Hearing aids are supposed to be worn daily. But you’re also supposed to wash out your milk jugs before you recycle them. Sometimes, we don’t do the things we’re supposed to. So yeah, you skip taking your hearing aids out of their storage container once in a while. Perhaps you even go a day, or a week, or possibly a few weeks (a month?) without wearing your hearing aids.
That’s not good. Because there are several things that happen (or continue to happen) when you don’t wear your hearing aids. And most of them, to be honest, aren’t good.
Effects And Repercussions of Not Using Your Hearing Aids
Much of what happens when you fail to wear your hearing aids will affect both your hearing health and your social life, each with varying levels of severity and intensity. The effects and consequences of failing to wear your hearing aids could include the following.
Your Degree of Hearing Loss Will Worsen
Hearing aids are remarkable devices. Not only do they allow you to hear sounds that you normally wouldn’t have, but they also keep your auditory complex working smoothly (that’s the part of your brain responsible for the interpretation of sounds).
You could 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 aren’t boosting the volume, the missing sensory input leads to 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 Frequent)
You know those short conversations you have with the cashier as you’re cashing out at the grocery store? They’re pleasant, we think. In a world dominated by technology, these little talks are a touch of humanity.
These normal social connections suddenly become very hard when you don’t use your hearing aids. You frequently 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. Maybe that sounds trivial, but every bit you withdraw into yourself makes it that much easier for you to totally separate yourself socially. And that can cause even bigger problems.
Hearing Aids And Cognitive Decline
When you seclude yourself socially, your brain gets a lot less exercise. After you have a nice conversation with your family, think about how invigorated (or exhausted) you can feel. Without that exercise, certain cognitive processes can start to decline (or decline faster). This could mean:
- Declines in energy or productivity
- Balance troubles
- Memory problems
But that’s not all. Because hearing sound is vitally essential to certain regions of your nervous system and brain. Your auditory complex starts to atrophy when certain nerves begin to deteriorate from lack of stimulus. This can result in an even more accelerated cognitive 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 wear hearing aids.
Losing The Ability to be Independent
Needing a bit more help, as you age, is not uncommon. Maybe you ask a family member to go to the store 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 frequently accompanies aging.
You can miss phone calls or lose parts of conversations with your neighbor when you don’t use your hearing aids. It’s possible that you will miss important alerts. Maybe you don’t hear your cat meowing at night for food or your dog barking at somebody ringing your doorbell.
Is There Any Solution?
Using a hearing aid is not going to solve all of life’s issues, no matter how technologically innovative those little devices become. 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 uncomfortable, that’s one thing (and you should consult us about finding solutions to those specific issues).
It’s worth taking some time to think about what the consequences will be if you avoid wearing your hearing aids and also what the benefits of using them may be.