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. So yeah, you skip taking your hearing aids out of their storage container once in a while. Maybe you even go a day, or a week, or maybe a few weeks (a month?) without using your hearing aids.
That’s not good. Because there are numerous 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 Use Your Hearing Aids
There will be consequences of varying levels of intensity and severity, both to your health and social life, if you fail to wear your hearing aid. The effects and repercussions of failing to use your hearing aids could include the following.
Your Degree of Hearing Impairment Will Get Worse
Hearing aids are impressive gadgets. They enhance your ability to hear and help keep your auditory complex (the region of the brain that interprets sound) running efficiently.
If you “forget” to use your hearing aids and, instead, crank your TV up to an even louder volume, you might be doing further damage to your hearing. Even if you’re not raising the volume, the missing 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).
Social Engagement Will Become More Challenging (And Less Frequent)
You know when you go to the store and you get into a short discussion with the cashier? They’re enjoyable, we think. In a world of technology, these little chats are a touch of humanity.
These everyday social connections suddenly become really hard when you don’t wear your hearing aids. You have to ask the cashier to repeat himself. Over and over. And after that, the conversation just quickly falls apart. That may not sound serious but every time a scenario like this occurs, you will tend to disengage socially more and more. And that can result in even more substantial issues.
Hearing Aids And Mental Decline
When you separate yourself socially, your brain gets a lot less exercise. After you have a pleasant 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 issues
- Declines in energy or productivity
- Balance issues
But that’s not the entire picture. 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 weaken from lack of stimulus. This can result in an even more rapid cognitive decline (or, even in the best-case scenario, make adapting to your hearing aids even more difficult).
Your brain stays happy, stimulated, and active when you wear hearing aids.
Losing The Ability to be Independent
Needing a bit more help, as you get older, is not abnormal. Perhaps you hire a neighbor to mow your lawn or ask your daughter to swing by with groceries more often. You are probably to accelerate your loss of independence if you’re not using your hearing aids.
You can miss phone calls or lose parts of conversations with your neighbor when you don’t wear 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 in the morning when he’s hungry.
Is There Any Solution?
Using a hearing aid won’t solve all of life’s issues, no matter how technologically innovative those little devices become. But many of the problems connected to failing to wear your hearing aid can be solved.
If you’re having trouble 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 specific 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 a little time to reflect on what might be gained by wearing them… and what might happen if you don’t use your hearing aids.