HEARING TIPS

Primary caretaker of a senior hugging him after making a hearing test appointment.

Do you have a senior over the age of 70 in your care? You have a lot to remember. Bringing a loved one to a heart specialist or setting up an appointment with an oncologist feels like a priority, so you’re not likely to forget anything like that. But there are things that are frequently forgotten because they don’t feel like priorities such as the yearly checkup with a hearing specialist. And those things are a higher priority than you might suspect.

For The Health of a Senior, Hearing is Important

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 beyond your ability to listen to music or communicate. Loss of cognitive abilities and depression are a couple of mental health problems that have been associated with untreated hearing loss.

So you unwittingly increase Mom’s chance of dementia by skipping her hearing appointment. If Mom isn’t able to hear as well now, she could begin to isolate herself; she has dinner by herself in her room, stops going to see movies, and doesn’t go out with her friends.

This sort of social separation can happen very quickly when hearing loss sets in. So mood may not be the reason for the distant behavior you’ve been observing in Dad or Mom. Hearing loss may be the problem. And cognitive decline can eventually be the consequence of that hearing loss (your brain is an organ that has to be exercised or it begins to diminish). So when it comes to a senior parents mental and physical health, recognizing and treating hearing loss is crucial.

Prioritizing Hearing

By now you should be persuaded. You’re taking it as a given that hearing is important and that untreated hearing loss can snowball into other issues. How can you make sure ear care is a priority? Here are various things you can do:

  • Monitor when your parents are using their hearing aids, and see that it’s daily. Consistent hearing aid use can help guarantee that these devices are operating to their optimum capacity.
  • And if you find a senior spending more time at home, canceling out on friends, and separating themselves, the same is true. A trip to come see us can help illuminate the occurrence of any hearing problems.
  • Anyone above the age of 55 or 60 needs to be undergoing a hearing screening every year or so. Be sure that your senior parent has a scheduled appointment for such a screening.
  • Keep an eye on your parents’ behavior. If your parent is slowly turning the volume on their TV up, you can identify the problem by making a consultation with a hearing professional.
  • Every night before bed, make sure your parents recharge their hearing aids (at least in situations where their hearing aids are rechargeable).

Avoiding Future Health Issues

As a caregiver, you already have a lot to do, particularly if you’re part of that all-too-common sandwich generation. And hearing issues can feel somewhat trivial if they aren’t causing immediate friction. But there’s pretty clear evidence: managing hearing ailments now can avoid a multitude of serious problems down the road.

So when you take a loved one to their hearing consultation, you could be avoiding much more costly ailments in the future. Depression could be prevented before it even starts. And Mom’s risk of dementia in the near future will also be reduced.

That’s worth a trip to see a hearing specialist for most of us. And it’s certainly worth a quick reminder to Mom that she should be using her hearing aid more vigilantly. And that hearing aid will make your conversations with her much easier and more pleasant.

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