It is important to wear your hearing aids during your waking hours. Even if you are reading a book, working from home or engaging in another activity where you think you don’t need them, wearing your device consistently delivers the most benefit to your hearing health.
Hearing Loss and Your Brain
When you have hearing loss, your brain has to work harder to process sounds and speech. This can lead to mental fatigue. If you go long enough without the ability to hear certain sounds, it can cause auditory deprivation. This is when your brain is deprived of certain sounds for so long that it loses the ability to process them. If left untreated, the parts of the brain that process these sounds can begin to shrink and atrophy. This can lead to worsening hearing loss and make it difficult to communicate with others.
Hearing Aids Keep Your Brain Sharp
A small study found that wearing hearing aids “may reverse compensatory changes in cortical resource allocation”—in other words, negative changes in your brain may improve with consistent hearing aid use. Brain shrinkage may slow or stop, and your brain may begin to pick up on sound signals once more.
However, if you take out your hearing aids for prolonged periods of time, you will not yield the same benefits.
When Can You Take Out Hearing Aids?
There are certain times when it is OK to take out your hearing aids. Obviously, you should remove them and store them somewhere safe before going to bed every night. You also want to avoid getting them wet, so you should take them out when you shower or before going for a dip at Jan Ree Swim Club.
Other than these specific times, we recommend you leave your hearing aids in to maximize your hearing capabilities and put less stress on your brain.
Seeing an Audiologist
If you started wearing your hearing aids regularly again after a period of inconsistent use, know that there may be an adjustment phase. Similar to when you first got your device, sounds might seem overly loud or distorted for a short time as you adjust.
If after a few weeks you are still noticing problems, make an appointment with your audiologist. Hearing needs can change over time, and they may need to reprogram your hearing aids to adapt to those changes.
If you have additional questions or wish to schedule an appointment, call Willamette ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery today.
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