Are you the primary caretaker for somebody older than 70? There’s a lot to keep in mind. Bringing a relative to a heart specialist or scheduling an appointment with an oncologist seems like a priority, so you’re not likely to forget those things. What falls through the cracks, though, are the little things, such as the yearly examination with a hearing professional or making sure Dad’s hearing aids are charged. And those things are a higher priority than you might think.
For The Health of a Senior, Hearing is Crucial
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. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to a number of physical and mental health issues, such as depression and loss of cognitive abilities.
So you unintentionally raise Mom’s chance of dementia by missing her hearing appointment. Mom could start to isolate herself if she isn’t hearing well these days; she has dinner alone in her room, stops going to see movies, and doesn’t meet with her friends.
This type of social isolation can happen very quickly when hearing loss sets in. So if you notice Mom or Dad beginning to become a little distant, it might 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 an organ that needs to be exercised or it begins to diminish). So recognizing the symptoms of hearing loss, and ensuring those signs are addressed, is essential with regards to your senior parents’ mental and physical health.
Making Hearing a Priority
By now you should be convinced. You now realize that neglected hearing loss can lead to several health issues and that you need to take hearing seriously. What steps should you take to make hearing a priority? Here are various things you can do:
- Once a year a hearing screening needs to be scheduled for anybody over the age of 55. You should help a senior parent make and keep these appointments.
- Keep track of when your parents are using their hearing aids, and see that it’s every day. In order to make sure the hearing aids are operating at their optimum ability, they need to be used consistently.
- Help your parents remember to charge their hearing aids each night before they go to bed (of course that exclusively applies to rechargeable hearing aids).
- And if you find a senior spending more time at home, backing out on friends, and separating themselves, the same is true. Any hearing concerns can be diagnosed by us when you bring them in.
- Don’t forget to watch how your parents are behaving. If you observe the television getting somewhat louder every week, talk to Mom about schedule a consultation with a hearing specialist to see if you can pinpoint a problem.
How to Avoid Health Problems in The Future
As a caregiver, you already have a lot to deal with, particularly if you’re part of that all-too-common sandwich generation. And if hearing concerns aren’t causing immediate concerns, they may seem somewhat trivial. But there’s rather clear evidence: a multitude of serious health problems in the future can be prevented by treating hearing loss now.
So you may be avoiding costly health conditions down the road by bringing your loved one to their hearing consultation. You could stop depression before it begins. You might even be able to lower 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 definitely worth a quick reminder to Mom that she should be using her hearing aid more diligently. And that hearing aid will make your conversations with her much easier and more pleasant.