Are you the primary caretaker for somebody older than 70? There’s a lot to keep in mind. You aren’t likely to forget to bring a family member to an oncologist or a cardiologist because those are clear priorities. But there are things that are often 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.
The Significance of Hearing to Senior Health
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 numerous physical and mental health concerns, like depression and loss of cognitive abilities.
So when you miss Mom’s hearing appointment, you could unwittingly be increasing her chances of developing these issues, including dementia. If Mom isn’t capable of hearing as well now, she could start to isolate herself; she has dinner by herself in her room, stops going to see movies, and doesn’t meet with her friends.
This kind of social isolation can happen very quickly when hearing loss sets in. So if you find Mom or Dad beginning to become a little distant, it may not have anything to do with their mood (yet). Hearing loss might be the problem. And that hearing-induced isolation can itself potentially result in mental decline (your brain is a very use-it-or-lose-it kind of organ). So recognizing the symptoms of hearing loss, and making sure those symptoms are managed, is crucial with regards to your senior parents’ mental and physical health.
By now you should be persuaded. You now accept that untreated hearing loss can result in several health problems and that you should take hearing seriously. How can you make certain ear care is a priority? Here are a few things you can do:
- Be mindful of your parents’ behavior. If your parent is slowly turning the volume on their TV up, you can pinpoint the issue by scheduling a consultation with a hearing specialist.
- The same is the situation if you find a senior beginning to separate themselves, canceling on friends and spending more time in the house. A consultation with us can help shed light on the existence of any hearing concerns.
- Advise your parents to wear their hearing aids every day. So that you can ensure the hearing aids are functioning at their optimum capacity, they should be used routinely.
- Anyone over the age of 55 or 60 should be undergoing a hearing screening every year or so. You should help a senior parent schedule and keep these appointments.
- 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 Prevent Health Problems in The Future
Being a caregiver probably isn’t your only job so you more than likely have a lot to deal with. And if hearing issues aren’t causing immediate issues, they could seem somewhat trivial. But there’s pretty clear evidence: a wide range of significant health problems in the future can be avoided by treating hearing loss now.
So when you take a loved one to their hearing exam, you could be preventing much more costly ailments down the road. You could stop depression before it begins. You might even be able to reduce Mom’s risk of getting dementia in the near-term future.
For most of us, that’s worth a trip to a hearing specialist. It’s also extremely helpful to remind Mom to use hear hearing aid more consistently. And that hearing aid will make your conversations with her much easier and more enjoyable.