You’re supposed to use your hearing aids every day. But before you recycle your milk jugs, 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 take them with us. Maybe you even go a day, or a week, or possibly a few weeks (a month?) without wearing your hearing aids.
That isn’t a very smart idea. Because there are numerous things that happen (or continue to happen) when you don’t use your hearing aids. And most of them, to be honest, aren’t good.
Effects And Repercussions of Going Without Hearing Aids
Much of what happens when you don’t use your hearing aids will impact both your hearing health and your social life, each with varying degrees of severity and intensity. Here are some of those effects and repercussions.
Your Hearing Will Continue to Diminish
Hearing aids are remarkable gadgets. Not only do they allow you to 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 wear your hearing aids and, instead, turn up your TV to an even louder volume, you might be doing further damage to your hearing. Even if you aren’t 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 likely continue to get worse (so you’ll need even more powerful hearing aids before long).
Social Engagement Will Become More Challenging (And Less Consistent)
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 dominated by technology, these little talks are a touch of humanity.
These everyday social interactions suddenly become really difficult when you don’t wear your hearing aids. You frequently miss parts of the conversation and need to ask people to repeat what they said. Again and again. And that’s when the conversation becomes really uncomfortable. That might not sound significant but every time a situation like this happens, you will tend to disengage socially more and more. And that can result in even more substantial problems.
Hearing Aids And Mental Decline
When you isolate yourself socially, your brain gets much less exercise. After you have a nice conversation with your family, think about how revitalized (or exhausted) you can feel. Certain cognitive functions can begin to decline or decline faster without this exercise. This could mean:
- Memory problems
- Balance issues
- Declines in energy or productivity
But that’s not all. Because there are certain parts of your brain and nervous system that thrive on hearing sounds. Without stimulation, certain nerves will begin to weaken, and your auditory complex begins to atrophy. This can cause an even more rapid mental decline (or, even in the best-case scenario, make adjusting to your hearing aids even harder).
Your brain stays happy, stimulated, and active when you wear hearing aids.
Losing The Ability to be Independent
It’s not uncommon, as you get older, to require a little more help. Perhaps you ask a neighbor to mow your lawn or ask your daughter to swing by with supplies more often. You are probably speeding up your loss of independence if you’re not using your hearing aids.
You can miss phone calls or fail to hear parts of conversations with your neighbor when you don’t wear your hearing aids. It’s possible that you will miss important alerts. Maybe you don’t hear your dog barking when there’s somebody at the door or your cat meowing at 6 am when he needs food.
Is There Any Solution?
No matter how technologically sophisticated hearing aids get, they won’t resolve all of life’s problems. But they will solve a lot of the problems connected with not using 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 problems).
But if you’re looking for reasons to avoid using your hearing aids, if you’re just forgetting them in the nightstand drawer, it’s worth taking some time to consider what could be gained by using them… and what could happen if you don’t use your hearing aids.