Do you have a senior older than 70 in your care? There’s a lot to take into consideration. You aren’t likely to forget to bring a family member to an oncologist or a heart specialist because those are clear priorities. But there are things that are frequently neglected because they don’t seem like priorities such as the annual 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 a vitally important role. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to numerous physical and mental health issues, such as loss of cognitive ability and depression.
So you inadvertently increase Mom’s risk of dementia by missing her hearing consultation. If Mom isn’t able to hear as well these days, she could start to isolate herself; she eats dinner by herself in her room, stops going to see movies, and doesn’t meet with her friends.
This kind of social isolation can occur very quickly when hearing loss sets in. So if you notice Mom or Dad beginning to become a little distant, it may not be about their mood (yet). Hearing loss might be the problem. And cognitive decline can eventually be the outcome of that hearing loss (your brain is an organ that needs to be exercised or it begins to diminish). So when it comes to a senior parents mental and physical health, identifying and managing hearing loss is essential.
By now you should be convinced. You’re taking it as a given that hearing is crucial and that neglected hearing loss can lead to other issues. How can you make sure ear care is a priority? Here are a few things you can do:
- Help your parents remember to charge their hearing aids every night before they go to sleep (of course that specifically applies to rechargeable devices).
- Don’t forget to observe how your parents are acting. If your parent is slowly turning the volume on their TV up, you can pinpoint the issue by scheduling an appointment with a hearing professional.
- Once a year a hearing screening should be scheduled for anyone above the age of 55. Make sure that your senior parent has a scheduled consultation for such an examination.
- Keep track of when your parents are wearing their hearing aids, and see that it’s daily. Consistent hearing aid use can help ensure that these devices are operating to their optimal efficiency.
- The same is the situation if you find a senior starting to segregate themselves, canceling on friends and spending more time in the house. Any hearing issues can be diagnosed by us when you bring them in.
How to Protect Against Health Problems in The Future
As a caregiver, you already have a lot to deal with, especially if you’re part of that all-too-common sandwich generation. And if hearing problems aren’t causing immediate concerns, they could seem a little trivial. But there’s pretty clear evidence: managing hearing ailments now can prevent a wide range of serious issues in the long run.
So you may be avoiding costly ailments later on in life by taking your loved one to their hearing exam. Depression could be avoided before it even starts. You may even be able to lower Mom’s chance of getting dementia in the near-term future.
That’s worth a trip to see a hearing professional for the majority 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 may just be able to have a pleasant conversation, as well.