Do you have a senior older than 70 in your care? You have a lot to keep track of. You’re not likely to forget to bring 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 specialist. And those small 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. What’s more, your hearing is essential in a way that goes beyond your capacity to communicate or listen to music. Depression and loss of cognitive abilities are a couple of mental health problems that have been associated with untreated hearing loss.
So you unintentionally raise Mom’s chance of dementia by missing her hearing consultation. If Mom isn’t able to hear as well these days, she could start to separate herself; she stops going to movies, doesn’t meet with her friends for tea, and has dinner by herself in her room.
When hearing loss sets in, this sort of social isolation occurs very quickly. So if you notice Mom or Dad beginning to get a little distant, it might not have anything to do with their mood (yet). Hearing loss may be the issue. 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 identifying the symptoms of hearing loss, and making sure those signs are addressed, is essential when it comes to your senior parents’ mental and physical health.
How to Make Sure Hearing Will be a Priority
By now you should be convinced. You now accept that untreated hearing loss can result in 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:
- Once per year a hearing screening needs to be scheduled for anyone over the age of 55. Ensure that your senior parent has a scheduled appointment for such an examination.
- Each night before bed, help your parents to put their hearing aids on the charger (at least in cases where their devices are rechargeable).
- And if you notice a senior spending more time at home, canceling out on friends, and separating themselves, the same is true. Any hearing challenges can be diagnosed by us when you bring them in.
- Monitor your parents’ behavior. If you notice the tv getting a little louder every week, talk to Mom about schedule a consultation with a hearing specialist to see if you can pinpoint a problem.
- Advise your parents to wear their hearing aids each day. Consistent hearing aid use can help guarantee that these devices are performing to their optimal efficiency.
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 hearing concerns can feel somewhat trivial if they aren’t causing immediate friction. But the evidence is rather clear: a multitude of serious health problems in the future can be prevented by treating hearing issues now.
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. You might even be able to reduce Mom’s risk of getting dementia in the near-term future.
That’s worth a trip to see a hearing specialist for the majority of us. And it’s certainly worth a quick reminder to Mom that she should be using her hearing aid more vigilantly. And that hearing aid will make your conversations with her much smoother and more pleasant.