Are you the main caretaker for somebody over the age of 70? You have a lot to remember. Bringing a loved one to a heart specialist or scheduling an appointment with an oncologist seems like a priority, so you aren’t likely to forget anything like that. What slips through the cracks, however, are the small things, including the yearly checkup with a hearing specialist or making sure Mom’s hearing aids are charged. And those things are a bigger priority than you might think.
For The Health of a Senior, Hearing is Essential
More and more published research has echoed one surprising truth: your hearing is vitally important. In addition, your hearing is critical in a way that goes beyond your ability to listen to music or communicate. Untreated hearing loss has been connected to numerous mental and physical health issues, including loss of cognitive ability and depression.
So you unwittingly increase Mom’s risk of dementia by missing her hearing appointment. If Mom isn’t capable of hearing as well now, she could begin to isolate herself; she stops going to see movies, doesn’t meet with her friends for coffee, and eats dinner by herself in her bedroom.
This kind of social separation can occur very quickly when hearing loss sets in. So if you notice Mom or Dad starting to become a little distant, it may not be about their mood (yet). It could be their hearing. And cognitive decline can eventually be the outcome of that hearing loss (your brain is a very use-it-or-lose-it kind of organ). So recognizing the symptoms of hearing loss, and ensuring those symptoms are treated, 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 important and that untreated hearing loss can lead to other issues. What measures should you take to make hearing a priority? Here are various things you can do:
- Monitor when your parents are using their hearing aids, and see that it’s every day. Routine use of hearing aids can help ensure that these devices are operating to their maximum efficiency.
- Anyone over the age of 55 or 60 should be undergoing a hearing screening every year or so. You should help a senior parent make and keep these appointments.
- Every night before bed, help your parents to recharge their hearing aids (at least in situations where their devices are rechargeable).
- And if you find a senior spending more time at home, canceling out on friends, and isolating themselves, the same applies. Any hearing concerns can be identified by us when you bring them in.
- Don’t forget to observe how your parents are behaving. If you notice the television getting a bit louder every week, talk to Mom about schedule a consultation with a hearing specialist to see if you can pinpoint a problem.
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 issues, they may seem a little trivial. But the evidence is quite clear: a multitude of serious health concerns in the future can be prevented by managing hearing issues now.
So you may be preventing costly ailments down the road by bringing your loved one to their hearing consultation. You could head off depression before it starts. And Mom’s chance of dementia in the near future will also be lessened.
That’s worth a trip to see a hearing specialist for the majority of us. It’s also extremely helpful to remind Mom to use hear hearing aid more consistently. And that hearing aid will make your conversations with her much easier and more enjoyable.