Do you have a senior older than 70 in your care? There’s a lot to keep in mind. 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 commonly overlooked because they don’t feel like priorities such as the annual checkup with a hearing specialist. And those little things can make a big difference.
The Significance of Hearing to Senior Health
More and more published research has echoed one surprising truth: your hearing is vitally important. Beyond the ability to communicate or hear and enjoy music, your hearing plays an extremely important role. Neglected hearing loss has been connected to numerous physical and mental health problems, including loss of cognitive ability and depression.
So when you miss Mom’s hearing appointment, you could unintentionally be increasing her chances of developing these problems, including dementia. Mom might begin to isolate herself if she isn’t hearing well these days; she has dinner by herself in her room, stops going to movies, and doesn’t go out with her friends.
When hearing loss sets in, this sort of social isolation happens very quickly. So mood might not be the reason for the distant behavior you’ve been noticing in Mom or Dad. Hearing loss might be the issue. And that hearing-induced isolation can itself ultimately lead to mental decline (your brain is a very use-it-or-lose-it type of organ). So identifying the signs of hearing loss, and making certain those symptoms are addressed, is crucial with regards to your senior parents’ mental and physical health.
How to Ensure Hearing Will be a Priority
Okay, we’ve convinced you. You’re taking it as a given that hearing is crucial and that untreated hearing loss can lead to other issues. How can you make sure ear care is a priority? There are a few things you can do:
- And if you notice a senior spending more time at home, backing out on friends, and separating themselves, the same applies. A consultation with us can help shed light on the existence of any hearing problems.
- Keep an eye on your parents’ behavior. If you notice the tv getting a bit louder every week, speak with Mom about schedule an appointment with a hearing professional to see if you can identify an issue.
- Once a year a hearing screening should be scheduled for everybody over the age of 55. You should help a senior parent schedule and show up for these appointments.
- Each night before bed, make sure your parents recharge their hearing aids (at least in situations where their devices are rechargeable).
- Monitor when your parents are using their hearing aids, and see that it’s every day. In order to ensure the hearing aids are operating at their optimum capacity, they need to be used consistently.
Avoiding Future Health Concerns
Being a caregiver probably isn’t your only job so you more than likely have a lot to deal with. And hearing concerns can feel somewhat trivial if they aren’t causing immediate friction. But there’s very clear evidence: treating hearing ailments now can prevent a multitude of serious issues down the road.
So when you take a loved one to their hearing consultation, you could be avoiding much more costly health conditions in the future. Depression could be eliminated before it even starts. And Mom’s risk of dementia in the near future will also be decreased.
That’s worth a trip to see a hearing specialist for the majority of us. And it’s definitely worth a quick reminder to Mom that she needs to be wearing her hearing aid more vigilantly. And that hearing aid will make your conversations with her much smoother and more pleasant.