Do you have a senior over the age of 70 in your care? You have a lot to keep track of. Bringing a senior to a cardiologist or scheduling an appointment with an oncologist seems like a priority, so you’re not likely to forget those things. But there are things that are often overlooked because they don’t feel like priorities such as the annual checkup with a hearing professional. And those small 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 hear and enjoy music or communicate, your hearing plays an extremely significant role. Neglected hearing loss has been connected to numerous physical and mental health issues, including loss of cognitive ability and depression.
So you unintentionally raise Mom’s chance of dementia by missing her hearing consultation. Mom might start to separate herself if she isn’t hearing well these days; she stops going to see movies, doesn’t meet with her friends for tea, and eats dinner by herself in her room.
When hearing loss sets in, this kind of social isolation occurs very quickly. So mood may not be the reason for the distant behavior you’ve been noticing in Mom or Dad. It may be their hearing. And that hearing-induced isolation can itself ultimately lead to mental decline (your brain is an organ that has to be exercised or it begins to decline). So with regards to a senior parents mental and physical health, noticing and treating hearing loss is crucial.
By now you should be persuaded. You now realize that untreated hearing loss can lead to several health issues and that you should take hearing seriously. How can you make certain ear care is a priority? Here are various things you can do:
- The same is true if you observe a senior beginning to isolate themselves, canceling on friends and staying inside more. Any hearing issues can be identified by us when you bring them in.
- Help your parents remember to recharge their hearing aids each night before they go to sleep (of course that particularly applies to rechargeable hearing aids).
- Anyone above the age of 55 or 60 should be having a hearing screening once per year or so. Ensure that your senior parent has a scheduled appointment for such an examination.
- Don’t forget to observe how your parents are behaving. If your parent is slowly turning the volume on their television up, you can pinpoint the issue by scheduling a consultation with a hearing specialist.
- Monitor when your parents are using their hearing aids, and see that it’s daily. So that you can make sure the hearing aids are operating at their maximum ability, they should be used consistently.
Preventing Future Health Issues
As a caregiver, you already have a lot to deal with, particularly if you’re part of that all-too-common sandwich generation. And if hearing concerns aren’t causing immediate concerns, they could seem a little trivial. But the evidence is pretty clear: managing hearing ailments now can avoid a wide range of serious issues down the road.
So you may be preventing costly afflictions later on in life by taking your loved one to their hearing exam. You could stop depression before it starts. And Mom’s chance of dementia in the near future will also be lessened.
For the majority of us, that’s worth a trip to a hearing professional. It’s also extremely helpful to prompt Mom to use hear hearing aid more regularly. And when that hearing aid is in, you might just be able to have a pleasant conversation, as well.