You’re supposed to wear your hearing aids every day. But you’re also supposed to wash 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 once in a while. 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 there are a number of things that happen (or continue to happen) when you don’t use your hearing aids. And the majority of them, honestly, aren’t good.
Consequences of Neglecting to Wear Your Hearing Aids
Much of what occurs when you fail to wear your hearing aids will affect both your hearing health and your social life, each with varying degrees of severity and intensity. Here are some of those effects and consequences.
Your Hearing Will Continue to Diminish
The technology of hearing aids is rather impressive. They improve 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, turn up your TV to an even louder volume, you could be doing additional damage to your hearing. Even if you’re not boosting the volume, the lack of sensory input results in issues with your brain. (It actually shrinks.) So you will most likely wind up needing more powerful hearing aids in the future if you fail to use your current pair because your hearing will keep getting worse.
Social Engagement Will Become More Challenging (And Less Consistent)
You know when you go to the market and you get into a short conversation with the cashier? They’re pleasant, we think. In a world of technology, these little chats are a touch of humanity.
These day-to-day social interactions suddenly become really hard when you don’t wear your hearing aids. You frequently miss parts of the conversation and need to ask people to repeat themselves. Over and over. And that’s when the conversation becomes really awkward. That might not sound significant but every time a scenario like this happens, you will tend to disengage socially more and more. And the consequences can be even more significant.
Cognitive Decline And Hearing Aids
When you separate yourself socially, your brain gets a lot less exercise. Think about how invigorated (or exhausted) you can feel after a good chat or a pleasant evening dinner with your family. Without that exercise, certain mental processes can start to decline (or decline faster). This could mean:
- Declines in energy or productivity
- Balance issues
- Memory issues
But that’s not the entire picture. Because there are certain 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 stimulation. This can cause an even more accelerated cognitive decline (or, even in the best-case scenario, make adapting to your hearing aids even more challenging).
Your brain stays happy, stimulated, and active when you use hearing aids.
Losing The Ability to be Independent
It’s not uncommon, as you get older, to require a little more help. Perhaps you ask a family member to go to the store for you or a neighbor to do some yard work. You are likely speeding up your loss of independence if you’re not using your hearing aids.
You can miss phone calls or lose parts of conversations with your neighbor when you don’t wear your hearing aids. It’s possible that you will miss important alerts. Perhaps you fail to hear your dog barking when there’s someone at the door or your cat meowing at 6 am when he’s hungry.
Is There Any Solution?
No matter how technologically sophisticated hearing aids get, they won’t solve all of life’s issues. But they will solve many problems associated with not using your hearing aids.
If you’re having issues 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 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 a little time to think about what may be gained by wearing them… and what could happen if you don’t use your hearing aids.