Do you have a senior over the age of 70 in your care? You have a lot to remember. You aren’t likely to forget to bring a family member to an oncologist or a heart specialist because those are obvious priorities. What slips through the cracks, however, are the small things, such as the yearly examination 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 Essential
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 important role. Loss of cognitive abilities and depression are a couple of mental health issues that have been connected to neglected hearing loss.
So when you miss Mom’s hearing appointment, you might unwittingly be increasing her chances of developing these issues, including dementia. Mom could start to separate herself if she isn’t hearing well these days; she has dinner by herself in her room, stops going to see movies, and doesn’t meet with her friends.
This kind of social isolation can occur very quickly when hearing loss takes hold. So if you observe Mom or Dad starting to get a little distant, it may not be about their mood (yet). It could be their hearing. And cognitive decline can eventually be the consequence of that hearing loss (your brain is a very use-it-or-lose-it type of organ). So recognizing the signs of hearing loss, and making sure those symptoms are addressed, is crucial when it comes to your senior parents’ mental and physical health.
How to Make Sure 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 snowball into other problems. How can you make certain ear care is a priority? Here are some things you can do:
- Remind your parents to wear their hearing aids every day. Consistent use of hearing aids can help ensure that these devices are performing to their optimal efficiency.
- And if you notice a senior spending more time at home, canceling out on friends, and distancing themselves, the same applies. A consultation with us can help illuminate the occurrence of any hearing concerns.
- Don’t forget to watch how your parents are acting. If your parent is gradually turning the volume on their TV up, you can determine the issue by scheduling an appointment with a hearing professional.
- Help your parents remember to charge their hearing aids each night before they go to bed (at least in situations where their hearing aids are rechargeable).
- Anyone above the age of 55 or 60 should be having a hearing screening once per year or so. You should help a senior parent schedule and show up for these appointments.
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 if hearing problems aren’t causing immediate concerns, they could seem a little trivial. But the evidence is pretty clear: a multitude of significant health problems in the future can be avoided by managing hearing issues now.
So you could be preventing costly illnesses in the future by taking your loved one to their hearing appointment. You could stop depression before it starts. You may even be able to decrease Mom’s chance of developing dementia in the near-term future.
For the majority of us, that’s worth a trip to a hearing specialist. It’s also extremely helpful to remind Mom to wear her hearing aid more consistently. And once that hearing aid is in, you might just be able to have a nice conversation, as well.