Do you have a senior over the age of 70 in your care? There’s a lot to take into consideration. Taking a relative to a heart specialist or scheduling an appointment with an oncologist feels like a priority, so you’re not likely to forget anything like that. What slips through the cracks, however, are the little things, like the annual examination with a hearing professional or making sure Dad’s hearing aids are charged. And those things are a bigger priority than you might think.
The Importance 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 an extremely important role. Untreated hearing loss has been linked to numerous mental and physical health issues, including depression and loss of cognitive abilities.
So you unwittingly raise Mom’s risk of dementia by missing her hearing appointment. Mom could begin to separate herself if she isn’t hearing well these days; she eats dinner by herself in her room, stops going to movies, and doesn’t go out with her friends.
When hearing loss sets in, this kind of social separation happens very quickly. So mood may not be the reason for the distant behavior you’ve been observing in Mom or Dad. It may be their hearing. And cognitive decline can ultimately be the consequence of that hearing loss (your brain is an organ that has to be exercised or it begins to decline). So with regards to a senior parents physical and mental health, recognizing and dealing with hearing loss is essential.
How to Make Sure Hearing Will be a Priority
Okay, we’ve convinced you. You now realize that untreated hearing loss can lead to several health issues and that you need to take hearing seriously. What measures should you take to make hearing a priority? There are a couple of things you can do:
- Keep an eye on your parents’ behavior. If you notice the tv getting somewhat louder every week, talk to Mom about schedule a consultation with a hearing professional to see if you can pinpoint a problem.
- Advise your parents to wear their hearing aids each day. So that you can ensure the hearing aids are operating at their optimal ability, they need to be used consistently.
- Each night before bed, make sure your parents recharge their hearing aids (of course that exclusively applies to rechargeable devices).
- Anyone over the age of 55 or 60 needs to be undergoing a hearing screening once per year or so. Be certain that your senior parent has a scheduled consultation for such a screening.
- The same is the situation if you find a senior starting to isolate themselves, canceling on friends and staying inside more. A consultation with us can help shed light on the occurrence of any hearing concerns.
How to Prevent Health Problems in The Future
Being a caregiver probably isn’t your only job so you likely have a lot on your plate. And if hearing concerns aren’t causing immediate issues, they may seem a little trivial. But the evidence is pretty clear: treating hearing conditions now can avoid a wide range of serious problems in the long run.
So you may be preventing costly illnesses down the road by taking your loved one to their hearing appointment. You could head off depression before it begins. You could even be able to decrease Mom’s chance of developing dementia in the near-term future.
That’s worth a trip to see a hearing professional for the majority of us. It’s also very helpful to prompt Mom to use hear hearing aid more frequently. And when that hearing aid is in, you may just be able to have a pleasant conversation, as well.