If you have been having problems with your hearing, turning your hearing aids on for the first time can be a wonderful feeling. Like someone living in the dark that finally finds a light, there is just so much to experience. Instead of, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone; you don’t know what’s gone until it is given back to you. That is one reason it is so surprising that many people chose to only wear their hearing aids part-time.
There are many reasons that this is a mistake but here are the three that most concern us as hearing professionals.
1. Further Hearing Loss
Hearing takes place in the brain. The ears simply gather sound waves and convert them into understandable signals. Just like a muscle, the brain requires exercise to continue functioning properly. In other words, use it or lose it.
When you don’t consistently wear your hearing aids, you are depriving your brain of sensory input. It needs this input to stay strong and function properly. Without it, those sections of the brain involved in hearing can atrophy.
2. Other Health Issues
Untreated hearing loss has been tied to a number of other health issues besides those associated with hearing. Just a few of the conditions that uncorrected hearing loss can contribute to are:
- Impaired memory
- Social withdrawal
3. Sensory Overload
One of the amazing things about how we hear is the amount of background filtering our brains do. Without realizing it you are bombarded by sounds all the time. Your mind has simply learned what to ignore and what to react to.
If you only use your hearing aids when say you are going out with friends, you’re not allowing your mind time to establish these filters. This can lead to sensory overload in noisy situations.
You go from a world with a diminished level of sound and enter one of intense noise. This equates to walking out of a dark room into a bright sunshiny day. At best, this can be uncomfortable. At worst it can lead you to not using your hearing aids at all. That brings us back to points one and two.