Are you the main caretaker for somebody over the age of 70? You have a lot to keep track of. You’re not likely to forget to take a loved one to an oncologist or a cardiologist because those are obvious priorities. But there are things that are frequently overlooked because they don’t seem like priorities such as the yearly checkup with a hearing professional. And those things are a bigger priority than you might suspect.
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 concerns that have been linked to untreated hearing loss.
So when you miss Mom’s hearing appointment, you may unwittingly be increasing her risk of developing these problems, including dementia. If Mom isn’t able to hear as well now, she could start to isolate herself; she stops going to movies, doesn’t meet with her friends for tea, and has dinner by herself in her bedroom.
When hearing loss sets in, this sort of social separation occurs very quickly. So if you observe Mom or Dad starting to get a little distant, it may not have anything to do with their mood (yet). Hearing loss may be the issue. And cognitive decline can ultimately be the outcome of that hearing loss (your brain is an organ that has to be exercised or it begins to decline). So noticing the symptoms of hearing loss, and making sure those symptoms are addressed, is crucial when it comes to your senior parents’ mental and physical health.
Alright, we’ve persuaded you. You now accept that untreated hearing loss can lead to several health issues and that you need to take hearing seriously. How can you make certain ear care is a priority? There are a couple of things you can do:
- Remind your parents to wear their hearing aids each day. Routine use of hearing aids can help guarantee that these devices are performing to their optimum capacity.
- The same is the situation if you observe a senior starting to separate themselves, canceling on friends and staying inside more. A consultation with us can help shed light on the existence of any hearing issues.
- Help your parents remember to charge their hearing aids each night before they go to sleep (of course that specifically applies to rechargeable devices).
- Be mindful of your parents’ behavior. If your parent is slowly turning the volume on their TV up, you can identify the problem by scheduling an appointment with a hearing specialist.
- Anyone above the age of 55 or 60 should be undergoing a hearing screening every year or so. Be certain that your senior parent has a scheduled appointment for such an examination.
Protecting Against Future Health Problems
As a caregiver, you already have a lot on your plate, especially if you’re part of that all-too-common sandwich generation. And if hearing concerns aren’t causing immediate problems, they might seem a bit trivial. But there’s very clear evidence: managing hearing conditions now can prevent a wide range of serious problems down the road.
So you could be avoiding costly afflictions later on in life by taking your loved one to their hearing consultation. Depression could be avoided before it even starts. And Mom’s chance of dementia in the near future will also be lessened.
For most 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 frequently. And that hearing aid will make your conversations with her much smoother and more enjoyable.