Hearing loss counts as a chronic health condition. It’s one that many older adults face on some level. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, it’s one that 36 million Americans have. The older you are, the higher the risk.
People often delay treatment until they cannot hear or communicate well with others. People often wait a full decade before seeking hearing aids to help them hear.
Don’t ignore the signs of hearing loss in your parents. Know the signs and understand the common causes of hearing loss. If you seek testing and early treatments, you help your parents avoid many of these risks.
Doctors at John Hopkins completed a 12-year study of dementia and hearing loss. In that study, people with mild hearing loss were twice as likely to have dementia. People with moderate hearing loss were three times more likely. Severe hearing loss increased the risk by 5x.
The belief is that hearing loss causes the brain to degrade at a faster rate. It also impacts social activities, which may also be a factor in dementia.
People who cannot hear have higher rates of depression than others. Signs of depression may not be known to you. Pay attention to your parents’ daily routines. Have they stopped doing the things they enjoy? Are they avoiding social activities? Do they sleep longer or deal with insomnia?
Other signs of depression are appetite changes leading to weight loss or weight gain. Irritability, confusion, and fatigue are also signs.
If your mom or dad cannot hear sounds, they may find it hard to drive safely. Part of safe driving is being able to hear another driver’s horn, police, fire, or ambulance sirens, or the bells at a rail crossing. They also need to be able to listen to their car’s engine and other components to make sure everything is operating correctly.
The final issue with hearing loss is that it can increase the risk of a fall. If your parents can’t hear, they cannot hear their pets coming up behind them on stairs or in the yard. They can’t hear traffic coming up the street.
There’s also the risk of not hearing problems within the home that could cause a fall. If a deck rail, step, or board is giving way, your parent may not notice until it breaks. Hearing loss can keep your mom or dad from hearing a tile crack and loosen. All of which could lead to a fall.
When hearing loss is impacting your parents’ lives, arrange senior care services for the tasks they can’t do on their own. If they cannot hear, they may be unable to drive. They may find it hard to understand what their doctors tell them during appointments. Senior care can help them with those and other struggles that come from hearing loss.
If you or an aging loved one is considering senior care in Orinda, CA, please contact the caring staff at Golden Heart Senior Care of Walnut Creek. (925) 203-3039.