Hearing aids are supposed to be used daily. But before you recycle your milk containers, you’re supposed to wash them out too. Sometimes, we don’t do the things we’re supposed to. It’s the same for hearing aids. Sometimes we forget to bring them with us. Maybe 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 there are several things that happen (or continue to happen) when you don’t use your hearing aids. And the majority of them, honestly, aren’t very good.
Consequences of Forgetting 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 levels of severity and intensity. Here are some of those effects and consequences.
Your Hearing Will Continue to Diminish
The technology of hearing aids is rather impressive. Not only do they let you hear sounds that you otherwise wouldn’t have, but they also keep your auditory complex running smoothly (that’s the part of your brain responsible for interpreting sounds).
If you “forget” to wear your hearing aids and, instead, crank up your TV to an even louder volume, you may be doing additional damage to your hearing. Even if you’re keeping the volumes in check, issues with your brain can result from missing sensory input. (It actually shrinks.) So you will most likely wind 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 Difficult 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 technological world.
These everyday social interactions suddenly become very difficult when you don’t use your hearing aids. You repeatedly miss parts of the conversation and need to ask people to repeat what they said. Again and again. And after that, the conversation just quickly falls apart. That may not sound serious but every time a situation like this occurs, you will tend to withdraw socially more and more. And the consequences can be even more serious.
Hearing Aids And Mental Decline
When you isolate 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. Certain cognitive functions can begin to decline or decline faster without this exercise. This could mean:
- Declines in energy or productivity
- Memory issues
- 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 begins to atrophy when certain nerves begin to deteriorate from lack of stimulation. This can lead to an even more rapid cognitive decline (or, even in the best-case scenario, make adjusting to your hearing aids even more difficult).
Hearing aids keep your brain active, stimulated, and happy (for the most part).
Losing The Ability to be Independent
Needing a bit more help, as you age, is not abnormal. Perhaps you ask a family member to go shopping 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.
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 cat meowing for food at night or your dog barking at someone ringing your doorbell.
Is There Any Solution?
Using a hearing aid won’t solve all of life’s problems, no matter how technologically innovative those little devices become. But many of the problems connected to failing to use your hearing aid can be resolved.
You should come see us for assistance if you’re having difficulty with your hearing aids or if they are uncomfortable.
But if you’re looking for reasons to avoid wearing your hearing aids, if you’re just forgetting them in the nightstand drawer, it’s worth taking a little time to consider what could be gained by using them… and what might happen if you don’t use your hearing aids.