Hearing aids are meant to be used daily. But you’re also supposed to rinse out your milk jugs before recycling them. We don’t always do what we’re supposed to. So yeah, you forget to take 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 isn’t a really smart idea. Because when you don’t use your hearing aids numerous things happen and some things already developing get worse. And, to be honest, most of them are kind of negative.
Effects And Repercussions of Not Using Your Hearing Aids
Much of what happens when you don’t use your hearing aids will impact both your hearing health and your social life, each with varying levels of severity and intensity. The effects and repercussions of neglecting to use your hearing aids could include the following.
Your Hearing Will Keep Diminishing
The technology of hearing aids is fairly remarkable. Not only do they let you hear sounds that you otherwise wouldn’t have, but they also keep your auditory complex working efficiently (that’s the region of your brain responsible for the interpretation of sounds).
You might damage your hearing even more if, instead of using your hearing aids, you start cranking the volume up on your devices even louder than they already are. Even if you’re not raising the volume, the missing sensory input contributes to issues 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).
Social Engagement Will Become More Challenging (And Less Frequent)
You know when you go to the store and you get into a short discussion with the cashier? Those conversations are nice. A nice little touch of humanity in a technological world.
These day-to-day social interactions suddenly become very hard when you don’t use your hearing aids. You have to ask the cashier to repeat himself. Over and over. And once that happens, the conversation just quickly falls apart. Perhaps that sounds trivial, but every bit you withdraw into yourself makes it that much easier for you to completely isolate yourself socially. And that can result in even more substantial problems.
Hearing Aids And Cognitive Decline
Your brain doesn’t get close to as much exercise when you seclude yourself. Think about how revitalized (or exhausted) you can feel after a good chat or an enjoyable evening meal with your family. Without that exercise, particular cognitive processes can begin to decline (or decline faster). This could mean:
- Memory problems
- Declines in energy or productivity
- Balance issues
But that’s not all. Because hearing sound is vitally important to certain parts of your nervous system and brain. Without stimulation, certain nerves will begin to weaken, and your auditory complex begins to atrophy. This can cause an even more accelerated cognitive decline (or, even in the best-case scenario, make adapting to your hearing aids even more difficult).
Hearing aids keep your brain active, stimulated, and happy (for the most part).
Loss of Independence
Needing a little more help, as you age, is not uncommon. Perhaps you ask a neighbor to mow your lawn or ask your daughter to swing by with groceries more often. If you aren’t using your hearing aid, you could be expediting the loss of independence that often comes with aging.
You can miss phone calls or fail to hear parts of conversations with your neighbor when you don’t wear your hearing aids. It’s possible that you will miss important alerts. Maybe you don’t hear your cat meowing for food at night or your dog barking at somebody knocking on your door.
What’s The Solution?
Using a hearing aid is not going to solve all of life’s problems, no matter how technologically innovative those little devices get. But many of the problems connected to failing to wear your hearing aid can be solved.
If you’re having trouble with your hearing aids or if they’re uncomfortable, that’s one thing (and you should talk to us about getting solutions to those specific 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 think about what may be gained by wearing them… and what might happen if you don’t wear your hearing aids.