Hearing aids are meant to be worn daily. But you’re also supposed to rinse 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 occasionally. Maybe you even go a day, or a week, or maybe a few weeks (a month?) without wearing your hearing aids.
That’s not good. Because there are a number of things that happen (or continue to happen) when you don’t use your hearing aids. And, to be honest, the majority of them are rather bad.
Consequences of Neglecting 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 Degree of Hearing Impairment Will Worsen
The technology of hearing aids is pretty amazing. They enhance your ability to hear and help keep your auditory complex (the region of the brain that interprets sound) working efficiently.
If you “forget” to wear your hearing aids and, instead, turn up your TV to an even higher volume, you might be doing additional damage to your hearing. Even if you’re keeping the volumes in check, problems with your brain can result from the lack of sensory input. (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 interactions you have with the cashier as you’re checking out at the supermarket? They’re pleasant, we think. A nice little touch of humanity in a technology-driven world.
These day-to-day social interactions suddenly become very difficult when you don’t wear 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 uncomfortable. That might not sound significant but each time a scenario like this occurs, you will tend to retreat socially more and more. And the outcome can be even more serious.
Hearing Aids And Cognitive Decline
Your brain doesn’t get close to as much exercise when you seclude yourself. 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:
- Memory problems
- Balance troubles
- Declines in energy or productivity
But that’s not the entire picture. Because hearing sound is vitally important to certain regions of your nervous system and brain. Without stimulation, certain nerves will begin to weaken, and your auditory complex starts to atrophy. This can lead to an even more accelerated cognitive decline (or, even in the best-case scenario, make adjusting to your hearing aids even more difficult).
Hearing aids keep your brain engaged, stimulated, and happy (for the most part).
Loss of Independence
It’s not unusual, as you age, to require a bit more help. Maybe you hire 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 expediting the loss of independence that frequently accompanies aging.
When you don’t wear your hearing aids, it can rapidly become harder to answer the phone or have a conversation with your neighbor. It’s possible that you will miss important alerts. Perhaps you fail to hear your dog barking when there’s somebody at the door or your cat meowing in the morning when he’s hungry.
What’s The Solution?
Using a hearing aid won’t solve all of life’s issues, regardless of how technologically inventive those little gadgets become. But many of the problems associated with failing to use your hearing aid can be resolved.
If you’re having trouble with your hearing aids or if they’re not comfortable, that’s one thing (and you should consult 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 leaving 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 wear your hearing aids.