You’re supposed to wear 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. The same goes for hearing aids. Occasionally we forget to take 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 isn’t a very smart idea. Because when you don’t use your hearing aids numerous things occur and some things already developing get worse. And, to be honest, the majority of them are kind of negative.
Effects And Consequences of Not Using Your Hearing Aids
Much of what occurs when you don’t use your hearing aids will affect 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 amazing gadgets. They increase your ability to hear and help keep your auditory complex (the part of the brain that interprets sound) working efficiently.
If you “forget” to wear your hearing aids and, instead, crank up your TV to an even higher volume, you could be doing additional damage to your hearing. Even if you aren’t increasing the volume, the missing sensory input results in problems with your brain. (It actually shrinks.) So if you don’t use your hearing aids, your hearing will most likely keep getting worse (which means you’ll need even more powerful hearing aids before long).
Social Interactions Will Become More Stressful (And Less Consistent)
You know those short conversations you have with the cashier as you’re cashing out at the grocery store? Those conversations are nice. In a world of technology, these little talks are a touch of humanity.
These day-to-day social interactions suddenly become very hard when you don’t use your hearing aids. You regularly 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 awkward. That may not sound serious but every time a scenario like this happens, you will tend to retreat socially more and more. And the consequences can be even more significant.
Hearing Aids And Cognitive Decline
When you isolate yourself socially, your brain gets a lot less exercise. After you have a pleasant 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:
- Balance issues
- Declines in productivity or energy
- Memory problems
But that’s not the entire picture. Because hearing sound is vitally essential to certain parts of your brain and nervous system. Your auditory complex begins to atrophy when certain nerves begin to weaken from lack of stimulation. This can lead to an even more rapid mental decline (or, even in the best-case scenario, make adjusting to your hearing aids even more challenging).
Hearing aids keep your brain engaged, stimulated, and happy (more or less).
Losing The Ability to be Independent
Needing a bit more help, as you age, is not uncommon. Perhaps you ask a neighbor to mow your lawn or ask your son to swing by with supplies more often. If you aren’t wearing your hearing aid, you could be expediting the loss of independence that frequently accompanies aging.
When you don’t wear your hearing aids, it can quickly become harder to answer the phone or talk with your neighbor. You could miss important weather alerts. Maybe you don’t hear your cat meowing at night for food or your dog barking at someone knocking on your door.
Is There Any Solution?
No matter how technologically advanced hearing aids get, they won’t solve all of life’s issues. But many of the problems associated with failing to wear your hearing aid can be solved.
If you’re having issues with your hearing aids or if they’re uncomfortable, that’s one thing (and you should talk to us about getting solutions to those particular issues).
But if you’re looking for reasons to refrain from using your hearing aids, if you’re just forgetting them in the nightstand drawer, it’s worth taking a little time to consider what might be gained by using them… and what could happen if you don’t wear your hearing aids.