Do you have a senior older than 70 in your care? You have a lot to keep track of. Bringing a relative to a cardiologist or setting up an appointment with an oncologist seems like a priority, so you aren’t likely to forget anything like that. But there are things that are commonly forgotten because they don’t seem like priorities such as the annual checkup with a hearing specialist. And those things are a bigger priority than you might suspect.
The Importance of Hearing to Senior Health
More and more published research has echoed one surprising truth: your hearing is vitally important. In addition, your hearing is essential in a way that goes further than your ability to communicate or listen to music. Neglected hearing loss has been linked to numerous physical and mental health problems, including depression and loss of cognitive abilities.
So when you skip Mom’s hearing appointment, you might unintentionally be increasing her risk of developing these issues, including dementia. If Mom isn’t capable of hearing as well now, she could begin to separate herself; she stops going to see movies, doesn’t meet with her friends for tea, and eats dinner alone in her bedroom.
When hearing loss takes hold, this sort of social isolation happens very quickly. So if you notice Mom or Dad starting to become a little distant, it may not have anything to do with their mood (yet). Hearing loss might be the problem. And cognitive decline can eventually be the consequence of that hearing loss (your brain is a very use-it-or-lose-it kind of organ). So recognizing the symptoms of hearing loss, and ensuring those signs are addressed, is crucial with regards to your senior parents’ mental and physical health.
By now you should be persuaded. You now recognize that untreated hearing loss can lead to several health issues and that you should take hearing seriously. What measures should you take to make hearing a priority? There are a couple of things you can do:
- And if you find a senior spending more time at home, backing out on friends, and distancing themselves, the same applies. A consultation with us can help illuminate the existence of any hearing problems.
- Anyone above the age of 55 or 60 needs to be undergoing a hearing screening every year or so. You should help a senior parent schedule and keep these appointments.
- Help your parents remember to recharge their hearing aids every night before they go to bed (of course that exclusively applies to rechargeable devices).
- Be mindful of your parents’ behavior. If your parent is gradually turning the volume on their TV up, you can determine the problem by making an appointment with a hearing specialist.
- Remind your parents to wear their hearing aids every day. In order to make sure the hearing aids are functioning at their optimal capacity, they need to be used routinely.
How to Reduce Health Problems in The Future
Being a caregiver probably isn’t your only job so you most likely have a lot to deal with. And if hearing issues aren’t causing immediate issues, they may seem a bit trivial. But the evidence is pretty clear: managing hearing ailments now can prevent a wide range of serious issues down the road.
So when you take a loved one to their hearing exam, you could be avoiding much more costly health conditions in the future. You could head off depression before it starts. And Mom’s chance of dementia in the near future will also be decreased.
For the majority 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 that hearing aid will make your conversations with her much smoother and more pleasant.