Do you have a senior over the age of 70 in your care? There’s a lot to take into consideration. You’re not likely to forget to take a family member to an oncologist or a heart specialist because those are obvious priorities. But there are things that are commonly neglected because they don’t feel like priorities such as the annual checkup with a hearing specialist. And those little things can make a big difference.
For The Health of a Senior, Hearing is Important
More and more published research has echoed one surprising truth: your hearing is vitally important. Beyond the ability to hear and enjoy music or communicate, your hearing plays an extremely significant role. Loss of cognitive abilities and depression are a couple of mental health problems that have been connected to untreated hearing loss.
So you inadvertently increase Mom’s chance of dementia by missing her hearing appointment. If Mom isn’t capable of hearing as well these days, she could start to isolate herself; she eats dinner by herself in her room, stops going to movies, and doesn’t meet with her friends.
When hearing loss sets in, this kind of social separation happens very quickly. So if you find Mom or Dad beginning to get a little distant, it might not have anything to do with their mood (yet). Hearing loss might be the problem. And cognitive decline can ultimately be the consequence of that hearing loss (your brain is a very use-it-or-lose-it kind of organ). So noticing the symptoms of hearing loss, and making certain those symptoms are addressed, is crucial with regards to your senior parents’ mental and physical health.
Making Hearing a Priority
By now you should be persuaded. You’re taking it as a given that hearing is important and that neglected hearing loss can lead to other issues. How can you make sure ear care is a priority? Here are various things you can do:
- Anyone over the age of 55 or 60 should be undergoing a hearing screening once per year or so. You should help a senior parent make and show up for these appointments.
- Help your parents remember to recharge their hearing aids every night before they go to bed (at least in cases where their devices are rechargeable).
- Remind your parents to use their hearing aids every day. Routine hearing aid use can help ensure that these devices are performing to their maximum efficiency.
- Don’t forget to monitor how your parents are behaving. If your parent is slowly turning the volume on their television up, you can determine the issue by scheduling a consultation with a hearing professional.
- The same is the situation if you find a senior beginning to segregate themselves, canceling on friends and staying inside more. Any hearing challenges can be diagnosed by us when you bring them in.
How to Protect Against Health Problems in The Future
As a caregiver, you already have a lot on your plate, especially if you’re part of that all-too-common sandwich generation. And hearing concerns can feel rather trivial if they aren’t causing immediate friction. But the evidence is quite clear: dealing with hearing conditions now can prevent a multitude of serious problems in the long run.
So you may be avoiding costly health conditions later on in life by bringing your loved one to their hearing appointment. You could head off depression before it begins. You might even be able to decrease Mom’s risk of developing dementia in the near-term future.
For most of us, that’s worth a trip to a hearing professional. And it’s certainly 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 nice conversation, too.