Hearing aids are meant to be worn daily. But before you recycle your milk containers, you’re supposed to rinse them out too. Sometimes, we don’t do the things we’re supposed to. It’s the same for hearing aids. Occasionally we forget to bring them with us. Maybe you even go a day, or a week, or maybe a few weeks (a month?) without using your hearing aids.
That isn’t a very good idea. Because when you don’t use your hearing aids a number of things occur and some things already developing get worse. And, to be honest, most of them are rather bad.
Consequences of Failing to Use Your Hearing Aids
Much of what happens when you don’t use your hearing aids will impact both your hearing health and your social life, each with varying levels of severity and intensity. The effects and consequences of failing to wear your hearing aids could include the following.
Your Level of Hearing Impairment Will Get Worse
Hearing aids are amazing devices. They improve your ability to hear and help keep your auditory complex (the region of the brain that interprets sound) running efficiently.
You could damage your hearing even more if, instead of wearing your hearing aids, you begin cranking up the volume on your devices even higher than they already are. Even if you aren’t raising the volume, the lack of sensory input leads to problems with your brain. (It actually shrinks.) So you’ll most likely end up needing more powerful hearing aids in the future if you fail to use your current pair because your hearing will continue to get worse.
Social Engagement Will Become More Challenging (And Less Frequent)
You know when you go to the store and you get into a short conversation with the cashier? They’re pleasant, we think. A nice little bit of humanity in a technological world.
When you don’t use your hearing aids, these basic social connections can suddenly be a lot more difficult. You have to ask the cashier to repeat what they said. Over and over. And once that happens, the conversation just quickly falls apart. That may not sound serious but every time a situation like this happens, you will tend to withdraw socially more and more. And that can result in even bigger issues.
Cognitive Decline And Hearing Aids
When you separate yourself socially, your brain gets much less exercise. After you have a pleasant conversation with your family, think about how invigorated (or exhausted) you can feel. Without that exercise, particular mental processes can start to decline (or decline faster). This could mean:
- Memory problems
- Balance troubles
- Declines in energy or productivity
But that’s not the entire picture. Because there are certain parts of your brain and nervous system that need to hear sounds. Your auditory complex begins to atrophy when certain nerves begin to deteriorate from lack of stimulation. This can lead to an even more rapid mental decline (or, even in the best-case scenario, make adjusting to your hearing aids even more challenging).
Hearing aids keep your brain active, stimulated, and happy (for the most part).
Losing The Ability to be Independent
Needing a little more help, as you get older, is not uncommon. Maybe you ask a family member to go shopping for you or a neighbor to do some yard work. You are probably speeding up your loss of independence if you’re not using your hearing aids.
When you don’t use your hearing aids, it can rapidly become more difficult to answer the phone or talk with your neighbor. You could miss important weather alerts. Maybe you don’t hear your cat meowing at night for food or your dog barking at someone knocking on your door.
What’s The Solution?
Using a hearing aid is not going to solve all of life’s problems, regardless of how technologically inventive those little devices become. But many of the problems associated with failing to wear your hearing aid can be resolved.
You need to come see us for help if you’re having issues with your hearing aids or if they’re not comfortable.
It’s worth taking some time to think about what the consequences will be if you avoid wearing your hearing aids and also what the advantages of wearing them might be.