Hearing aids are meant to be used daily. But before you recycle your milk jugs, you’re supposed to rinse them out too. We don’t always do what we’re supposed to. The same goes for hearing aids. Occasionally we forget to bring them with us. Maybe 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 there are a number of things that happen (or continue to happen) when you don’t use your hearing aids. And the majority of them, to be honest, aren’t very good.
Consequences of Failing to Wear Your Hearing Aids
There will be repercussions of varying levels of intensity and severity, both to your health and social life, if you don’t use your hearing aid. The effects and repercussions of neglecting to wear your hearing aids could include the following.
Your Hearing Will Keep Diminishing
Hearing aids are impressive devices. Not only do they allow you to hear sounds that you otherwise wouldn’t have, but they also keep your auditory complex running smoothly (that’s the region of your brain responsible for the interpretation of sounds).
You may damage your hearing even more if, instead of using your hearing aids, you begin turning the volume up on your devices even higher than they already are. Even if you’re keeping the volumes under control, problems with your brain can result from the lack of sensory input. (It actually shrinks.) So you will most likely wind up needing more powerful hearing aids in the future if you fail to wear your current pair because your hearing will keep getting worse.
It Will Become More Challenging to Engage Socially
You know those short interactions you have with the cashier as you’re checking out at the supermarket? Those conversations are nice. A nice little touch of humanity in a technological world.
When you don’t use your hearing aids, these basic social connections can quickly become a lot more challenging. You frequently miss parts of the conversation and need to ask people to repeat what they said. Again and again. And after that, the conversation just quickly falls apart. Perhaps that sounds superficial, but every bit you withdraw into yourself makes it that much easier for you to entirely seclude yourself socially. And the consequences can be even more significant.
Hearing Aids And Mental Decline
When you isolate yourself socially, your brain gets a lot less exercise. Think about how invigorated (or exhausted) you can feel after a good conversation or a pleasant evening meal with your family. Without that exercise, certain mental processes can begin to decline (or decline faster). This could mean:
- Balance issues
- Declines in energy or productivity
- Memory problems
But that’s not the entire picture. Because there are particular parts of your brain and nervous system that need to hear sounds. Without stimulation, certain nerves will start to weaken, and your auditory complex starts to atrophy. This can cause an even more accelerated mental decline (or, even in the best-case scenario, make adjusting to your hearing aids even more difficult).
Your brain remains happy, stimulated, and engaged when you use hearing aids.
Losing The Ability to be Independent
It’s not unusual, as you get older, to require a little more help. Maybe 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 often comes with aging.
When you don’t use your hearing aids, it can quickly become harder 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 someone knocking on your door.
Is There Any Solution?
Wearing a hearing aid is not going to solve all of life’s problems, no matter how technologically innovative those little gadgets become. But they will solve many problems related to not using your hearing aids.
If you’re having problems with your hearing aids or if they’re uncomfortable, that’s one thing (and you should speak with us about getting solutions to those particular problems).
It’s worth taking a little time to consider what the repercussions will be if you avoid wearing your hearing aids and also what the benefits of wearing them may be.