In our experience at HearWell Audiology, some folks are inconsistent with wearing hearing aids all day. This is not entirely uncommon, many times people choose to go without around the house and only use hearing aids when venturing out for dinner or social events. This may seem like a harmless thing to do, however if you are only providing the brain with a full range of sound part of the day you may be selling yourself short.
It is vital for the brain to hear everything going on throughout the day, even sounds that may seem unimportant. While sitting and reading a book you might not realize the sounds going on from the street, the next room, or even right next to you that could help the brain hear better overall. The brain does well with consistency — it becomes used to the sound input happening throughout the day and this is impossible without constant hearing aid use. When the brain has a foundation of basic sounds from your environment, it provides a basis for interpreting more complicated sound scenarios later on.
Wearing hearing aids all day is like lifting weights. You cannot go from not working out to lifting heavy weights — it requires practice with lighter, more manageable weights. Your brain is a muscle! If you go from minimal sounds without hearing aids to trying to listen in on conversations in restaurants with hearing aids the brain will not have the tools it needs to help you hear your best! Wear your hearing devices constantly to build up to more difficult hearing situations.
Similar to lifting weights, if you do not use it you will lose it. It is important to exercise the systems of hearing from your ear to your brain in order to retain the hearing capabilities you have. If you are only wearing hearing aids part of the time, your ability to hear may decrease over time. So use it before you lose it!
Along with losing hearing abilities, the lack of hearing aid use can lead to more serious problems such as dementia. Research has shown the link between untreated hearing loss and an earlier onset of dementia. When you do not wear your hearing aids, the brain has to divert more resources to help with hearing. This diversion of resources often takes away from other areas of the brain, leading to the weakening of those areas. This can effect the brain’s ability to remember and comprehend, leading to a possible early onset of dementia. You can help not only your hearing but also your brain by wearing your hearing aids constantly!
A great way to help you wear your hearing aids all the time is to make a habit of it. The morning can be relatively quiet time of day so it may be more difficult to remember — so set a reminder on your phone or write out a post-it note to help you get in the habit. Get in a routine of washing your face, brushing your teeth, and then putting your hearing aids in. Your brain will thank you!