You’re supposed to wear your hearing aids daily. But before you recycle your milk containers, you’re supposed to rinse them out too. Sometimes, we don’t do the things 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 wear your hearing aids. And, to be honest, most of them are kind of negative.
Effects And Consequences of Going Without 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 levels of severity and intensity. Here are a few of those effects and repercussions.
Your Hearing Will Keep Diminishing
Hearing aids are remarkable devices. Not only do they allow you to 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 interpreting sounds).
If you “forget” to wear your hearing aids and, instead, turn up your TV to an even louder volume, you may be doing additional damage to your hearing. Even if you’re keeping the volumes under control, problems with your brain can result from the lack of sensory input. (It actually shrinks.) So you will probably end up needing more powerful hearing aids in the future if you fail to wear your current pair because your hearing will continue to get worse.
Social Engagement Will Become More Challenging (And Less Frequent)
You know when you go to the store and you get into a short conversation with the cashier? Those conversations are nice. A nice little touch of humanity in a technological world.
These everyday social interactions suddenly become really difficult when you don’t wear your hearing aids. You regularly miss parts of the conversation and need to ask people to repeat themselves. Again and again. And that’s when the conversation becomes really uncomfortable. Maybe that sounds superficial, but every bit you retreat into yourself makes it that much easier for you to completely isolate yourself socially. And the result can be even more significant.
Hearing Aids And Mental Decline
When you separate yourself socially, your brain gets a lot less exercise. After you have a pleasant conversation with your family, think about how invigorated (or exhausted) you can feel. Without that exercise, certain cognitive processes can begin to decline (or decline faster). This could mean:
- Declines in productivity or energy
- Memory issues
- Balance troubles
But there’s more. Because hearing sound is vitally important to certain parts of your nervous system and brain. Your auditory complex begins to atrophy when certain nerves begin to weaken from lack of stimulus. This can result in an even more rapid mental decline (or, even in the best-case scenario, make adjusting to your hearing aids even more challenging).
Hearing aids keep your brain active, stimulated, and happy (more or less).
Losing The Ability to be Independent
Needing a little more help, as you get older, is not uncommon. Maybe you get a neighbor to mow your lawn or ask your son to swing by with groceries more often. If you aren’t wearing your hearing aid, you could be expediting the loss of independence that frequently comes with aging.
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 don’t hear your cat meowing at night for food or your dog barking at someone knocking on your door.
Is There Any Solution?
No matter how technologically sophisticated hearing aids become, they won’t resolve all of life’s issues. But many of the issues linked to failing to wear your hearing aid can be solved.
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 finding solutions to those specific issues).
It’s worth taking some time to think about what the repercussions will be if you avoid wearing your hearing aids and also what the benefits of using them might be.