Do you have a senior over the age of 70 in your care? There’s a lot to take into consideration. You’re not likely to forget to bring a family member to an oncologist or a heart specialist because those are clear priorities. What falls through the cracks, though, are the small things, like the yearly checkup with a hearing specialist or making sure Dad’s hearing aids are charged. 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. Beyond the ability to hear and enjoy music or communicate, your hearing plays an extremely significant role. Loss of cognitive abilities and depression are a couple of mental health problems that have been connected to untreated hearing loss.
So when you skip Mom’s hearing appointment, you could inadvertently be increasing her risk of developing these issues, including dementia. If Mom isn’t capable of hearing as well now, she could begin to isolate herself; she stops going to see movies, doesn’t meet with her friends for coffee, and has dinner by herself in her bedroom.
This sort of social isolation can happen 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. Hearing loss may be the issue. And cognitive decline can eventually be the outcome of that hearing loss (your brain is an organ that has to be exercised or it begins to diminish). So with regards to a senior parents physical and mental health, noticing and treating hearing loss is crucial.
Making Hearing a Priority
By now you should be persuaded. You now accept that neglected hearing loss can result in several health problems and that you need to take hearing seriously. How can you make certain ear care is a priority? There are several things you can do:
- Advise your parents to use their hearing aids each day. Routine use of hearing aids can help ensure that these devices are performing to their optimum capacity.
- The same is true if you observe a senior beginning to segregate themselves, canceling on friends and staying inside more. Any hearing concerns can be identified 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 devices are rechargeable).
- Don’t forget to watch how your parents are behaving. If you observe the tv getting a little louder every week, talk to Mom about making a consultation with a hearing professional to see if you can identify an issue.
- Once a year a hearing screening needs to be scheduled for everybody above the age of 55. Be certain that your senior parent has a scheduled consultation for such a screening.
How to Prevent Health Problems in The Future
Being a caregiver probably isn’t your only job so you most likely have a lot on your plate. And if hearing problems aren’t causing immediate issues, they might seem a bit trivial. But the evidence is quite clear: dealing with hearing conditions now can avoid a multitude of serious problems down the road.
So when you take a loved one to their hearing exam, you could be avoiding much more costly illnesses down the road. Depression could be prevented 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 specialist for most of us. It’s also really helpful to remind Mom to wear her hearing aid more consistently. And when that hearing aid is in, you may just be able to have a pleasant conversation, as well.