Are you the main caretaker for somebody over the age of 70? You have a lot to keep track of. You aren’t likely to forget to bring a loved one to an oncologist or a heart specialist because those are clear priorities. But there are things that are frequently forgotten because they don’t seem like priorities such as the annual checkup with a hearing professional. 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. What’s more, your hearing is essential in a way that goes beyond your ability to listen to music or communicate. Depression and loss of cognitive abilities are a couple of mental health concerns that have been connected to neglected hearing loss.
So when you miss Mom’s hearing appointment, you may inadvertently be increasing her risk of developing these issues, including dementia. If Mom isn’t able to hear as well these days, she could start to isolate herself; she eats dinner alone in her room, stops going to see movies, and doesn’t go out with her friends.
When hearing loss sets in, this type of social isolation happens very quickly. So if you observe Mom or Dad starting to get a little distant, it might not be about their mood (yet). Hearing loss might be the problem. And that hearing-induced isolation can itself ultimately result in mental decline (your brain is an organ that has to be exercised or it begins to decline). So noticing the symptoms of hearing loss, and making sure those signs are addressed, is crucial when it comes to your senior parents’ mental and physical health.
Okay, we’ve persuaded you. You’re taking it as a given that hearing is crucial and that neglected hearing loss can lead to other problems. What measures should you take to make hearing a priority? There are several things you can do:
- Once a year a hearing screening needs to be scheduled for anybody above the age of 55. You should help a senior parent schedule and keep these appointments.
- The same is true if you find a senior beginning to isolate themselves, canceling on friends and spending more time in the house. A consultation with us can help shed light on the occurrence of any hearing concerns.
- Advise your parents to wear their hearing aids each day. So that you can ensure the hearing aids are operating at their optimum ability, they need to be used routinely.
- Be mindful of your parents’ habits. If you observe the tv getting a little louder every week, talk to Mom about making a consultation with a hearing professional to see if you can identify a problem.
- Every night before bed, make sure your parents put their hearing aids on the charger (at least in situations where their hearing aids are rechargeable).
Protecting Against Future Health Concerns
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 problems, they may seem a little trivial. But there’s very clear evidence: a multitude of serious health concerns in the future can be avoided by treating hearing issues now.
So when you take a loved one to their hearing consultation, you could be preventing much more costly health conditions in the future. You could head off depression before it starts. And Mom’s risk of dementia in the near future will also be reduced.
For most of us, that’s worth a trip to a hearing professional. It’s also very helpful to remind Mom to use hear hearing aid more regularly. And that hearing aid will make your conversations with her much smoother and more pleasant.