Hearing aids are supposed to be used daily. But before you recycle your milk containers, you’re supposed to wash them out too. Occasionally, we don’t do the things we’re supposed to. It’s the same 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 wearing your hearing aids.
That’s not great. Because when you don’t wear your hearing aids several things occur and some things already happening get worse. And, honestly, the majority of them are rather bad.
Consequences of Failing to Use Your Hearing Aids
Much of what happens when you fail to wear your hearing aids will impact both your hearing health and your social life, each with varying degrees of severity and intensity. Here are some of those effects and repercussions.
Your Level of Hearing Impairment Will Get Worse
Hearing aids are amazing gadgets. They enhance your ability to hear and help keep your auditory complex (the region of the brain that interprets sound) running efficiently.
If you “forget” to use your hearing aids and, instead, turn up your TV to an even higher volume, you could be doing further damage to your hearing. Even if you aren’t boosting the volume, the lack of sensory input results in issues with your brain. (It actually shrinks.) So you will probably wind up needing more powerful hearing aids in the future if you fail to wear your current pair because your hearing will continue to get worse.
Social Interactions Will Become More Difficult (And Less Consistent)
You know those short interactions you have with the cashier as you’re checking out at the grocery store? Those conversations are pleasant. In a world of technology, these little talks are a touch of humanity.
When you don’t wear your hearing aids, these basic social interactions can quickly become much more challenging. You regularly miss parts of the conversation and have to ask people to repeat themselves. Over and over. And after that, the conversation just quickly becomes strained. Maybe that sounds superficial, but every bit you retreat into yourself makes it that much easier to entirely separate yourself socially. And that can cause even bigger issues.
Mental Decline And Hearing Aids
When you isolate yourself socially, your brain gets much less exercise. After you have a nice conversation with your family, think about how revitalized (or exhausted) you can feel. Without that exercise, particular cognitive processes can begin to decline (or decline faster). This could mean:
- Memory problems
- Declines in energy or productivity
- Balance issues
But that’s not all. Because hearing sound is vitally important to certain parts of your nervous system and brain. Without stimulation, certain nerves will begin to weaken, and your auditory complex starts to atrophy. This can result in an even more accelerated cognitive decline (or, even in the best-case scenario, make adapting to your hearing aids even more difficult).
Your brain remains happy, stimulated, and engaged when you wear hearing aids.
Loss of Independence
Needing a little more help, as you get older, is not uncommon. Perhaps you ask a neighbor to mow your lawn or ask your daughter to swing by with groceries more often. If you aren’t wearing your hearing aid, you could be expediting the loss of independence that often accompanies aging.
When you don’t use your hearing aids, it can rapidly become more difficult to answer the phone or talk with your neighbor. It’s possible that you will miss important alerts. Perhaps you don’t hear your cat meowing at night for food or your dog barking at somebody ringing your doorbell.
What’s The Solution?
Using a hearing aid is not going to solve all of life’s issues, regardless of how technologically innovative those little gadgets get. But many of the problems linked to failing to wear your hearing aid can be solved.
If you’re having trouble with your hearing aids or if they’re not comfortable, that’s one thing (and you should speak with us about getting solutions to those specific issues).
But if you’re looking for reasons to refrain from wearing your hearing aids, if you’re just leaving them in the nightstand drawer, it’s worth taking some time to think about what could be gained by using them… and what might happen if you don’t wear your hearing aids.