You’re supposed to use your hearing aids every day. But before you recycle your milk jugs, you’re supposed to rinse them out too. Sometimes, we don’t do the things we’re supposed to. So yeah, you skip taking your hearing aids out of the nightstand drawer occasionally. You might even forget to use it for more than a day.
That’s not good. Because when you don’t use your hearing aids a number of things occur and some things already developing get worse. And, honestly, most of them are kind of bad.
Consequences of Neglecting to Use 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. Here are some of those effects and consequences.
Your Degree of Hearing Impairment Will Worsen
The technology of hearing aids is rather amazing. Not only do they let you hear sounds that you otherwise 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).
If you “forget” to use your hearing aids and, instead, turn your TV up to an even louder volume, you could be doing additional damage to your hearing. Even if you aren’t boosting the volume, the missing sensory input contributes to issues with your brain. (It actually shrinks.) So you’ll probably end up needing more powerful hearing aids in the future if you fail to use your current pair because your hearing will keep getting worse.
It Will Become More Challenging to Engage Socially
You know those short conversations you have with the cashier as you’re checking out at the grocery store? Those conversations are pleasant. A nice little bit of humanity in a technology-driven world.
These normal social interactions suddenly become really hard when you don’t wear your hearing aids. You need to ask the cashier to repeat himself. Again and again. And once that happens, the conversation just quickly falls apart. That might not sound significant but each time a situation 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 much less exercise. Think about how invigorated (or exhausted) you can feel after a good chat or an enjoyable evening meal with your family. Without that exercise, certain cognitive processes can begin to decline (or decline faster). This could mean:
- Balance troubles
- Memory problems
- Declines in energy or productivity
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 deteriorate from lack of stimulus. This can make it harder to adjust to your new hearing aids and in the worst case speed up cognitive decline.
Hearing aids keep your brain engaged, stimulated, and happy (for the most part).
Loss of Independence
Needing a little more help, as you get older, is not abnormal. Perhaps you hire 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 comes with 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 fail to hear your dog barking when there’s somebody at the door or your cat meowing in the morning when he’s hungry.
What’s The Solution?
No matter how technologically advanced hearing aids become, they won’t resolve all of life’s issues. But they will solve many issues associated with not using your hearing aids.
If you’re having trouble with your hearing aids or if they’re not comfortable, that’s one thing (and you should consult us about finding solutions to those particular issues).
It’s worth taking some time to think about what the consequences will be if you avoid using your hearing aids and also what the benefits of using them might be.