Do you have a senior over the age of 70 in your care? There’s a lot to keep in mind. You aren’t likely to forget to bring a family member 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 things are a bigger priority than you might think.
For The Health of a Senior, Hearing is Essential
More and more published research has echoed one surprising truth: your hearing is vitally important. Additionally, your hearing is critical in a way that goes further than your capacity to listen to music or communicate. Loss of cognitive abilities and depression are a couple of mental health issues that have been associated with untreated hearing loss.
So when you miss Mom’s hearing appointment, you may unwittingly be increasing her chances of developing these issues, including dementia. Mom might begin to separate herself if she isn’t hearing well these days; she eats dinner by herself in her room, stops going to see movies, and doesn’t meet with her friends.
This type of social separation can occur very quickly when hearing loss sets in. So if you find Mom or Dad starting to get a little distant, it may not have anything to do with their mood (yet). It could be their hearing. And cognitive decline can eventually be the result of that hearing loss (your brain is an organ that needs to be exercised or it begins to decline). So noticing the symptoms of hearing loss, and making sure those signs are addressed, is essential with regards to your senior parents’ mental and physical health.
How to Ensure Hearing Will be a Priority
Alright, we’ve persuaded you. You’re taking it as a given that hearing is important and that neglected hearing loss can snowball into other problems. How can you make sure ear care is a priority? There are a few things you can do:
- Be mindful of your parents’ behavior. If your parent is gradually turning the volume on their TV up, you can determine the problem by making a consultation with a hearing professional.
- The same is true if you notice a senior starting to segregate themselves, canceling on friends and spending more time in the house. Any hearing difficulties can be diagnosed by us when you bring them in.
- Advise your parents to use their hearing aids each day. In order to ensure the hearing aids are functioning at their optimal ability, they need to be used consistently.
- Every night before bed, make sure your parents put their hearing aids on the charger (at least in cases where their hearing aids are rechargeable).
- Once a year a hearing screening needs to be scheduled for everybody above the age of 55. Ensure that your senior parent has a scheduled consultation for such a screening.
Protecting Against Future Health Issues
Being a caregiver probably isn’t your only job so you likely have a lot to deal with. And hearing problems can feel somewhat trivial if they aren’t causing immediate stress. But there’s very clear evidence: dealing with hearing ailments now can prevent a wide range of serious problems in the long run.
So you could be preventing costly health conditions in the future by taking your loved one to their hearing exam. Depression could be eliminated before it even starts. And Mom’s risk of dementia in the near future will also be lessened.
That’s worth a trip to see a hearing professional for most of us. It’s also really 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, too.