Do you have a senior over the age of 70 in your care? You have a lot to remember. Bringing a senior to a heart specialist or setting up an appointment with an oncologist seems like a priority, so you’re not likely to forget anything like that. What slips through the cracks, though, are the little things, such as the yearly checkup with a hearing professional or making sure Mom’s hearing aids are charged up. 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. Beyond the ability to communicate or hear and enjoy music, your hearing plays an extremely significant role. Depression and loss of cognitive abilities are a couple of mental health concerns that have been linked to neglected hearing loss.
So you unwittingly raise Mom’s risk of dementia by skipping her hearing appointment. If Mom isn’t able to hear as well now, she could start to separate herself; she has dinner by herself in her room, stops going to movies, and doesn’t go out with her friends.
This kind of social isolation can occur very quickly when hearing loss sets in. So mood might not be the reason for the distant behavior you’ve been observing in Dad or Mom. It may be their hearing. And that hearing-induced isolation can itself eventually lead to mental decline (your brain is a very use-it-or-lose-it type of organ). So identifying the symptoms of hearing loss, and making sure those signs are managed, is essential with regards 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 accept that untreated hearing loss can result in several health issues and that you should take hearing seriously. How can you make sure ear care is a priority? There are a couple of things you can do:
- Keep an eye on your parents’ behavior. If your parent is slowly turning the volume on their television up, you can determine the problem by making a consultation with a hearing professional.
- Help your parents remember to recharge their hearing aids every night before they go to sleep (at least in situations where their devices are rechargeable).
- The same is the situation if you find a senior beginning to separate themselves, canceling on friends and staying inside more. A trip to come see us can help illuminate the existence of any hearing issues.
- Advise your parents to use their hearing aids every day. Routine use of hearing aids can help guarantee that these devices are operating to their optimal capacity.
- Once a year a hearing screening should be scheduled for everybody over the age of 55. Make sure that your senior parent has a scheduled consultation for such an examination.
Avoiding Future Health Issues
As a caregiver, you already have a lot to do, especially if you’re part of that all-too-common sandwich generation. And if hearing concerns aren’t causing immediate concerns, they might seem a bit trivial. But the evidence is quite clear: dealing with hearing conditions now can avoid a multitude of serious problems down the road.
So you may be preventing costly health conditions in the future by taking your loved one to their hearing exam. Depression could be avoided before it even starts. And Mom’s risk of dementia in the near future will also be reduced.
That’s worth a trip to see a hearing specialist for most of us. And it’s certainly worth a quick reminder to Mom that she should be wearing her hearing aid more diligently. And that hearing aid will make your conversations with her much easier and more pleasant.