Do you have a senior over the age of 70 in your care? There’s a lot to keep in mind. Taking a loved one to a cardiologist or setting up an appointment with an oncologist feels like a priority, so you aren’t likely to forget those things. What falls through the cracks, however, are the small things, such as the yearly exam with a hearing professional or making sure Mom’s hearing aids are charged. And those things are a higher 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. What’s more, your hearing is critical in a way that goes further than your ability to listen to music or communicate. Depression and loss of cognitive abilities are a couple of mental health problems that have been linked to untreated hearing loss.
So when you skip Mom’s hearing appointment, you might unwittingly be increasing her chances 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 see movies, and doesn’t go out with her friends.
This sort of social separation can occur very quickly when hearing loss sets in. So mood may not be the reason for the distant behavior you’ve been observing in Mom or Dad. It could be their hearing. And that hearing-induced isolation can itself ultimately lead to mental decline (your brain is an organ that needs to be exercised or it begins to decline). So when it comes to a senior parents mental and physical health, identifying and dealing with hearing loss is crucial.
How to Ensure Hearing Will be a Priority
Alright, we’ve convinced you. You’re taking it as a given that hearing is crucial and that neglected hearing loss can lead to other problems. What measures should you take to make hearing a priority? Here are a few things you can do:
- Help your parents remember to charge their hearing aids every night before they go to bed (at least in situations where their hearing aids are rechargeable).
- And if you find a senior spending more time at home, backing out on friends, and distancing themselves, the same is true. A consultation with us can help illuminate the existence of any hearing difficulties.
- Keep track of when your parents are wearing their hearing aids, and see that it’s every day. In order to ensure the hearing aids are functioning at their maximum capacity, they need to be used consistently.
- Once a year a hearing screening should be scheduled for everybody above the age of 55. You should help a senior parent make and show up for these appointments.
- Keep an eye on your parents’ habits. If you notice the television getting somewhat louder every week, speak with Mom about making a consultation with a hearing professional to see if you can identify an issue.
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 concerns, they might seem a bit trivial. But the evidence is rather clear: a multitude of significant health concerns in the future can be prevented by treating hearing loss now.
So when you bring a loved one to their hearing consultation, you could be avoiding much more costly health conditions in the future. You could stop depression before it starts. You may even be able to lower Mom’s risk of developing dementia in the near-term future.
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 needs to be using her hearing aid more diligently. And when that hearing aid is in, you might just be able to have a nice conversation, too.