Why It’s Important To Wear Your Hearing Aids All DayNov 15, 2016
Many people wear their hearing aids only when they go out to dinner, or for certain events or occasions. But it’s important for your brain to receive a wide variety of sounds all day long. Here’s why.
A new patient told me this recently, and it’s a phrase I hear too often when I meet with hearing aid users. I try to educate my patients that it is important to wear your hearing aids all day because it gives the brain a foundation of sound in all the environments you live in. The quiet environments are not silent, and the brain will become accustomed to this sound input (which it doesn’t receive when you don’t wear your hearing aids). Having this foundation of sound prepares the brain and provides a good basis to transition into more complicated sounds.
Helps To Hear In Noisier Environments
Being able to hear all the words in the conversation in noisier places is what people look for most from their hearing devices. By wearing your hearing devices all day, you will be rewarded with maximum benefit when you have conversations in more complicated listening settings, whether it is in a restaurant, the car, or a party full of people.
Use It Or Lose It
Like most things, the brain works on a “use it or lose it” basis. So if the brain is not used to hearing - and processing - certain sounds (or frequencies of sound), the ability to hear those sounds becomes increasingly diminished over time. By not wearing your hearing aids, you are denying your brain the opportunity to process those sounds, which can lead to further deterioration of your hearing.
Prevent Early Onset of Dementia
Research has linked untreated hearing loss with an earlier onset of dementia. When your hearing is impaired (by not wearing your hearing aids), your brain needs to work harder and use resources that are usually devoted to memory and comprehension, simply to hear. As a result, your memory and comprehension become compromised, and by the same “use it or lose it” principle described above, these abilities become weaker and weaker over time. This can result in an earlier onset of dementia － which can be prevented by wearing your hearing aids as much as possible.
Make It A Morning Habit
People are creatures of habit. We are not in the habit of making our ears ready for the day, except for a nice pair of earrings, as we never actually turn our natural ears off at night. Mornings can be a quiet time, and putting your devices on often gets forgotten. Establishing a routine of putting your hearing aids on at a specific time each morning (e.g. right before you brush your teeth) will help ensure that you － and your brain－will have full access to your day-to-day environment.
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