Do you have a senior over the age of 70 in your care? There’s a lot to take into consideration. Taking a relative to a heart specialist or setting up an appointment with an oncologist feels like a priority, so you aren’t likely to forget anything like that. What slips through the cracks, though, are the little things, such as the yearly appointment with a hearing specialist or making sure Dad’s hearing aids are charged up. 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. In addition, your hearing is essential in a way that goes beyond your capacity to listen to music or communicate. Neglected hearing loss has been linked to a number of mental and physical health issues, including depression and loss of cognitive abilities.
So you unwittingly increase Mom’s risk of dementia by skipping her hearing consultation. 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 go out with her friends.
This type of social isolation can occur very quickly when hearing loss takes hold. So if you find Mom or Dad beginning to get a little distant, it might not be about their mood (yet). Hearing loss might be the problem. And cognitive decline can ultimately be the result of that hearing loss (your brain is an organ that needs to be exercised or it begins to diminish). So regarding a senior parents physical and mental health, noticing and managing hearing loss is essential.
Making Hearing a Priority
By now you should be convinced. You now accept 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:
- And if you find a senior spending more time at home, canceling out on friends, and separating themselves, the same is true. Any hearing concerns can be diagnosed by us when you bring them in.
- Monitor when your parents are wearing their hearing aids, and see that it’s every day. In order to make sure the hearing aids are functioning at their optimum capacity, they should be used routinely.
- Anyone over the age of 55 or 60 needs to be undergoing a hearing screening once per year or so. Ensure that your senior parent has a scheduled consultation for such an examination.
- Don’t forget to watch how your parents are acting. If your parent is gradually turning the volume on their television up, you can pinpoint the issue by scheduling an appointment with a hearing specialist.
- Each night before bed, make sure your parents recharge their hearing aids (at least in cases where their devices are rechargeable).
How to Protect Against Health Problems in The Future
As a caregiver, you already have a lot to deal with, particularly if you’re part of that all-too-common sandwich generation. And hearing concerns can feel rather trivial if they aren’t causing immediate worries. But the evidence is quite clear: a multitude of significant health concerns in the future can be prevented by treating hearing issues now.
So when you bring a loved one to their hearing exam, you could be avoiding much more costly health conditions down the road. You could stop depression before it begins. You may 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 very helpful to prompt Mom to use hear hearing aid more consistently. And once that hearing aid is in, you might just be able to have a pleasant conversation, too.