Are you the main caretaker for somebody older than 70? You have a lot to remember. Taking a senior to a cardiologist or setting up an appointment with an oncologist seems like a priority, so you’re not likely to forget those things. What slips through the cracks, however, are the small things, such as the yearly examination with a hearing specialist or making sure Mom’s hearing aids are charged up. And those things are a bigger priority than you might think.
For The Health of a Senior, Hearing is Important
More and more published research has echoed one surprising truth: your hearing is vitally important. Beyond the ability to hear and enjoy music or communicate, your hearing plays an extremely significant role. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to a number of physical and mental health issues, including depression and loss of cognitive abilities.
So you unwittingly increase Mom’s chance of dementia by skipping her hearing appointment. If Mom isn’t capable of hearing as well these days, she could start to isolate herself; she stops going to movies, doesn’t meet with her friends for tea, and eats dinner by herself in her room.
When hearing loss sets in, this sort of social isolation occurs very quickly. So mood might not be the reason for the distant behavior you’ve been observing in Mom or Dad. Hearing loss might be the problem. And that hearing-induced isolation can itself eventually bring about cognitive decline (your brain is an organ that has to be exercised or it begins to diminish). So with regards to a senior parents physical and mental health, noticing and treating hearing loss is essential.
Okay, 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. How can you make certain ear care is a priority? There are a couple of things you can do:
- Remind your parents to wear their hearing aids every day. So that you can ensure the hearing aids are operating at their optimal capacity, they should be used routinely.
- And if you find a senior spending more time at home, canceling out on friends, and isolating themselves, the same is true. A consultation with us can help illuminate the existence of any hearing difficulties.
- Help your parents remember to charge their hearing aids each night before they go to sleep (of course that particularly applies to rechargeable devices).
- Keep an eye on your parents’ habits. If your parent is slowly turning the volume on their television up, you can identify the issue by making a consultation with a hearing professional.
- Anyone over the age of 55 or 60 needs to be having a hearing screening every year or so. Be certain that your senior parent has a scheduled appointment for such a screening.
Avoiding Future Health Issues
As a caregiver, you already have a lot to deal with, particularly if you’re part of that all-too-common sandwich generation. And if hearing concerns aren’t causing immediate concerns, they may seem a little trivial. But there’s very clear evidence: dealing with hearing ailments now can avoid a wide range of serious issues in the long run.
So you could be preventing costly afflictions later on in life by taking your loved one to their hearing exam. Depression could be eliminated before it even begins. And Mom’s chance of dementia in the near future will also be decreased.
That’s worth a trip to see a hearing specialist for the majority of us. It’s also extremely helpful to remind Mom to wear her hearing aid more frequently. And once that hearing aid is in, you may just be able to have a pleasant conversation, too.