Are you the main caretaker for somebody over the age of 70? You have a lot to remember. You’re not likely to forget to bring a loved one to an oncologist or a heart specialist because those are clear priorities. What slips through the cracks, though, are the small things, such as the annual examination with a hearing professional or making sure Mom’s hearing aids are charged up. And those things are a bigger priority than you might think.
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 communicate or hear and enjoy music, your hearing plays a vitally significant role. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to a number of mental and physical health problems, such as loss of cognitive ability and depression.
So when you skip Mom’s hearing appointment, you could inadvertently be increasing her risk of developing these issues, including dementia. If Mom isn’t able to hear as well now, she could begin to separate herself; she stops going to movies, doesn’t meet with her friends for coffee, and eats dinner alone in her bedroom.
This type of social isolation can occur very quickly when hearing loss takes hold. So if you notice Mom or Dad beginning to become a little distant, it may not be about their mood (yet). Hearing loss may be the issue. And cognitive decline can eventually be the outcome of that hearing loss (your brain is an organ that has to be exercised or it begins to diminish). So identifying the symptoms of hearing loss, and making sure those symptoms are treated, is essential when it comes to your senior parents’ mental and physical health.
Making Hearing a Priority
Okay, we’ve persuaded you. You’re taking it as a given that hearing is crucial and that untreated hearing loss can lead to other problems. What steps should you take to make hearing a priority? There are several things you can do:
- The same is the situation if you find a senior beginning to segregate themselves, canceling on friends and spending more time in the house. A consultation with us can help shed light on the occurrence of any hearing issues.
- Monitor your parents’ behavior. If your parent is slowly turning the volume on their television up, you can pinpoint the problem by making a consultation with a hearing specialist.
- Anyone above the age of 55 or 60 should be undergoing a hearing screening every year or so. You should help a senior parent schedule and show up for these appointments.
- Help your parents remember to recharge their hearing aids each night before they go to bed (at least in cases where their hearing aids are rechargeable).
- Advise your parents to wear their hearing aids each day. So that you can ensure the hearing aids are operating at their optimum capacity, they should be used routinely.
Preventing Future Health Problems
Being a caregiver probably isn’t your only job so you most likely have a lot on your plate. And hearing issues can feel a bit trivial if they aren’t causing immediate stress. But there’s very clear evidence: dealing with hearing ailments now can prevent a wide range of serious problems down the road.
So you could be preventing costly afflictions later on in life by bringing 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.
That’s worth a trip to see a hearing professional for most of us. It’s also really helpful to remind Mom to use hear hearing aid more consistently. And that hearing aid will make your conversations with her much smoother and more pleasant.