Are you the main caretaker for someone older than 70? There’s a lot to keep in mind. Taking a loved one to a heart specialist or scheduling an appointment with an oncologist feels like a priority, so you’re not likely to forget those things. What falls through the cracks, however, are the little things, like the yearly checkup with a hearing professional or making sure Mom’s hearing aids are charged up. And those small things can make a big difference.
For The Health of a Senior, Hearing is Important
More and more published research has echoed one surprising truth: your hearing is vitally important. What’s more, your hearing is critical in a way that goes further than your capacity to listen to music or communicate. Loss of cognitive abilities and depression are a couple of mental health issues that have been linked to neglected hearing loss.
So you inadvertently increase Mom’s risk of dementia by skipping her hearing consultation. If Mom isn’t able to hear as well now, she could begin to isolate herself; she has dinner alone in her room, stops going to see movies, and doesn’t go out with her friends.
This kind of social isolation can occur very quickly when hearing loss sets in. So mood may not be the reason for the distant behavior you’ve been observing in Dad or Mom. It might be their hearing. And that hearing-induced isolation can itself potentially lead to mental decline (your brain is a very use-it-or-lose-it kind of organ). So recognizing the signs of hearing loss, and making certain those symptoms 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 untreated hearing loss can snowball into other problems. How can you make sure ear care is a priority? Here are various things you can do:
- Don’t forget to watch how your parents are acting. If your parent is slowly turning the volume on their television up, you can pinpoint the issue by scheduling a consultation with a hearing professional.
- Help your parents remember to recharge their hearing aids every night before they go to bed (at least in cases where their hearing aids are rechargeable).
- Remind your parents to wear their hearing aids every day. Consistent use of hearing aids can help ensure that these devices are functioning to their maximum efficiency.
- And if you find a senior spending more time at home, canceling out on friends, and isolating themselves, the same applies. A consultation with us can help shed light on the occurrence of any hearing issues.
- Once per year a hearing screening should be scheduled for anybody above the age of 55. You should help a senior parent schedule and show up for these appointments.
How to Prevent Health Problems in The Future
As a caregiver, you already have a lot to do, particularly if you’re part of that all-too-common sandwich generation. And hearing problems can feel somewhat trivial if they aren’t causing immediate stress. But the evidence is pretty clear: treating hearing conditions now can avoid a wide range of serious issues in the long run.
So you may be avoiding costly illnesses in the future by bringing your loved one to their hearing consultation. You could head off depression before it begins. You might even be able to lower Mom’s risk of getting dementia in the near-term future.
For the majority of us, that’s worth a trip to a hearing specialist. It’s also very helpful to prompt Mom to use hear hearing aid more frequently. And once that hearing aid is in, you might just be able to have a pleasant conversation, as well.