Time to Read: 7 minutes
A common question we’ve heard over the past couple of months is, “why should I wear my hearing aids, when I don’t go out.”
There are very good reasons why you should wear your hearing aids every day, even when you’re not planning to go out and are not expecting visitors.
Let’s start by explaining what hearing aids are NOT.
Hearing aids are NOT like single lens eyeglasses where you just slip them on and your eyes adjust immediately.
You might compare hearing aids to multi-focal lenses, where your eyes and brain have to get used to the way things look at different focal lengths. That takes time to get used to. Some people report getting headaches and feeling disoriented when trying multi-focal lenses for the first time.
And the same level practice and perseverance applies to wearing hearing aids.
Your ears supply a range of sounds at different volumes and frequencies to your brain which then has to:
- process the sound,
- decide what the sound means, and
- determine whether it is something you need to pay attention to.
A good example is when you buy a new washing machine and you’re aware of all the different sounds it makes. The more you use it, the more you get used to the noises. In the end, your brain instantly recognises your washing machine and ignores what it hears, so you can focus on other things.
If you don’t wear your hearing aids regularly, your brain doesn’t get the opportunity to process sounds and determine whether they represent a danger to you or not.
That means as soon as you put your hearing aids in, your brain is treating all sounds with equal priority. It’s even more demanding on your brain if you only wear your hearing aids when you go out and about. That results in you feeling overwhelmed and tired after only a couple of hours.
Hearing Aid Fitness
Think of your hearing aids like improving your general fitness.
If you don’t make a commitment to spend time each day to actively work on improving your hearing with hearing aids, your on-going ability to effectively hear is compromised.
And there are worse effects on your health and wellbeing to come if you don’t wear your hearing aids on a daily basis.
Not wearing hearing aids daily starts a downward spiral to your hearing ability, health and well-being and cognitive function.
The real question is, can you afford NOT to wear your hearing aids.
Top reasons why you should wear your hearing aids daily
Use it or lose it
If you deny your brain the opportunity to hear a wide range of sounds on a regular basis, your brain ‘forgets’ how to hear that sound and how to process it.
Not wearing hearing aids actually makes your hearing worse over time.
Hear better in noisy environments
As we discussed earlier, your brain has a terrific ability to tune out sounds that are safe to ignore - the sound of the washing machine, the sound of passing traffic when you are inside the house.
Wearing your hearing aids in quiet environments helps train your brain to identify and process competing sounds. The ability becomes incredibly important in a noisy environment. Doing that ‘homework’ in a quiet environment helps you enjoy life in more demanding environments.
Prevent early onset of dementia
There is research coming out on a regular basis that highlights links between hearing loss and cognitive decline.
We have an excellent article here on why you should wear hearing aids if you want to avoid premature dementia.
Better still, exciting news in science shows that improved hearing is positively associated with a reduction in cognitive decline and dementia.
Improve balance and reduce falls
Research from Johns Hopkins University found that even mild hearing loss can increase the risk of falling by three times. With more extensive hearing loss, that risk only increases.
People with hearing loss have reduced awareness of their immediate environment (like not hearing another person approaching). Since hearing loss puts a greater strain on the brain, the increased cognitive load can result in fewer resources to maintain balance and gait.
Improve your mental wellbeing
People with poor hearing withdraw from activities with family and friends because it is too difficult to hear and participate in activities.
Social isolation is strongly linked to depression and other mental illnesses.