Do you have a senior over the age of 70 in your care? You have a lot to remember. You’re not likely to forget to bring a family member to an oncologist or a cardiologist because those are clear priorities. What falls through the cracks, however, are the little things, including the annual examination with a hearing professional or making sure Mom’s hearing aids are charged. And those small 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 further than your capacity to communicate or listen to music. Neglected hearing loss has been connected to numerous mental and physical health issues, like loss of cognitive ability and depression.
So you inadvertently raise Mom’s chance of dementia by skipping her hearing appointment. Mom could start 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 separation can occur very quickly when hearing loss sets in. So mood may not be the reason for the distant behavior you’ve been noting in Dad or Mom. It could be their hearing. And that hearing-induced isolation can itself potentially lead to mental decline (your brain is a very use-it-or-lose-it kind of organ). So identifying the signs of hearing loss, and making sure those signs are treated, is crucial when it comes to your senior parents’ mental and physical health.
Making Hearing a Priority
By now you should be persuaded. You now accept that untreated 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? Here are a few things you can do:
- Help your parents remember to recharge their hearing aids each night before they go to bed (of course that exclusively applies to rechargeable hearing aids).
- Don’t forget to watch how your parents are behaving. If your parent is slowly turning the volume on their TV up, you can determine the problem by scheduling an appointment with a hearing professional.
- The same is the situation if you observe a senior starting to segregate themselves, canceling on friends and staying inside more. Any hearing concerns can be diagnosed by us when you bring them in.
- Monitor when your parents are wearing their hearing aids, and see that it’s daily. Routine hearing aid use can help guarantee that these devices are operating to their maximum efficiency.
- Anyone above the age of 55 or 60 needs to be undergoing a hearing screening once per year or so. You should help a senior parent make and keep these appointments.
Preventing Future Health Concerns
Being a caregiver probably isn’t your only job so you likely have a lot to deal with. And if hearing problems aren’t causing immediate problems, they may seem a bit trivial. But the evidence is quite clear: dealing with hearing conditions now can avoid a wide range of serious problems in the long run.
So when you bring a loved one to their hearing exam, you could be avoiding much more costly illnesses in the future. You could head off depression before it starts. And Mom’s chance of dementia in the near future will also be minimized.
For the majority of us, that’s worth a trip to a hearing specialist. It’s also extremely helpful to prompt Mom to use hear hearing aid more consistently. And that hearing aid will make your conversations with her much easier and more pleasant.