Are you the primary caretaker for somebody over the age of 70? There’s a lot to keep in mind. You aren’t likely to forget to take a family member to an oncologist or a cardiologist because those are clear priorities. But there are things that are frequently forgotten because they don’t feel like priorities such as the yearly checkup with a hearing professional. And those things are a higher 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. Additionally, your hearing is essential in a way that goes further than your capacity to listen to music or communicate. Depression and loss of cognitive abilities are a couple of mental health problems that have been linked to neglected hearing loss.
So when you skip Mom’s hearing appointment, you may inadvertently be increasing her chances of developing these problems, including dementia. Mom might begin to isolate herself if she isn’t hearing well these days; she stops going to movies, doesn’t meet with her friends for tea, and eats dinner by herself in her bedroom.
This type of social isolation can happen very quickly when hearing loss sets in. So if you find Mom or Dad starting to become a little distant, it may not have anything to do with their mood (yet). It may be their hearing. And cognitive decline can ultimately be the outcome of that hearing loss (your brain is a very use-it-or-lose-it type of organ). So when it comes to a senior parents physical and mental health, recognizing and managing hearing loss is crucial.
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 problems and that you need to take hearing seriously. How can you make certain ear care is a priority? Here are various things you can do:
- The same is the situation if you observe a senior starting to isolate themselves, canceling on friends and spending more time in the house. Any hearing issues can be diagnosed by us when you bring them in.
- Once per year a hearing screening needs to be scheduled for anybody over the age of 55. Be certain that your senior parent has a scheduled consultation for such a screening.
- Each night before bed, make sure your parents put their hearing aids on the charger (of course that particularly applies to rechargeable hearing aids).
- Monitor your parents’ habits. If you notice the television getting a little louder every week, have a talk with Mom about making an appointment with a hearing specialist to see if you can pinpoint an issue.
- Monitor when your parents are wearing their hearing aids, and see that it’s daily. So that you can ensure the hearing aids are functioning at their optimal ability, they need to be used routinely.
How to Protect Against 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 stress. But there’s very clear evidence: managing hearing conditions now can prevent a wide range of serious issues down the road.
So you may be preventing costly ailments in the future by bringing your loved one to their hearing consultation. Depression could be prevented before it even starts. And Mom’s chance of dementia in the near future will also be reduced.
For the majority of us, that’s worth a trip to a hearing professional. And it’s certainly worth a quick reminder to Mom that she should be wearing her hearing aid more vigilantly. And that hearing aid will make your conversations with her much easier and more enjoyable.