Do you have a senior over the age of 70 in your care? There’s a lot to take into consideration. You aren’t 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 neglected because they don’t feel like priorities such as the annual checkup with a hearing specialist. And those things are a higher priority than you might suspect.
The Significance of Hearing to Senior Health
More and more published research has echoed one surprising truth: your hearing is vitally important. Beyond the ability to communicate or hear and enjoy music, your hearing plays a vitally significant role. Neglected hearing loss has been connected to several mental and physical health problems, including depression and loss of cognitive abilities.
So you unwittingly increase Mom’s chance of dementia by missing her hearing appointment. Mom might begin to separate herself if she isn’t hearing well these days; she eats dinner alone in her room, stops going to movies, and doesn’t meet with her friends.
When hearing loss sets in, this kind of social separation occurs very quickly. So mood might not be the reason for the distant behavior you’ve been noting in Mom or Dad. It could be their hearing. And cognitive decline can ultimately be the result of that hearing loss (your brain is a very use-it-or-lose-it type of organ). So when it comes to a senior parents physical and mental health, noticing and treating hearing loss is crucial.
Alright, we’ve persuaded you. You now recognize that neglected hearing loss can lead to several health problems and that you need to take hearing seriously. How can you make certain ear care is a priority? There are several things you can do:
- Monitor your parents’ behavior. If you observe the tv getting somewhat louder every week, have a talk with Mom about making a consultation with a hearing professional to see if you can identify a problem.
- Help your parents remember to charge their hearing aids every night before they go to bed (at least in cases where their hearing aids are rechargeable).
- Remind your parents to use their hearing aids every day. Routine use of hearing aids can help ensure that these devices are functioning to their maximum capacity.
- Once a year a hearing screening should be scheduled for anyone over the age of 55. You should help a senior parent schedule and keep these appointments.
- And if you find a senior spending more time at home, backing out on friends, and distancing themselves, the same applies. Any hearing issues can be diagnosed by us when you bring them in.
How to Reduce Health Problems in The Future
As a caregiver, you already have a lot to do, particularly if you’re part of that all-too-common sandwich generation. And hearing concerns can feel somewhat trivial if they aren’t causing immediate worries. But the evidence is pretty clear: a wide range of significant health problems in the future can be prevented by dealing with hearing issues now.
So you could be avoiding costly illnesses later on in life by bringing your loved one to their hearing exam. You could head off depression before it starts. And Mom’s chance of dementia in the near future will also be reduced.
For most of us, that’s worth a trip to a hearing professional. And it’s certainly worth a quick reminder to Mom that she should be wearing her hearing aid more vigilantly. And that hearing aid will make your conversations with her much easier and more enjoyable.