You’re supposed to wear your hearing aids daily. But before you recycle your milk containers, 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. Sometimes we forget to take 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 there are numerous things that happen (or continue to happen) when you don’t wear your hearing aids. And, honestly, the majority of them are kind of negative.
Consequences of Forgetting to Wear Your Hearing Aids
There will be consequences of varying degrees of intensity and severity, both to your health and social life, if you fail to use your hearing aid. Here are a few of those effects and consequences.
Your Hearing Will Keep Diminishing
Hearing aids are impressive devices. They increase your ability to hear and help keep your auditory complex (the region of the brain that interprets sound) functioning efficiently.
You may damage your hearing even more if, instead of wearing your hearing aids, you start cranking up the volume on your devices even higher than they already are. Even if you aren’t boosting the volume, the missing sensory input leads to issues 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 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 grocery store? They’re pleasant, we think. In a world of technology, these little chats are a touch of humanity.
When you don’t use your hearing aids, these simple social interactions can quickly become much more difficult. You frequently miss parts of the conversation and need to ask people to repeat themselves. Over and over. And that’s when the conversation becomes really awkward. Perhaps that sounds superficial, but every bit you retreat into yourself makes it that much easier for you to completely seclude yourself socially. And that can lead to even bigger issues.
Hearing Aids And Cognitive Decline
Your brain doesn’t get nearly as much exercise when you isolate yourself. Think about how revitalized (or exhausted) you can feel after a good chat or a pleasant evening dinner with your family. Without that exercise, particular mental processes can start to decline (or decline faster). This could mean:
- Declines in productivity or energy
- Memory issues
- Balance issues
But there’s more. Because hearing sound is vitally essential to certain parts of your brain and nervous system. Without stimulation, certain nerves will start to weaken, and your auditory complex starts to atrophy. This can make it more difficult 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 uncommon, as you age, to require a little more help. Perhaps you get a family member to go shopping for you or a neighbor to do some yard work. You are probably to accelerate your loss of independence if you’re not wearing your hearing aids.
You can miss phone calls or fail to hear parts of conversations with your neighbor when you don’t use your hearing aids. You could miss important weather alerts. Maybe you don’t hear your dog barking when there’s somebody at the door or your cat meowing at 6 am when he’s hungry.
Is There Any Solution?
No matter how technologically sophisticated hearing aids get, they won’t resolve all of life’s issues. But many of the problems linked to failing to wear your hearing aid can be resolved.
You should come see us for help if you’re having difficulty with your hearing aids or if they’re uncomfortable.
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 a little time to consider what may be gained by wearing them… and what could happen if you don’t use your hearing aids.
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