You’re supposed to use your hearing aids every day. But you’re also supposed to rinse out your milk jugs before you recycle them. Occasionally, we don’t do the things we’re supposed to. It’s the same for hearing aids. Occasionally we forget to take them with us. You might even forget to use it for more than one day.
That isn’t a really good idea. Because there are numerous things that happen (or continue to happen) when you don’t wear your hearing aids. And, to be honest, most of them are rather bad.
Consequences of Forgetting to Wear Your Hearing Aids
There will be repercussions of varying degrees of intensity and severity, both to your health and social life, if you don’t use your hearing aid. The effects and repercussions of failing to use your hearing aids could include the following.
Your Hearing Will Keep Diminishing
The technology of hearing aids is pretty impressive. Not only do they let you 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 interpreting sounds).
If you “forget” to use your hearing aids and, instead, turn up your TV to an even higher volume, you may be doing additional damage to your hearing. Even if you aren’t boosting the volume, the missing 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 continue to get worse (so you’ll need even more powerful hearing aids in the near future).
It Will Become More Challenging to Engage Socially
You know when you go to the store and you get into a short discussion with the cashier? Those conversations are pleasant. A nice little bit of humanity in a technology-driven world.
When you don’t wear your hearing aids, these simple social interactions can suddenly be a lot more difficult. You regularly miss parts of the conversation and have to ask people to repeat what they said. Over and over. And after that, the conversation just quickly becomes strained. Perhaps that sounds trivial, but every bit you withdraw into yourself makes it that much easier for you to completely separate yourself socially. And that can cause even more substantial problems.
Mental Decline And Hearing Aids
When you seclude yourself socially, your brain gets a lot less exercise. Think about how revitalized (or exhausted) you can feel after a good chat or an enjoyable evening dinner with your family. Without that exercise, certain mental processes can start to decline (or decline faster). This could mean:
- Declines in productivity or energy
- Memory problems
- Balance issues
But there’s more. 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 make it harder to adjust to your new hearing aids and in the worst case accelerate the cognitive decline.
Hearing aids keep your brain active, stimulated, and happy (more or less).
Loss of Independence
It’s not unusual, as you age, to need a bit more help. Perhaps you get a family member to go to the store 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 often comes with aging.
You can miss phone calls or lose parts of conversations with your neighbor when you don’t use your hearing aids. You might miss important weather alerts. Maybe you don’t hear your cat meowing at night for food or your dog barking at somebody knocking on your door.
Is There Any Solution?
No matter how technologically advanced hearing aids become, they won’t solve all of life’s issues. 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 talk to us about getting solutions to those specific issues).
It’s worth taking a little time to think about what the repercussions will be if you avoid using your hearing aids and also what the advantages of wearing them might be.