You’re supposed to wear your hearing aids daily. But you’re also supposed to wash out your milk jugs before you recycle them. We don’t always do what we’re supposed to. So yeah, you forget to take your hearing aids out of their storage container now and then. Perhaps you even go a day, or a week, or maybe a few weeks (a month?) without using your hearing aids.
That’s not great. Because when you don’t use your hearing aids numerous things happen and some things already developing get worse. And the majority of them, honestly, aren’t very good.
Consequences of Failing to Wear Your Hearing Aids
Much of what occurs when you fail to use your hearing aids will impact both your hearing health and your social life, each with varying degrees of severity and intensity. The effects and repercussions of failing to use your hearing aids could include the following.
Your Hearing Will Continue to Diminish
Hearing aids are impressive gadgets. They improve your ability to hear and help keep your auditory complex (the region of the brain that interprets sound) functioning efficiently.
You might damage your hearing even more if, instead of wearing your hearing aids, you start turning up the volume on your devices even higher than they already are. Even if you’re not boosting the volume, the missing sensory input results in problems with your brain. (It actually shrinks.) So if you don’t wear your hearing aids, your hearing will likely continue to get worse (which means you’ll need even more powerful hearing aids in the near future).
It Will Become More Difficult to Engage Socially
You know those short conversations 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 wear your hearing aids, these simple social connections can suddenly be a lot more challenging. You frequently miss parts of the conversation and have to ask people to repeat what they said. Again and again. And once that happens, the conversation just quickly becomes strained. That may not sound serious but each time a situation like this occurs, you will tend to disengage socially more and more. And that can cause even bigger issues.
Mental Decline And Hearing Aids
When you seclude yourself socially, your brain gets a lot less exercise. After you have a pleasant conversation with your family, think about how revitalized (or exhausted) you can feel. Without that exercise, particular mental processes can start to decline (or decline faster). This could mean:
- Memory issues
- Declines in energy or productivity
- Balance troubles
But that’s not all. Because there are certain 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 stimulation. This can make it more difficult to get used to your new hearing aids and in the worst case accelerate the cognitive decline.
Your brain remains happy, stimulated, and engaged when you use hearing aids.
Losing The Ability to be Independent
It’s not unusual, as you get older, to require a little more help. Perhaps you ask a family member to go to the store for you or a neighbor to do some yard work. If you aren’t using your hearing aid, you could be speeding up the loss of independence that frequently accompanies aging.
When you don’t use your hearing aids, it can rapidly become harder to answer the phone or talk with your neighbor. It’s possible that you will miss important alerts. Perhaps you don’t hear your cat meowing at night for food or your dog barking at somebody knocking on your door.
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 a lot of the problems related to not wearing your hearing aids.
If you’re having issues with your hearing aids or if they’re not comfortable, that’s one thing (and you should consult us about finding solutions to those specific issues).
But if you’re looking for reasons to refrain from wearing your hearing aids, if you’re just forgetting them in the nightstand drawer, it’s worth taking some time to reflect on what could be gained by using them… and what might happen if you don’t use your hearing aids.