Are you the primary caretaker for somebody older than 70? You have a lot to keep track of. Taking a loved one to a heart specialist or setting up an appointment with an oncologist feels like a priority, so you’re not likely to forget anything like that. But there are things that are regularly overlooked because they don’t seem like priorities such as the annual checkup with a hearing specialist. And those small 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 communicate or hear and enjoy music, your hearing plays a vitally significant role. Neglected hearing loss has been connected to numerous mental and physical health issues, such as loss of cognitive ability and depression.
So when you miss Mom’s hearing appointment, you might unintentionally be increasing her risk of developing these issues, including dementia. If Mom isn’t able to hear as well these days, she could start to separate herself; she eats dinner by herself in her room, stops going to see movies, and doesn’t meet with her friends.
When hearing loss takes hold, this kind of social separation happens very quickly. So if you find Mom or Dad starting to get a little distant, it might not be about their mood (yet). Hearing loss may be the issue. And that hearing-induced isolation can itself eventually result in cognitive decline (your brain is an organ that has to be exercised or it begins to diminish). So when it comes to a senior parents physical and mental health, recognizing and managing hearing loss is essential.
Making Hearing a Priority
By now you should be convinced. You now accept that untreated hearing loss can lead to several health problems and that you need to take hearing seriously. What measures should you take to make hearing a priority? Here are a few things you can do:
- Monitor when your parents are using their hearing aids, and see that it’s every day. So that you can ensure the hearing aids are operating at their optimal ability, they should be used routinely.
- Once a year a hearing screening should be scheduled for anyone above the age of 55. You should help a senior parent make and show up for these appointments.
- And if you notice a senior spending more time at home, backing out on friends, and isolating themselves, the same is true. Any hearing concerns can be diagnosed by us when you bring them in.
- Every night before bed, make sure your parents put their hearing aids on the charger (at least in situations where their hearing aids are rechargeable).
- Don’t forget to watch how your parents are behaving. If your parent is slowly turning the volume on their TV up, you can pinpoint the issue by scheduling an appointment with a hearing specialist.
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 issues can feel somewhat trivial if they aren’t causing immediate friction. But there’s rather clear evidence: a wide range of significant health problems in the future can be avoided by managing hearing issues now.
So when you bring a loved one to their hearing exam, you could be preventing much more costly health conditions in the future. Depression could be eliminated before it even begins. And Mom’s risk of dementia in the near future will also be reduced.
That’s worth a trip to see a hearing professional for the majority of us. It’s also extremely helpful to remind Mom to use hear hearing aid more regularly. And that hearing aid will make your conversations with her much smoother and more enjoyable.