You’re supposed to wear your hearing aids every day. But you’re also supposed to wash out your milk containers before recycling them. We don’t always do what we’re supposed to. So yeah, you skip taking your hearing aids out of the nightstand drawer 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 there are a number of things that happen (or continue to happen) when you don’t wear your hearing aids. And, honestly, most of them are kind of bad.
Consequences of Neglecting to Use Your Hearing Aids
Much of what occurs when you fail to wear your hearing aids will impact both your hearing health and your social life, each with varying levels of severity and intensity. Here are a few of those effects and consequences.
Your Degree of Hearing Impairment Will Get Worse
Hearing aids are amazing gadgets. They increase your ability to hear and help keep your auditory complex (the part of the brain that interprets sound) functioning efficiently.
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 aren’t raising the volume, the lack of sensory input contributes 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).
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 supermarket? They’re enjoyable, we think. A nice little bit of humanity in a technological world.
When you don’t use your hearing aids, these simple social interactions can quickly become much more stressful. You frequently miss parts of the conversation and need to ask people to repeat themselves. Again and again. And once that happens, the conversation just quickly falls apart. Maybe that sounds trivial, but every bit you retreat into yourself makes it that much easier for you to totally seclude yourself socially. And that can lead to even more substantial issues.
Hearing Aids And Mental Decline
When you seclude yourself socially, your brain gets much less exercise. Think about how revitalized (or exhausted) you can feel after a good conversation or an enjoyable evening meal with your family. Certain cognitive functions can begin to decline or decline faster without this exercise. This could mean:
- Balance issues
- Declines in energy or productivity
- Memory issues
But there’s more. Because hearing sound is vitally important to certain regions of your brain and nervous system. Without stimulation, certain nerves will begin to weaken, and your auditory complex begins to atrophy. This can cause an even more accelerated mental decline (or, even in the best-case scenario, make adapting to your hearing aids even harder).
Hearing aids keep your brain active, stimulated, and happy (for the most part).
Losing The Ability to be Independent
Needing a little more help, as you get older, is not uncommon. Perhaps you ask a neighbor to mow your lawn or ask your daughter to swing by with supplies more often. 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 use 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 somebody ringing your doorbell.
Is There Any Solution?
Wearing a hearing aid won’t solve all of life’s issues, no matter how technologically innovative those little gadgets get. But they will solve many problems connected with not using your hearing aids.
You should come see us for assistance if you’re having problems with your hearing aids or if they are uncomfortable.
But if you’re looking for reasons to refrain from wearing your hearing aids, if you’re just leaving them in the nightstand drawer, it’s worth taking a little time to consider what may be gained by wearing them… and what could happen if you don’t use your hearing aids.