Do you have a senior over the age of 70 in your care? There’s a lot to take into consideration. Bringing a loved one to a cardiologist or setting up an appointment with an oncologist seems like a priority, so you’re not likely to forget anything like that. What falls through the cracks, though, are the little things, such as the annual appointment with a hearing professional or making sure Mom’s hearing aids are charged. And those small things can make a big difference.
For The Health of a Senior, Hearing is Essential
More and more published research has echoed one surprising truth: your hearing is vitally important. Additionally, 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 issues that have been associated with neglected hearing loss.
So when you miss Mom’s hearing appointment, you might unwittingly be increasing her chances of developing these problems, including dementia. If Mom isn’t capable of hearing as well now, she could begin to isolate herself; she stops going to movies, doesn’t meet with her friends for coffee, and eats dinner by herself in her bedroom.
When hearing loss takes hold, this kind of social separation happens very quickly. So if you notice Mom or Dad starting to get a little distant, it might not have anything to do with their mood (yet). Hearing loss might be the problem. And that hearing-induced isolation can itself potentially result in 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 signs are treated, is crucial with regards to your senior parents’ mental and physical health.
How to Make Sure Hearing Will be a Priority
By now you should be persuaded. You’re taking it as a given that hearing is crucial and that neglected hearing loss can snowball into other problems. What measures should you take to make hearing a priority? Here are various things you can do:
- Advise your parents to use their hearing aids each day. Routine use of hearing aids can help ensure that these devices are operating to their maximum capacity.
- Each night before bed, help your parents to put their hearing aids on the charger (of course that exclusively applies to rechargeable devices).
- And if you notice a senior spending more time at home, backing out on friends, and isolating themselves, the same is true. Any hearing issues can be identified by us when you bring them in.
- Be mindful of your parents’ habits. If your parent is slowly turning the volume on their television up, you can determine the issue by making an appointment with a hearing specialist.
- Anyone over the age of 55 or 60 needs to be having a hearing screening once per year or so. Be sure that your senior parent has a scheduled consultation for such a screening.
Protecting Against Future Health Concerns
Being a caregiver probably isn’t your only job so you likely have a lot on your plate. And hearing concerns can feel a bit trivial if they aren’t causing immediate stress. But there’s rather clear evidence: dealing with hearing conditions now can prevent a wide range of serious problems in the long run.
So when you take a loved one to their hearing consultation, you could be preventing much more costly health conditions in the future. Depression could be prevented before it even 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 needs to be using her hearing aid more diligently. And that hearing aid will make your conversations with her much easier and more enjoyable.