Do you have a senior over the age of 70 in your care? There’s a lot to take into consideration. You aren’t likely to forget to bring a loved one to an oncologist or a heart specialist because those are clear priorities. But there are things that are commonly forgotten because they don’t feel like priorities such as the yearly checkup with a hearing professional. And those things are a bigger priority than you might suspect.
The Significance of Hearing to Senior Health
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. Loss of cognitive abilities and depression are a couple of mental health problems that have been associated with untreated hearing loss.
So when you miss Mom’s hearing appointment, you could inadvertently be increasing her risk of developing these issues, including dementia. If Mom isn’t capable of hearing as well now, she could begin to separate herself; she has dinner alone in her room, stops going to movies, and doesn’t meet with her friends.
This type of social isolation can occur very quickly when hearing loss sets in. So if you observe Mom or Dad starting to get a little distant, it may not be about their mood (yet). It might be their hearing. And cognitive decline can eventually be the consequence of that hearing loss (your brain is a very use-it-or-lose-it type of organ). So noticing the signs of hearing loss, and making sure those symptoms are addressed, is crucial when it comes to your senior parents’ mental and physical health.
Alright, we’ve convinced you. You’re taking it as a given that hearing is important and that untreated hearing loss can snowball into other problems. What measures should you take to make hearing a priority? Here are various things you can do:
- Don’t forget to observe how your parents are acting. If you observe the tv getting somewhat louder every week, have a talk with Mom about schedule a consultation with a hearing professional to see if you can identify a problem.
- Help your parents remember to charge their hearing aids every night before they go to sleep (of course that exclusively applies to rechargeable hearing aids).
- Anyone over the age of 55 or 60 needs to be undergoing a hearing screening every year or so. Be sure that your senior parent has a scheduled consultation for such an examination.
- And if you notice a senior spending more time at home, backing out on friends, and distancing themselves, the same is true. Any hearing challenges can be diagnosed by us when you bring them in.
- Keep track of when your parents are using their hearing aids, and see that it’s every day. So that you can ensure the hearing aids are functioning at their maximum capacity, they should be used consistently.
How to Reduce 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 issues, they might seem somewhat trivial. But the evidence is pretty clear: managing hearing conditions now can avoid a multitude of serious problems in the long run.
So you may be avoiding costly illnesses in the future by bringing your loved one to their hearing consultation. You could stop depression before it starts. You could even be able to lower Mom’s chance of developing dementia in the near-term future.
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 needs to be wearing her hearing aid more diligently. And once that hearing aid is in, you might just be able to have a nice conversation, as well.