Are you the primary caretaker for somebody over the age of 70? There’s a lot to take into consideration. You aren’t likely to forget to take a family member to an oncologist or a cardiologist because those are obvious priorities. What falls through the cracks, however, are the little things, including the annual appointment with a hearing specialist or making sure Dad’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 essential in a way that goes beyond your capacity to communicate or listen to music. Loss of cognitive abilities and depression are a couple of mental health issues that have been associated with neglected hearing loss.
So you inadvertently increase Mom’s risk of dementia by missing her hearing consultation. Mom might start to isolate herself if she isn’t hearing well these days; she eats dinner alone in her room, stops going to movies, and doesn’t meet with her friends.
When hearing loss sets in, this sort of social separation occurs very quickly. So mood may not be the reason for the distant behavior you’ve been noting in Dad or Mom. Hearing loss may be the issue. And cognitive decline can ultimately be the outcome of that hearing loss (your brain is an organ that has to be exercised or it begins to decline). So regarding a senior parents physical and mental health, identifying and managing hearing loss is essential.
How to Make Sure Hearing Will be a Priority
By now you should be convinced. You now realize that neglected hearing loss can result in several health problems and that you should take hearing seriously. What measures should you take to make hearing a priority? There are a few things you can do:
- Each night before bed, remind your parents to put their hearing aids on the charger (at least in cases where their devices are rechargeable).
- Keep track of when your parents are using their hearing aids, and see that it’s daily. Consistent hearing aid use can help guarantee that these devices are performing to their maximum capacity.
- Once per year a hearing screening needs to be scheduled for anybody above the age of 55. You should help a senior parent schedule and keep these appointments.
- Don’t forget to observe how your parents are acting. If your parent is slowly turning the volume on their television up, you can pinpoint the issue by making an appointment with a hearing specialist.
- The same is true if you notice a senior beginning to isolate themselves, canceling on friends and staying inside more. Any hearing issues can be diagnosed by us when you bring them in.
How to Prevent Health Problems in The Future
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 the evidence is quite clear: dealing with hearing conditions now can avoid a multitude of serious problems in the long run.
So you could be preventing costly ailments later on in life by bringing your loved one to their hearing appointment. Depression could be avoided before it even begins. And Mom’s chance of dementia in the near future will also be lessened.
For most of us, that’s worth a trip to a hearing professional. And it’s definitely worth a quick reminder to Mom that she needs to be using her hearing aid more vigilantly. And when that hearing aid is in, you might just be able to have a pleasant conversation, too.