Are you the main caretaker for someone older than 70? You have a lot to remember. You aren’t likely to forget to bring a loved one to an oncologist or a heart specialist because those are clear priorities. But there are things that are commonly forgotten because they don’t feel like priorities such as the yearly checkup with a hearing specialist. 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. In addition, your hearing is essential in a way that goes further than your ability to communicate or listen to music. Depression and loss of cognitive abilities are a couple of mental health concerns that have been linked to neglected hearing loss.
So you unwittingly increase Mom’s risk of dementia by skipping her hearing consultation. Mom could start to isolate herself if she isn’t hearing well these days; she has dinner alone in her room, stops going to movies, and doesn’t meet with her friends.
This kind of social isolation can happen very quickly when hearing loss takes hold. So if you observe Mom or Dad starting to get a little distant, it may not be about their mood (yet). It may be their hearing. And cognitive decline can eventually be the outcome of that hearing loss (your brain is an organ that needs to be exercised or it begins to decline). So noticing the symptoms of hearing loss, and making certain those signs are managed, is essential when it comes to your senior parents’ mental and physical health.
Making Hearing a Priority
Alright, we’ve persuaded you. You’re taking it as a given that hearing is significant and that neglected hearing loss can snowball into other problems. How can you make certain ear care is a priority? Here are a few things you can do:
- Be mindful of your parents’ habits. If your parent is slowly turning the volume on their TV up, you can determine the problem by making an appointment with a hearing specialist.
- The same is true if you find a senior starting to segregate themselves, canceling on friends and staying inside more. Any hearing concerns can be diagnosed by us when you bring them in.
- Help your parents remember to charge their hearing aids every night before they go to bed (at least in cases where their hearing aids are rechargeable).
- Remind your parents to wear their hearing aids each day. Routine use of hearing aids can help ensure that these devices are performing to their maximum capacity.
- Anyone above the age of 55 or 60 needs to be undergoing a hearing screening once per year or so. Be sure that your senior parent has a scheduled appointment for such a screening.
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 on your plate. And if hearing issues aren’t causing immediate concerns, they could seem somewhat trivial. But the evidence is rather clear: a multitude of significant health concerns in the future can be avoided by treating hearing loss now.
So when you take a loved one to their hearing appointment, you could be avoiding much more costly ailments down the road. Depression could be prevented before it even starts. And Mom’s risk of dementia in the near future will also be minimized.
For the majority of us, that’s worth a trip to a hearing specialist. It’s also really helpful to remind Mom to use hear hearing aid more regularly. And once that hearing aid is in, you might just be able to have a pleasant conversation, as well.