Are you the main caretaker for someone older than 70? There’s a lot to keep in mind. Bringing a senior to a cardiologist or setting up an appointment with an oncologist feels like a priority, so you aren’t likely to forget anything like that. But there are things that are often forgotten because they don’t feel like priorities such as the annual checkup with a hearing specialist. And those little 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. Additionally, your hearing is critical in a way that goes beyond your ability to listen to music or communicate. Loss of cognitive abilities and depression are a couple of mental health concerns that have been connected to neglected hearing loss.
So when you skip Mom’s hearing appointment, you might unintentionally be increasing her risk of developing these issues, including dementia. Mom could begin to isolate herself if she isn’t hearing well these days; she eats dinner alone in her room, stops going to movies, and doesn’t meet with her friends.
This type of social isolation can happen very quickly when hearing loss takes hold. So if you observe Mom or Dad beginning to become a little distant, it might not have anything to do with their mood (yet). It may 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 kind of organ). So noticing the signs of hearing loss, and ensuring those symptoms are treated, is essential with regards to your senior parents’ mental and physical health.
How to Ensure Hearing Will be a Priority
Okay, we’ve convinced you. You now realize that neglected hearing loss can result in several health problems and that you should take hearing seriously. How can you make sure ear care is a priority? Here are some things you can do:
- Don’t forget to monitor how your parents are acting. If your parent is gradually turning the volume on their television up, you can identify the problem by scheduling an appointment with a hearing specialist.
- Remind your parents to wear their hearing aids every day. Consistent use of hearing aids can help guarantee that these devices are operating to their maximum efficiency.
- Once per year a hearing screening should be scheduled for anyone above the age of 55. Ensure that your senior parent has a scheduled consultation for such an examination.
- Help your parents remember to recharge their hearing aids each night before they go to bed (of course that specifically applies to rechargeable devices).
- And if you find a senior spending more time at home, backing out on friends, and distancing themselves, the same is true. A consultation with us can help illuminate the existence of any hearing problems.
Protecting Against Future Health Problems
As a caregiver, you already have a lot to do, particularly if you’re part of that all-too-common sandwich generation. And hearing concerns can feel somewhat trivial if they aren’t causing immediate worries. But the evidence is pretty clear: treating hearing conditions now can avoid a multitude of serious issues in the long run.
So when you take a loved one to their hearing exam, you could be preventing much more costly ailments down the road. You could head off depression before it starts. And Mom’s risk of dementia in the near future will also be lessened.
For most of us, that’s worth a trip to a hearing specialist. And it’s definitely worth a quick reminder to Mom that she needs to be using her hearing aid more vigilantly. And once that hearing aid is in, you might just be able to have a nice conversation, too.