Are you the main caretaker for somebody over the age of 70? You have a lot to remember. You’re not likely to forget to take a family member to an oncologist or a cardiologist because those are obvious priorities. But there are things that are often overlooked because they don’t seem like priorities such as the annual checkup with a hearing specialist. And those little things can make a big difference.
For The Health of a Senior, Hearing is Essential
More and more published research has echoed one surprising truth: your hearing is vitally important. Additionally, 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 raise Mom’s risk of dementia by missing her hearing appointment. If Mom isn’t able to hear as well now, she could start to isolate herself; she stops going to movies, doesn’t meet with her friends for tea, and has dinner alone in her bedroom.
This kind of social isolation can happen very quickly when hearing loss takes hold. So mood might not be the reason for the distant behavior you’ve been noticing in Mom or Dad. Hearing loss might be the issue. And that hearing-induced isolation can itself potentially bring about mental decline (your brain is an organ that needs to be exercised or it begins to decline). So when it comes to a senior parents mental and physical health, identifying and treating hearing loss is crucial.
Alright, we’ve convinced you. You’re taking it as a given that hearing is crucial and that neglected hearing loss can snowball into other problems. How can you make certain ear care is a priority? Here are a few things you can do:
- Once per year a hearing screening should be scheduled for anybody over the age of 55. Be certain that your senior parent has a scheduled appointment for such a screening.
- And if you notice a senior spending more time at home, backing out on friends, and separating themselves, the same applies. Any hearing issues can be identified by us when you bring them in.
- Every night before bed, remind your parents to recharge their hearing aids (of course that specifically applies to rechargeable devices).
- Remind your parents to use their hearing aids every day. In order to ensure the hearing aids are functioning at their optimum ability, they need to be used consistently.
- Don’t forget to observe how your parents are acting. If you observe the television getting somewhat louder every week, have a talk with Mom about making an appointment with a hearing specialist to see if you can pinpoint a problem.
How to Reduce Health Problems in The Future
As a caregiver, you already have a lot to do, especially if you’re part of that all-too-common sandwich generation. And if hearing problems aren’t causing immediate issues, they may seem a bit trivial. But the evidence is quite clear: a multitude of serious health concerns in the future can be avoided by treating hearing loss now.
So you could be avoiding costly health conditions later on in life by bringing your loved one to their hearing exam. You could stop depression before it begins. You may 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 professional. And it’s definitely worth a quick reminder to Mom that she needs to be wearing her hearing aid more diligently. And that hearing aid will make your conversations with her much smoother and more enjoyable.