Do you have a senior over the age of 70 in your care? You have a lot to remember. You aren’t likely to forget to take a family member to an oncologist or a cardiologist because those are clear priorities. What slips through the cracks, however, are the little things, including the annual checkup with a hearing specialist or making sure Mom’s hearing aids are charged. 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. In addition, your hearing is critical in a way that goes beyond your capacity to communicate or listen to music. 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 missing her hearing appointment. Mom might begin to separate herself if she isn’t hearing well these days; she has dinner alone in her room, stops going to movies, and doesn’t meet with her friends.
This type 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 noticing in Dad or Mom. Hearing loss may be the issue. And that hearing-induced isolation can itself eventually lead to mental decline (your brain is an organ that needs to be exercised or it begins to decline). So recognizing the symptoms of hearing loss, and making certain those symptoms are treated, is essential when it comes to your senior parents’ mental and physical health.
How to Ensure Hearing Will be a Priority
Alright, we’ve persuaded you. You’re taking it as a given that hearing is crucial and that neglected hearing loss can snowball into other problems. What steps should you take to make hearing a priority? Here are a few things you can do:
- The same is true if you find a senior starting to separate themselves, canceling on friends and staying inside more. A consultation with us can help illuminate the existence of any hearing problems.
- Advise your parents to wear their hearing aids every day. Routine use of hearing aids can help ensure that these devices are functioning to their optimal efficiency.
- Don’t forget to observe how your parents are acting. If your parent is slowly turning the volume on their TV up, you can determine the problem by scheduling a consultation with a hearing specialist.
- Help your parents remember to recharge their hearing aids every night before they go to bed (of course that particularly applies to rechargeable hearing aids).
- Once per year a hearing screening needs to be scheduled for anybody over the age of 55. You should help a senior parent schedule and keep these appointments.
How to Prevent Health Problems in The Future
Being a caregiver probably isn’t your only job so you most likely have a lot to deal with. And if hearing problems aren’t causing immediate concerns, they could seem a bit trivial. But there’s very clear evidence: managing hearing conditions now can avoid a multitude of serious problems in the long run.
So you may be preventing costly illnesses down the road by taking your loved one to their hearing appointment. You could head off depression before it starts. You could even be able to reduce Mom’s risk of developing dementia in the near-term future.
For most of us, that’s worth a trip to a hearing specialist. It’s also very helpful to remind Mom to use hear hearing aid more regularly. And once that hearing aid is in, you may just be able to have a pleasant conversation, too.