Hearing aids are supposed to be used daily. But you’re also supposed to wash out your milk containers before you recycle them. Occasionally, we don’t do the things we’re supposed to. So yeah, you skip taking your hearing aids out of the nightstand drawer occasionally. Perhaps you even go a day, or a week, or possibly a few weeks (a month?) without wearing your hearing aids.
That’s not great. Because when you don’t use your hearing aids a number of things happen and some things already happening get worse. And most of them, honestly, aren’t very good.
Consequences of Neglecting to Wear Your Hearing Aids
There will be consequences of varying degrees of intensity and severity, both to your health and social life, if you fail to use your hearing aid. The effects and consequences of failing to wear your hearing aids could include the following.
Your Hearing Will Continue to Diminish
The technology of hearing aids is pretty remarkable. They improve your ability to hear and help keep your auditory complex (the region of the brain that interprets sound) working efficiently.
You might damage your hearing even more if, instead of using your hearing aids, you start cranking up the volume on your devices even higher than they already are. 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 use your hearing aids, your hearing will most likely keep getting worse (which means you’ll need even more powerful hearing aids in the near future).
Social Engagement Will Become More Stressful (And Less Frequent)
You know those short conversations you have with the cashier as you’re cashing out at the supermarket? Those conversations are nice. A nice little bit of humanity in a technology-driven world.
When you don’t use your hearing aids, these simple social connections can suddenly be much more challenging. You need to ask the cashier to repeat what they said. Over and over. And that’s when the conversation becomes really uncomfortable. Maybe that sounds superficial, but every bit you withdraw into yourself makes it that much easier to entirely seclude yourself socially. And that can cause even more substantial problems.
Hearing Aids And Cognitive Decline
When you seclude yourself socially, your brain gets much less exercise. After you have a pleasant 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:
- Declines in productivity or energy
- Balance issues
- Memory issues
But that’s not all. Because there are particular parts of your brain and nervous system that thrive on hearing sounds. Your auditory complex starts to atrophy when certain nerves begin to deteriorate from lack of stimulus. This can make it harder to get used to your new hearing aids and in the worst case accelerate the mental decline.
Your brain remains happy, stimulated, and active when you use hearing aids.
Losing The Ability to be Independent
Needing a little more help, as you age, is not uncommon. Perhaps you hire a neighbor to mow your lawn or ask your son 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.
You can miss phone calls or lose parts of conversations with your neighbor when you don’t use your hearing aids. It’s possible that you will miss important alerts. Perhaps you don’t hear your dog barking when there’s someone at the door or your cat meowing at 6 am when he needs food.
What’s The Solution?
Using a hearing aid is not going to solve all of life’s problems, regardless of how technologically innovative those little gadgets become. But they will solve many problems connected with not using your hearing aids.
If you’re having problems with your hearing aids or if they’re uncomfortable, that’s one thing (and you should speak with us about getting solutions to those particular problems).
But if you’re looking for reasons to refrain from wearing your hearing aids, if you’re just forgetting them in the nightstand drawer, it’s worth taking some time to reflect on what might be gained by using them… and what could happen if you don’t wear your hearing aids.