Do you have a senior over the age of 70 in your care? You have a lot to keep track of. Bringing a loved one to a cardiologist or scheduling 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 small things, like the yearly exam with a hearing professional or making sure Mom’s hearing aids are charged up. And those small things can make a big difference.
The Importance of Hearing to Senior Health
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 further than your capacity to listen to music or communicate. Untreated hearing loss has been connected to numerous mental and physical health concerns, like depression and loss of cognitive abilities.
So when you miss Mom’s hearing appointment, you could unwittingly be increasing her chances of developing these issues, including dementia. If Mom isn’t capable of hearing as well now, she could start to isolate herself; she stops going to movies, doesn’t meet with her friends for tea, and eats dinner alone in her bedroom.
This type of social isolation can happen very quickly when hearing loss takes hold. So if you observe Mom or Dad starting to become a little distant, it might not be about their mood (yet). It may be their hearing. And cognitive decline can ultimately be the result of that hearing loss (your brain is an organ that needs to be exercised or it begins to decline). So identifying the symptoms of hearing loss, and making sure those symptoms are treated, is crucial 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 significant and that untreated hearing loss can snowball into other problems. What measures should you take to make hearing a priority? Here 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 illuminate the existence of any hearing difficulties.
- Each night before bed, help your parents to put their hearing aids on the charger (at least in cases where their devices are rechargeable).
- Monitor your parents’ behavior. If you notice the tv getting a bit louder every week, talk to Mom about schedule a consultation with a hearing specialist to see if you can pinpoint an issue.
- Once a year a hearing screening needs to be scheduled for anyone above the age of 55. You should help a senior parent schedule and keep these appointments.
- Advise your parents to use their hearing aids each day. In order to ensure the hearing aids are functioning at their optimal capacity, they should be used consistently.
Preventing Future Health Problems
Being a caregiver probably isn’t your only job so you most likely have a lot on your plate. And if hearing concerns aren’t causing immediate concerns, they may seem a little trivial. But the evidence is pretty clear: managing hearing conditions now can avoid a multitude of serious problems down the road.
So when you bring a loved one to their hearing appointment, you could be preventing much more costly ailments in the future. Depression could be avoided before it even begins. You might even be able to lower Mom’s risk of developing dementia in the near-term future.
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 once that hearing aid is in, you might just be able to have a nice conversation, too.