Are you the primary caretaker for someone older than 70? There’s a lot to take into consideration. Taking a relative to a cardiologist or scheduling an appointment with an oncologist feels like a priority, so you’re not likely to forget those things. But there are things that are frequently overlooked because they don’t seem like priorities such as the annual checkup with a hearing professional. And those things are a bigger priority than you might think.
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 critical in a way that goes beyond your capacity to listen to music or communicate. Untreated hearing loss has been connected to numerous physical and mental health problems, like depression and loss of cognitive abilities.
So you unwittingly increase Mom’s chance of dementia by missing her hearing consultation. Mom could begin to separate herself if she isn’t hearing well these days; she stops going to see movies, doesn’t meet with her friends for tea, and eats dinner alone in her room.
This type of social isolation can happen very quickly when hearing loss sets in. So if you observe Mom or Dad starting to become a little distant, it might not have anything to do with their mood (yet). Hearing loss might be the problem. And that hearing-induced isolation can itself ultimately lead to cognitive decline (your brain is a very use-it-or-lose-it kind of organ). So noticing the symptoms of hearing loss, and making certain those signs are managed, is crucial when it comes to your senior parents’ mental and physical health.
Making Hearing a Priority
Alright, we’ve convinced you. You’re taking it as a given that hearing is significant and that untreated hearing loss can snowball into other problems. How can you make certain ear care is a priority? There are a couple of things you can do:
- Help your parents remember to charge their hearing aids every night before they go to bed (of course that particularly applies to rechargeable devices).
- And if you find a senior spending more time at home, canceling out on friends, and distancing themselves, the same is true. Any hearing concerns can be identified by us when you bring them in.
- Advise your parents to use their hearing aids every day. So that you can ensure the hearing aids are functioning at their maximum ability, they need to be used consistently.
- Don’t forget to monitor how your parents are behaving. If you observe the tv getting a little louder every week, speak with Mom about making a consultation with a hearing professional to see if you can pinpoint an issue.
- Anyone above the age of 55 or 60 should be having a hearing screening once per year or so. Be certain that your senior parent has a scheduled appointment for such a screening.
How to Avoid Health Problems in The Future
Being a caregiver probably isn’t your only job so you likely have a lot on your plate. And if hearing concerns aren’t causing immediate issues, they may seem a bit trivial. But the evidence is pretty clear: treating hearing conditions now can prevent a multitude of serious problems down the road.
So when you take a loved one to their hearing exam, you could be preventing much more costly ailments down the road. You could stop depression before it starts. You may even be able to decrease Mom’s risk of getting dementia in the near-term future.
For most of us, that’s worth a trip to a hearing professional. It’s also very helpful to prompt Mom to use hear hearing aid more frequently. And when that hearing aid is in, you may just be able to have a nice conversation, as well.