Are you the main caretaker for somebody over the age of 70? You have a lot to remember. Taking a loved one to a cardiologist or scheduling an appointment with an oncologist seems like a priority, so you aren’t likely to forget anything like that. But there are things that are frequently overlooked because they don’t seem like priorities such as the annual checkup with a hearing professional. And those little things can make a big difference.
The Importance of Hearing to Senior Health
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 a vitally significant role. Untreated hearing loss has been connected to a number of physical and mental health concerns, such as loss of cognitive ability and depression.
So when you skip Mom’s hearing appointment, you may inadvertently be increasing her risk of developing these issues, including dementia. Mom could begin to separate herself if she isn’t hearing well these days; she stops going to see movies, doesn’t meet with her friends for coffee, and has dinner alone in her room.
When hearing loss sets in, this type of social separation happens very quickly. So mood may not be the reason for the distant behavior you’ve been observing in Dad or Mom. Hearing loss may be the problem. And cognitive decline can ultimately be the consequence of that hearing loss (your brain is an organ that needs to be exercised or it begins to decline). So identifying the signs of hearing loss, and making certain those symptoms are managed, is crucial when it comes to your senior parents’ mental and physical health.
How to Ensure Hearing Will be a Priority
Okay, we’ve convinced you. You now accept that untreated hearing loss can result in several health issues and that you need to take hearing seriously. How can you make certain ear care is a priority? Here are some things you can do:
- And if you notice a senior spending more time at home, backing out on friends, and isolating themselves, the same applies. A consultation with us can help shed light on the occurrence of any hearing problems.
- Be mindful of your parents’ habits. If you notice the television getting a little louder every week, speak with Mom about making a consultation with a hearing professional to see if you can identify an issue.
- Monitor when your parents are wearing their hearing aids, and see that it’s daily. Consistent hearing aid use can help ensure that these devices are operating to their optimal efficiency.
- Help your parents remember to charge their hearing aids each night before they go to bed (at least in cases where their devices are rechargeable).
- Once a year a hearing screening needs to be scheduled for everybody over the age of 55. Be certain that your senior parent has a scheduled appointment for such an examination.
Protecting Against Future Health Concerns
Being a caregiver probably isn’t your only job so you most likely have a lot on your plate. And hearing concerns can feel rather trivial if they aren’t causing immediate worries. But the evidence is rather clear: treating hearing ailments now can avoid a multitude of serious issues in the long run.
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. You could even be able to lower Mom’s risk of developing dementia in the near-term future.
For most of us, that’s worth a trip to a hearing professional. It’s also very helpful to prompt Mom to use hear hearing aid more frequently. And that hearing aid will make your conversations with her much smoother and more pleasant.