Are you the main caretaker for someone older than 70? You have a lot to keep track of. You’re not likely to forget to bring a family member to an oncologist or a heart specialist because those are obvious priorities. But there are things that are frequently overlooked because they don’t feel like priorities such as the yearly checkup with a hearing professional. And those small things can make a big difference.
For The Health of a Senior, Hearing is Crucial
More and more published research has echoed one surprising truth: your hearing is vitally important. What’s more, your hearing is essential in a way that goes further than your ability to listen to music or communicate. Untreated hearing loss has been connected to several physical and mental health issues, like depression and loss of cognitive abilities.
So you unintentionally increase Mom’s chance of dementia by missing her hearing appointment. If Mom isn’t capable of hearing as well these days, she could start to separate herself; she eats dinner alone in her room, stops going to see movies, and doesn’t go out with her friends.
When hearing loss takes hold, this type of social isolation happens very quickly. So mood may not be the reason for the distant behavior you’ve been noticing in Mom or Dad. Hearing loss might be the issue. And cognitive decline can eventually be the result of that hearing loss (your brain is an organ that needs to be exercised or it begins to diminish). So noticing the symptoms of hearing loss, and ensuring those signs are managed, is essential with regards to your senior parents’ mental and physical health.
How to Ensure Hearing Will be a Priority
By now you should be persuaded. You now accept that untreated hearing loss can result in several health problems and that you should take hearing seriously. What steps should you take to make hearing a priority? There are a couple of things you can do:
- Keep track of when your parents are wearing their hearing aids, and see that it’s every day. In order to ensure the hearing aids are functioning at their maximum capacity, they need to be used consistently.
- Don’t forget to watch how your parents are behaving. If you notice the tv getting somewhat louder every week, speak with Mom about schedule a consultation with a hearing specialist to see if you can pinpoint an issue.
- And if you notice a senior spending more time at home, canceling out on friends, and separating themselves, the same applies. Any hearing concerns can be diagnosed by us when you bring them in.
- Once per year a hearing screening needs to be scheduled for anybody above the age of 55. Ensure that your senior parent has a scheduled appointment for such an examination.
- Every night before bed, help your parents to recharge their hearing aids (of course that exclusively applies to rechargeable devices).
How to Reduce Health Problems in The Future
As a caregiver, you already have a lot to do, especially if you’re part of that all-too-common sandwich generation. And hearing problems can feel a bit trivial if they aren’t causing immediate stress. But the evidence is rather clear: a wide range of significant health concerns in the future can be avoided by dealing with hearing loss now.
So when you bring a loved one to their hearing appointment, you could be avoiding much more costly ailments in the future. You could head off depression before it begins. And Mom’s risk of dementia in the near future will also be lessened.
For most of us, that’s worth a trip to a hearing specialist. And it’s certainly worth a quick reminder to Mom that she should be using her hearing aid more diligently. And when that hearing aid is in, you may just be able to have a nice conversation, too.