Are you the main caretaker for somebody over the age of 70? There’s a lot to take into consideration. You’re not likely to forget to bring a loved one to an oncologist or a heart specialist because those are obvious priorities. But there are things that are frequently overlooked because they don’t seem like priorities such as the yearly checkup with a hearing professional. And those little 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. Beyond the ability to communicate or hear and enjoy music, your hearing plays an extremely important role. Neglected hearing loss has been connected to numerous physical and mental health concerns, including depression and loss of cognitive abilities.
So you inadvertently increase Mom’s chance of dementia by missing her hearing consultation. If Mom isn’t capable of hearing as well these days, she could start to separate herself; she has dinner alone in her room, stops going to see movies, and doesn’t meet with her friends.
When hearing loss sets in, this kind of social separation occurs very quickly. So if you observe Mom or Dad starting to get a little distant, it might not be about their mood (yet). It may be their hearing. And that hearing-induced isolation can itself eventually result in cognitive decline (your brain is a very use-it-or-lose-it type of organ). So when it comes to a senior parents physical and mental health, noticing and treating hearing loss is crucial.
Making Hearing a Priority
By now you should be convinced. You now recognize that neglected hearing loss can lead to several health problems and that you should take hearing seriously. What measures should you take to make hearing a priority? There are a couple of things you can do:
- Don’t forget to watch how your parents are acting. If you notice the television getting somewhat louder every week, have a talk with Mom about making an appointment with a hearing professional to see if you can identify a problem.
- Once per year a hearing screening should be scheduled for anyone over 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. So that you can ensure the hearing aids are operating at their maximum ability, they need to be used consistently.
- The same is true if you notice a senior beginning to separate themselves, canceling on friends and spending more time in the house. Any hearing difficulties can be identified by us when you bring them in.
- Help your parents remember to charge their hearing aids every night before they go to bed (of course that specifically applies to rechargeable hearing aids).
How to Avoid Health Problems in The Future
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 issues, they could seem a bit trivial. But the evidence is pretty clear: a multitude of serious health concerns in the future can be avoided by dealing with hearing loss now.
So you may be preventing costly ailments later on in life by taking your loved one to their hearing appointment. You could stop depression before it begins. You could even be able to reduce Mom’s chance of developing dementia in the near-term future.
That’s worth a trip to see a hearing professional for most of us. And it’s certainly worth a quick reminder to Mom that she should be wearing her hearing aid more vigilantly. And that hearing aid will make your conversations with her much easier and more enjoyable.