Hearing aids are supposed to be worn daily. 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. It’s the same for hearing aids. Occasionally we forget to take them with us. You may even forget to wear it for more than a day.
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 most of them, honestly, aren’t very good.
Consequences of Failing to Wear 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. Here are some of those effects and consequences.
Your Hearing Will Continue to Diminish
The technology of hearing aids is fairly remarkable. Not only do they let you hear sounds that you normally wouldn’t have, but they also keep your auditory complex running smoothly (that’s the part of your brain responsible for the interpretation of sounds).
If you “forget” to use your hearing aids and, instead, turn your TV up to an even louder volume, you may be doing further damage to your hearing. Even if you’re keeping the volumes in check, issues with your brain can result from the lack of sensory stimuli. (It actually shrinks.) So if you don’t use your hearing aids, your hearing will most likely continue to get worse (which means you’ll need even more powerful hearing aids before long).
It Will Become More Difficult to Interact Socially
You know when you go to the market and you get into a short discussion with the cashier? Those conversations are pleasant. In a world of technology, these little chats are a touch of humanity.
When you don’t wear your hearing aids, these simple social interactions can quickly become a lot more challenging. You repeatedly miss parts of the conversation and have to ask people to repeat what they said. Again and again. And that’s when the conversation becomes really awkward. That may not sound serious but every time a situation like this takes place, you will tend to withdraw socially more and more. And the result can be even more significant.
Hearing Aids And Mental Decline
When you seclude yourself socially, your brain gets a lot less exercise. Think about how revitalized (or exhausted) you can feel after a good conversation or an enjoyable evening meal with your family. Certain cognitive functions can begin to decline or decline faster without this exercise. This could mean:
- Balance troubles
- Declines in energy or productivity
- Memory issues
But there’s more. Because there are particular parts of your brain and nervous system that need to hear sounds. Your auditory complex begins to atrophy when certain nerves begin to weaken from lack of stimulus. This can result in an even more accelerated mental decline (or, even in the best-case scenario, make adapting to your hearing aids even harder).
Your brain stays happy, stimulated, and engaged when you use hearing aids.
Loss of Independence
Needing a little more help, as you age, is not uncommon. Perhaps you ask a neighbor to mow your lawn or ask your son to swing by with groceries more often. If you aren’t using your hearing aid, you could be speeding up the loss of independence that often accompanies aging.
When you don’t wear your hearing aids, it can quickly become harder to answer the phone or have a conversation with your neighbor. You might miss important weather alerts. Maybe you fail to hear your dog barking when there’s somebody at the door or your cat meowing in the morning when he’s hungry.
Is There Any Solution?
No matter how technologically advanced hearing aids get, they won’t resolve all of life’s problems. But many of the problems linked to failing to wear your hearing aid can be resolved.
If you’re having problems 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 particular issues).
But if you’re looking for reasons to avoid wearing your hearing aids, if you’re just leaving them in the nightstand drawer, it’s worth taking a little time to reflect on what may be gained by using them… and what might happen if you don’t wear your hearing aids.