Do you have a senior over the age of 70 in your care? You have a lot to keep track of. You aren’t likely to forget to take a loved one to an oncologist or a heart specialist because those are clear priorities. What slips through the cracks, however, are the small things, including the yearly checkup with a hearing professional or making sure Dad’s hearing aids are charged up. And those things are a bigger priority than you might suspect.
For The Health of a Senior, Hearing is Essential
More and more published research has echoed one surprising truth: your hearing is vitally important. Beyond the ability to communicate or hear and enjoy music, your hearing plays a vitally significant role. Loss of cognitive abilities and depression are a couple of mental health concerns that have been connected to neglected hearing loss.
So you inadvertently raise Mom’s chance of dementia by missing her hearing consultation. Mom might begin to separate herself if she isn’t hearing well these days; she stops going to movies, doesn’t meet with her friends for tea, and has dinner by herself in her bedroom.
When hearing loss takes hold, this type of social isolation happens very quickly. So if you notice Mom or Dad starting to get a little distant, it may not have anything to do with their mood (yet). Hearing loss may be the issue. And that hearing-induced isolation can itself eventually bring about mental decline (your brain is an organ that has to be exercised or it begins to diminish). So noticing the signs of hearing loss, and ensuring those symptoms are addressed, 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 realize that neglected hearing loss can result in several health problems and that you need to take hearing seriously. What measures should you take to make hearing a priority? Here are various things you can do:
- Keep track of when your parents are using their hearing aids, and see that it’s every day. So that you can make sure the hearing aids are functioning at their maximum capacity, they need to be used consistently.
- The same is the situation if you notice a senior starting to separate themselves, canceling on friends and staying inside more. A consultation with us can help shed light on the occurrence of any hearing issues.
- Each night before bed, help your parents to recharge their hearing aids (of course that particularly applies to rechargeable hearing aids).
- Keep an eye on your parents’ habits. If you notice the tv getting a little louder every week, speak with Mom about schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist to see if you can identify a problem.
- Once per year a hearing screening needs to be scheduled for anybody above the age of 55. You should help a senior parent make and keep these appointments.
Protecting Against Future Health Problems
As a caregiver, you already have a lot on your plate, especially if you’re part of that all-too-common sandwich generation. And if hearing issues aren’t causing immediate problems, they might seem somewhat trivial. But the evidence is pretty clear: treating hearing conditions now can avoid a wide range of serious issues in the long run.
So you could be avoiding costly health conditions down the road by taking your loved one to their hearing exam. Depression could be eliminated before it even starts. You might even be able to decrease Mom’s chance of getting dementia in the near-term future.
For the majority of us, that’s worth a trip to a hearing professional. It’s also really helpful to prompt Mom to wear her hearing aid more frequently. And once that hearing aid is in, you may just be able to have a nice conversation, too.