Hearing aids are supposed to be used daily. But you’re also supposed to rinse out your milk containers before recycling them. We don’t always do what we’re supposed to. So yeah, you skip taking your hearing aids out of their storage container occasionally. Perhaps you even go a day, or a week, or maybe a few weeks (a month?) without using your hearing aids.
That isn’t a really good idea. Because when you don’t wear your hearing aids numerous things happen and some things already happening get worse. And, honestly, most of them are rather bad.
Consequences of Neglecting to Use Your 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 degrees of severity and intensity. The effects and consequences of neglecting to use your hearing aids could include the following.
Your Degree of Hearing Loss Will Worsen
Hearing aids are remarkable gadgets. They improve your ability to hear and help keep your auditory complex (the region of the brain that interprets sound) working efficiently.
If you “forget” to use your hearing aids and, instead, turn up your TV to an even louder volume, you might be doing additional damage to your hearing. Even if you’re not increasing the volume, the lack of 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 keep getting worse (so you’ll need even more powerful hearing aids before long).
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? They’re pleasant, we think. In a world dominated by technology, these little chats are a touch of humanity.
These day-to-day social connections suddenly become very difficult when you don’t wear your hearing aids. You need to ask the cashier to repeat himself. Over and over. And that’s when the conversation becomes really uncomfortable. That might not sound serious but every time a scenario like this takes place, you will tend to withdraw socially more and more. And the outcome can be even more serious.
Hearing Aids And Cognitive Decline
When you isolate yourself socially, your brain gets much less exercise. After you have a nice conversation with your family, think about how invigorated (or exhausted) you can feel. Certain cognitive functions can begin to decline or decline faster without this exercise. This could mean:
- Memory problems
- Declines in productivity or energy
- Balance troubles
But that’s not the entire picture. Because there are certain parts of your brain and nervous system that need to hear sounds. Your auditory complex starts to atrophy when certain nerves begin to weaken from lack of stimulus. This can make it more difficult to adapt to your new hearing aids and in the worst case speed up mental decline.
Your brain remains happy, stimulated, and active when you wear hearing aids.
Losing The Ability to be Independent
It’s not uncommon, as you age, to need a bit more help. Maybe you hire a neighbor to mow your lawn or ask your daughter 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 frequently 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. You could miss important weather alerts. Perhaps you don’t hear your dog barking when there’s someone at the door or your cat meowing in the morning when he needs food.
Is There Any Solution?
Using a hearing aid won’t solve all of life’s problems, regardless of how technologically inventive those little gadgets become. But many of the problems linked to failing to use your hearing aid can be resolved.
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 issues).
But if you’re looking for reasons to avoid using your hearing aids, if you’re just leaving them in the nightstand drawer, it’s worth taking some time to consider what may be gained by using them… and what could happen if you don’t wear your hearing aids.