important and that untreated hearing loss can lead to other issues. What steps should you take to make hearing a priority? Here are various things you can do:
- Keep track of when your parents are wearing their hearing aids, and see that it’s daily. Routine hearing aid use can help guarantee that these devices are functioning to their maximum capacity.
- The same is true if you observe a senior starting to separate themselves, canceling on friends and staying inside more. Any hearing challenges can be diagnosed by us when you bring them in.
- Each night before bed, remind your parents to put their hearing aids on the charger (of course that specifically applies to rechargeable devices).
- Don’t forget to observe how your parents are acting. If you notice the television getting a little louder every week, have a talk with Mom about schedule a consultation with a hearing professional to see if you can identify a problem.
- Anyone over the age of 55 or 60 should be undergoing a hearing screening once per year or so. Be certain that your senior parent has a scheduled appointment for such an examination.
How to Prevent Health Problems in The Future
As a caregiver, you already have a lot on your plate, particularly if you’re part of that all-too-common sandwich generation. And hearing concerns can feel a bit trivial if they aren’t causing immediate stress. But there’s very clear evidence: a multitude of serious health problems in the future can be prevented by dealing with hearing issues now.
So when you bring a loved one to their hearing exam, you could be preventing much more costly illnesses in the future. Depression could be avoided before it even begins. And Mom’s risk of dementia in the near future will also be lessened.
That’s worth a trip to see a hearing specialist for the majority of us. And it’s definitely worth a quick reminder to Mom that she should be wearing her hearing aid more vigilantly. And when that hearing aid is in, you may just be able to have a pleasant conversation, as well.