Are you the primary caretaker for somebody older than 70? You have a lot to keep track of. Bringing a loved one to a heart specialist or setting up an appointment with an oncologist seems like a priority, so you aren’t likely to forget anything like that. But there are things that are often overlooked because they don’t feel like priorities such as the yearly checkup with a hearing specialist. And those little things can make a big difference.
For The Health of a Senior, Hearing is Important
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. Depression and loss of cognitive abilities are a couple of mental health problems that have been connected to neglected hearing loss.
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 by herself in her room, stops going to see movies, and doesn’t go out with her friends.
This sort of social separation can happen very quickly when hearing loss sets in. So mood may not be the reason for the distant behavior you’ve been noticing in Mom or Dad. It may be their hearing. And that hearing-induced isolation can itself potentially result in cognitive decline (your brain is an organ that needs to be exercised or it begins to diminish). So identifying the signs of hearing loss, and making sure those symptoms are addressed, is essential with regards to your senior parents’ mental and physical health.
Okay, we’ve convinced you. You now recognize that neglected hearing loss can result in several health issues and that you should take hearing seriously. How can you make certain ear care is a priority? There are a couple of things you can do:
- Keep an eye on your parents’ habits. If you observe the television getting somewhat louder every week, speak with Mom about making a consultation with a hearing professional to see if you can pinpoint a problem.
- Monitor when your parents are wearing their hearing aids, and see that it’s every day. In order to make sure the hearing aids are operating at their maximum ability, they need to be used routinely.
- And if you notice a senior spending more time at home, canceling out on friends, and separating themselves, the same applies. Any hearing issues can be identified by us when you bring them in.
- Once a year a hearing screening needs to be scheduled for anyone above the age of 55. You should help a senior parent make and show up for these appointments.
- Each night before bed, help your parents to recharge their hearing aids (at least in cases where their hearing aids are rechargeable).
How to Protect Against Health Problems in The Future
Being a caregiver probably isn’t your only job so you most likely have a lot on your plate. And hearing issues can feel somewhat trivial if they aren’t causing immediate friction. But the evidence is quite clear: a multitude of serious health concerns in the future can be prevented by treating hearing issues now.
So you could be avoiding costly afflictions down the road by taking your loved one to their hearing appointment. Depression could be prevented before it even begins. And Mom’s risk of dementia in the near future will also be decreased.
That’s worth a trip to see a hearing specialist for most of us. And it’s certainly worth a quick reminder to Mom that she should be wearing her hearing aid more vigilantly. And once that hearing aid is in, you may just be able to have a nice conversation, too.