Are you the main caretaker for someone older than 70? You have a lot to remember. You’re not likely to forget to take a loved one to an oncologist or a cardiologist because those are clear priorities. But there are things that are commonly overlooked because they don’t feel like priorities such as the yearly checkup with a hearing specialist. And those small 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. Beyond the ability to hear and enjoy music or communicate, your hearing plays an extremely significant role. Depression and loss of cognitive abilities are a couple of mental health issues that have been linked to untreated hearing loss.
So you inadvertently raise Mom’s risk of dementia by missing her hearing appointment. If Mom isn’t capable of hearing as well these days, she could start to separate herself; she stops going to see movies, doesn’t meet with her friends for tea, and has dinner alone in her bedroom.
This type of social isolation can occur very quickly when hearing loss sets in. So if you notice Mom or Dad starting to become a little distant, it may 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 has to be exercised or it begins to decline). So identifying the symptoms of hearing loss, and making certain those signs are treated, is crucial when it comes to your senior parents’ mental and physical health.
How to Make Sure Hearing Will be a Priority
Alright, 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. How can you make sure ear care is a priority? There are a few things you can do:
- Anyone over the age of 55 or 60 needs to be undergoing a hearing screening every year or so. You should help a senior parent make and show up for these appointments.
- Don’t forget to observe how your parents are behaving. If your parent is slowly turning the volume on their television up, you can identify the issue by making a consultation with a hearing professional.
- The same is true if you notice a senior beginning to segregate themselves, canceling on friends and staying inside more. A consultation with us can help illuminate the occurrence of any hearing concerns.
- Each night before bed, make sure your parents recharge their hearing aids (of course that specifically applies to rechargeable devices).
- Keep track of when your parents are using their hearing aids, and see that it’s daily. In order to ensure the hearing aids are functioning at their optimum ability, they need to be used routinely.
How to Avoid 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 hearing concerns can feel rather trivial if they aren’t causing immediate friction. But the evidence is rather clear: a wide range of serious health concerns in the future can be prevented by treating hearing issues now.
So when you take a loved one to their hearing consultation, you could be preventing much more costly ailments down the road. You could stop depression before it begins. And Mom’s chance of dementia in the near future will also be decreased.
That’s worth a trip to see a hearing specialist for the majority of us. And it’s definitely worth a quick reminder to Mom that she should be wearing her hearing aid more diligently. And once that hearing aid is in, you might just be able to have a pleasant conversation, as well.