Do you have a senior over the age of 70 in your care? There’s a lot to take into consideration. Bringing a loved one to a heart specialist or setting up an appointment with an oncologist feels like a priority, so you aren’t likely to forget those things. What falls through the cracks, though, are the little things, including the yearly exam with a hearing specialist or making sure Dad’s hearing aids are charged up. 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. What’s more, your hearing is critical in a way that goes beyond your capacity to listen to music or communicate. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to numerous mental and physical health concerns, like loss of cognitive ability and depression.
So when you skip Mom’s hearing appointment, you might unintentionally be increasing her chances of developing these problems, including dementia. If Mom isn’t able to hear as well these days, she could start to separate herself; she stops going to see movies, doesn’t meet with her friends for tea, and has dinner by herself in her bedroom.
This type of social isolation can occur very quickly when a hearing loss takes hold. So mood might not be the reason for the distant behavior you’ve been noticing in Mom or Dad. It might be their hearing. And that hearing-induced isolation can itself potentially result in cognitive decline (your brain is an organ that has to be exercised or it begins to decline). 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 Make Sure Hearing Will be a Priority
By now you should be persuaded. You now recognize that untreated hearing loss can lead to several health issues and that you need to take hearing seriously. What steps should you take to make hearing a priority? Here are various things you can do:
- And if you notice a senior spending more time at home, backing out on friends, and separating themselves, the same is true. Any hearing concerns can be diagnosed by us when you bring them in.
- Don’t forget to observe how your parents are behaving. If you observe the tv getting somewhat louder every week, talk to Mom about making an appointment with a hearing professional to see if you can identify a problem.
- Once a year a hearing screening needs to be scheduled for anybody above the age of 55. Make sure that your senior parent has a scheduled consultation for such a screening.
- Help your parents remember to charge their hearing aids each night before they go to bed (at least in situations where their hearing aids are rechargeable).
- Advise your parents to wear their hearing aids each day. In order to ensure the hearing aids are functioning at their optimum ability, they should be used consistently.
Protecting Against Future Health Concerns
As a caregiver, you already have a lot to do, particularly if you’re part of that all-too-common sandwich generation. And hearing issues can feel rather trivial if they aren’t causing immediate worries. But the evidence is quite clear: treating hearing ailments now can avoid a multitude of serious issues down the road.
So you could be preventing costly ailments in the future by taking your loved one to their hearing consultation. You could stop depression before it starts. And Mom’s chance of dementia in the near future will also be decreased.
That’s worth a trip to see a hearing professional for most of us. And it’s certainly worth a quick reminder to Mom that she should be wearing her hearing aid more diligently. And once that hearing aid is in, you might just be able to have a pleasant conversation, too.