Are you the main caretaker for someone older than 70? You have a lot to keep track of. Taking a senior to a heart specialist or setting up an appointment with an oncologist feels like a priority, so you aren’t likely to forget those things. But there are things that are regularly neglected 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 Crucial
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 listen to music or communicate. Depression and loss of cognitive abilities are a couple of mental health concerns that have been linked to neglected hearing loss.
So when you miss Mom’s hearing appointment, you could unintentionally be increasing her risk of developing these issues, including dementia. If Mom isn’t able to hear as well now, she could start to separate herself; she eats dinner by herself in her room, stops going to movies, and doesn’t go out with her friends.
When hearing loss takes hold, this kind of social isolation occurs very quickly. So mood might not be the reason for the distant behavior you’ve been observing in Mom or Dad. It could be their hearing. And cognitive decline can eventually be the result of that hearing loss (your brain is an organ that needs to be exercised or it begins to decline). So recognizing the signs of hearing loss, and ensuring those signs are managed, is essential with regards to your senior parents’ mental and physical health.
Making Hearing a Priority
By now you should be persuaded. You now realize that neglected hearing loss can lead to several health issues and that you should take hearing seriously. How can you make certain ear care is a priority? There are several things you can do:
- Advise your parents to wear their hearing aids each day. So that you can ensure the hearing aids are operating at their maximum ability, they should be used routinely.
- Every night before bed, remind your parents to put their hearing aids on the charger (at least in situations where their hearing aids are rechargeable).
- The same is the situation if you notice a senior beginning to isolate themselves, canceling on friends and spending more time in the house. Any hearing concerns can be identified by us when you bring them in.
- Keep an eye on your parents’ behavior. If your parent is gradually turning the volume on their TV up, you can pinpoint the issue by scheduling a consultation with a hearing specialist.
- Anyone above the age of 55 or 60 needs to be having a hearing screening every year or so. You should help a senior parent schedule and keep these appointments.
How to Reduce Health Problems in The Future
Being a caregiver probably isn’t your only job so you likely have a lot to deal with. And hearing issues can feel rather trivial if they aren’t causing immediate worries. But there’s pretty clear evidence: managing hearing ailments now can avoid a wide range of serious issues in the long run.
So when you bring a loved one to their hearing exam, you could be preventing much more costly illnesses in the future. You could stop depression before it begins. You could even be able to reduce 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 extremely helpful to prompt Mom to use her hearing aid more regularly. And that hearing aid will make your conversations with her much smoother and more pleasant.