Do you have a senior older than 70 in your care? You have a lot to remember. Taking a senior to a heart specialist or setting up an appointment with an oncologist seems like a priority, so you aren’t likely to forget those things. But there are things that are commonly neglected because they don’t feel like priorities such as the yearly checkup with a hearing specialist. And those small things can make a big difference.
For The Health of a Senior, Hearing is Crucial
More and more published research has echoed one surprising truth: your hearing is vitally important. What’s more, your hearing is essential in a way that goes beyond your capacity to communicate or listen to music. Neglected hearing loss has been connected to several physical and mental health issues, like loss of cognitive ability and depression.
So you inadvertently increase Mom’s risk of dementia by missing her hearing consultation. If Mom isn’t capable of hearing as well now, she could begin to isolate herself; she eats dinner by herself in her room, stops going to see movies, and doesn’t meet with her friends.
This type of social isolation can occur very quickly when hearing loss takes hold. So mood might not be the reason for the distant behavior you’ve been noticing in Dad or Mom. It may be their hearing. And that hearing-induced isolation can itself ultimately lead to cognitive decline (your brain is an organ that has to be exercised or it begins to diminish). So identifying the signs of hearing loss, and making certain those symptoms are managed, is crucial when it comes to your senior parents’ mental and physical health.
By now you should be convinced. You’re taking it as a given that hearing is significant and that untreated hearing loss can lead to other issues. What steps should you take to make hearing a priority? There are several things you can do:
- Keep track of when your parents are using their hearing aids, and see that it’s every day. Consistent hearing aid use can help guarantee that these devices are functioning to their optimal capacity.
- Don’t forget to observe how your parents are behaving. If your parent is slowly turning the volume on their television up, you can determine the problem by making a consultation with a hearing professional.
- Help your parents remember to charge their hearing aids every night before they go to bed (at least in situations where their devices are rechargeable).
- Once a year a hearing screening needs to be scheduled for everybody over the age of 55. You should help a senior parent make and show up for these appointments.
- The same is true if you observe a senior beginning to separate themselves, canceling on friends and staying inside more. A trip to come see us can help shed light on the existence of any hearing issues.
How to Avoid Health Problems in The Future
Being a caregiver probably isn’t your only job so you more than likely have a lot on your plate. And if hearing issues aren’t causing immediate concerns, they may seem somewhat trivial. But there’s pretty clear evidence: a wide range of serious health concerns in the future can be prevented by treating hearing issues now.
So you could be avoiding costly ailments down the road by taking your loved one to their hearing exam. You could stop depression before it begins. And Mom’s risk of dementia in the near future will also be minimized.
That’s worth a trip to see a hearing specialist for most of us. And it’s definitely worth a quick reminder to Mom that she should be wearing her hearing aid more diligently. And once that hearing aid is in, you may just be able to have a pleasant conversation, as well.