Do you have a senior over the age of 70 in your care? You have a lot to keep track of. You’re not likely to forget to take a family member to an oncologist or a heart specialist because those are clear priorities. But there are things that are often forgotten because they don’t seem like priorities such as the annual checkup with a hearing specialist. And those things are a bigger priority than you might suspect.
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 essential in a way that goes beyond your ability to communicate or listen to music. Depression and loss of cognitive abilities are a couple of mental health concerns that have been associated with neglected hearing loss.
So when you miss Mom’s hearing appointment, you may unintentionally be increasing her chances of developing these problems, including dementia. If Mom isn’t capable of hearing as well now, she could start to isolate herself; she stops going to movies, doesn’t meet with her friends for tea, and has dinner alone in her bedroom.
This sort of social separation can occur very quickly when hearing loss takes hold. So mood might 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 eventually result in mental decline (your brain is an organ that has to be exercised or it begins to decline). So with regards to a senior parents mental and physical health, recognizing and dealing with hearing loss is crucial.
Okay, we’ve persuaded you. You’re taking it as a given that hearing is crucial and that untreated hearing loss can lead to other problems. What steps should you take to make hearing a priority? There are several things you can do:
- Monitor when your parents are wearing their hearing aids, and see that it’s daily. Consistent hearing aid use can help guarantee that these devices are functioning to their optimal efficiency.
- Once per year a hearing screening needs to be scheduled for everybody over the age of 55. Ensure that your senior parent has a scheduled appointment for such an examination.
- And if you find a senior spending more time at home, canceling out on friends, and isolating themselves, the same applies. Any hearing challenges can be identified by us when you bring them in.
- Be mindful of your parents’ behavior. If you observe the television getting a bit louder every week, talk to Mom about schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist to see if you can identify an issue.
- Each night before bed, make sure your parents put their hearing aids on the charger (of course that specifically applies to rechargeable devices).
How to Protect Against Health Problems in The Future
Being a caregiver probably isn’t your only job so you more than likely have a lot to deal with. And hearing concerns can feel rather trivial if they aren’t causing immediate worries. But the evidence is quite clear: treating hearing ailments now can prevent a multitude of serious issues in the long run.
So when you bring a loved one to their hearing appointment, you could be avoiding much more costly illnesses in the future. You could head off depression before it begins. And Mom’s chance of dementia in the near future will also be lessened.
That’s worth a trip to see a hearing specialist for most of us. And it’s definitely worth a quick reminder to Mom that she needs to be wearing her hearing aid more vigilantly. And that hearing aid will make your conversations with her much easier and more enjoyable.