You’re supposed to use your hearing aids every day. But before you recycle your milk jugs, you’re supposed to wash them out too. We don’t always do what we’re supposed to. The same goes for hearing aids. Sometimes we forget to take them with us. Perhaps you even go a day, or a week, or possibly a few weeks (a month?) without using your hearing aids.
That isn’t a very smart idea. Because there are a number of things that happen (or continue to happen) when you don’t use your hearing aids. And, to be honest, the majority of them are kind of bad.
Effects And Consequences of Going Without Hearing Aids
Much of what happens when you fail to use your hearing aids will affect both your hearing health and your social life, each with varying levels of severity and intensity. The effects and repercussions of failing to wear your hearing aids could include the following.
Your Hearing Will Keep Diminishing
Hearing aids are amazing devices. They improve your ability to hear and help keep your auditory complex (the part of the brain that interprets sound) working efficiently.
If you “forget” to wear your hearing aids and, instead, crank up your TV to an even louder volume, you might be doing further damage to your hearing. Even if you’re not increasing the volume, the missing sensory input leads to problems with your brain. (It actually shrinks.) So if you don’t wear your hearing aids, your hearing will most likely continue to get worse (which means you’ll need even more powerful hearing aids in the near future).
It Will Become More Challenging to Engage Socially
You know when you go to the store and you get into a short conversation with the cashier? Those conversations are pleasant. In a world dominated by technology, these little talks are a touch of humanity.
When you don’t wear your hearing aids, these simple social connections can quickly become much more difficult. You need to ask the cashier to repeat what they said. Over and over. And that’s when the conversation becomes really uncomfortable. That may not sound significant but every time a situation like this occurs, you will tend to disengage socially more and more. And that can cause even bigger issues.
Cognitive Decline And Hearing Aids
When you separate yourself socially, your brain gets much less exercise. Think about how invigorated (or exhausted) you can feel after a good conversation or a pleasant evening dinner with your family. Certain cognitive functions can begin to decline or decline faster without this exercise. This could mean:
- Balance troubles
- Memory problems
- Declines in productivity or energy
But there’s more. Because there are particular parts of your brain and nervous system that thrive on hearing sounds. Your auditory complex begins to atrophy when certain nerves begin to weaken from lack of stimulation. This can make it harder to get used to your new hearing aids and in the worst case accelerate the mental decline.
Hearing aids keep your brain engaged, stimulated, and happy (more or less).
Losing The Ability to be Independent
It’s not unusual, as you age, to need a bit more help. Perhaps you ask a family member to go shopping for you or a neighbor to do some yard work. If you aren’t wearing your hearing aid, you could be expediting the loss of independence that frequently comes with aging.
You can miss phone calls or lose parts of conversations with your neighbor when you don’t use your hearing aids. It’s possible that you will miss important alerts. Maybe you fail to hear your dog barking when there’s somebody at the door or your cat meowing at 6 am when he needs food.
Is There Any Solution?
No matter how technologically advanced hearing aids get, they won’t resolve all of life’s issues. But many of the problems associated with failing to wear your hearing aid can be resolved.
You should come see us for assistance if you’re having problems with your hearing aids or if they’re uncomfortable.
But if you’re looking for reasons to avoid wearing your hearing aids, if you’re just forgetting them in the nightstand drawer, it’s worth taking some time to reflect on what might be gained by wearing them… and what might happen if you don’t wear your hearing aids.