Are you the primary caretaker for somebody older than 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 clear priorities. What slips through the cracks, though, are the little things, including the annual appointment 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 Crucial
More and more published research has echoed one surprising truth: your hearing is vitally important. Additionally, your hearing is essential in a way that goes beyond your ability to communicate or listen to music. Loss of cognitive abilities and depression are a couple of mental health concerns that have been associated with untreated hearing loss.
So you inadvertently increase Mom’s risk of dementia by missing her hearing appointment. If Mom isn’t able to hear as well now, she could begin to isolate herself; she stops going to movies, doesn’t meet with her friends for tea, and has dinner alone in her room.
When hearing loss takes hold, this type of social separation happens very quickly. So mood may not be the reason for the distant behavior you’ve been observing in Dad or Mom. It might be their hearing. And that hearing-induced isolation can itself potentially result in mental decline (your brain is an organ that needs to be exercised or it begins to diminish). So regarding a senior parents mental and physical health, noticing and treating hearing loss is essential.
Making Hearing a Priority
By now you should be convinced. You’re taking it as a given that hearing is important and that neglected hearing loss can snowball into other issues. What measures should you take to make hearing a priority? Here are various things you can do:
- Don’t forget to watch how your parents are acting. If you observe the tv getting a bit louder every week, have a talk with Mom about making a consultation with a hearing specialist to see if you can pinpoint an issue.
- And if you notice a senior spending more time at home, canceling out on friends, and separating themselves, the same applies. A consultation with us can help illuminate the occurrence of any hearing concerns.
- Remind your parents to use their hearing aids each day. Routine use of hearing aids can help ensure that these devices are functioning to their optimum capacity.
- Once per year a hearing screening should be scheduled for anybody over the age of 55. You should help a senior parent schedule and keep these appointments.
- Help your parents remember to recharge their hearing aids each night before they go to bed (of course that exclusively applies to rechargeable devices).
Preventing Future Health Problems
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 a bit trivial if they aren’t causing immediate stress. But there’s rather clear evidence: managing hearing ailments now can prevent a wide range of serious problems in the long run.
So you could be preventing costly afflictions in the future by bringing your loved one to their hearing appointment. You could head off depression before it starts. And Mom’s chance of dementia in the near future will also be reduced.
That’s worth a trip to see a hearing professional for most of us. It’s also extremely helpful to remind Mom to use hear hearing aid more frequently. And once that hearing aid is in, you might just be able to have a pleasant conversation, too.