Are you the main caretaker for someone older than 70? There’s a lot to keep in mind. Taking a loved one to a cardiologist or setting up an appointment with an oncologist feels like a priority, so you aren’t likely to forget those things. But there are things that are often forgotten because they don’t seem like priorities such as the yearly checkup with a hearing specialist. And those things are a higher 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. Additionally, your hearing is critical in a way that goes beyond your ability to listen to music or communicate. Depression and loss of cognitive abilities are a couple of mental health concerns that have been connected to neglected hearing loss.
So you unwittingly increase Mom’s risk of dementia by missing her hearing consultation. If Mom isn’t capable of hearing as well now, she could start to separate herself; she stops going to see movies, doesn’t meet with her friends for tea, and has dinner alone in her room.
When hearing loss sets in, this type of social separation occurs very quickly. So mood may not be the reason for the distant behavior you’ve been observing in Mom or Dad. It might be their hearing. And cognitive decline can ultimately be the result of that hearing loss (your brain is a very use-it-or-lose-it type of organ). So when it comes to a senior parents physical and mental health, identifying and treating hearing loss is essential.
How to Ensure Hearing Will be a Priority
By now you should be convinced. You now recognize that neglected hearing loss can result in several health problems and that you need to take hearing seriously. How can you make sure ear care is a priority? There are several things you can do:
- And if you notice a senior spending more time at home, canceling out on friends, and distancing themselves, the same applies. A consultation with us can help shed light on the existence of any hearing concerns.
- Monitor when your parents are wearing their hearing aids, and see that it’s every day. Consistent use of hearing aids can help ensure that these devices are functioning to their maximum efficiency.
- Keep an eye on your parents’ behavior. If your parent is gradually turning the volume on their TV up, you can pinpoint the issue by scheduling a consultation with a hearing professional.
- Once per year a hearing screening needs to be scheduled for anyone over the age of 55. Make sure that your senior parent has a scheduled appointment for such an examination.
- Each night before bed, make sure your parents put their hearing aids on the charger (at least in situations where their hearing aids are rechargeable).
How to Reduce Health Problems in The Future
Being a caregiver probably isn’t your only job so you likely have a lot to deal with. And if hearing problems aren’t causing immediate concerns, they might seem a little trivial. But the evidence is quite clear: managing hearing ailments now can prevent a wide range of serious problems down the road.
So you could be avoiding costly illnesses in the future by bringing your loved one to their hearing appointment. Depression could be prevented before it even starts. You could even be able to reduce Mom’s chance of getting dementia in the near-term future.
That’s worth a trip to see a hearing specialist for the majority of us. It’s also extremely helpful to prompt Mom to wear her hearing aid more consistently. And when that hearing aid is in, you might just be able to have a pleasant conversation, too.