Hearing aids are an important tool for those with hearing loss. They can significantly improve hearing and quality of life, but many people wonder if they should wear their hearing aids all day or only in certain situations. Audiologists recommend wearing hearing aids every day during all waking hours, regardless of where or how you spend your time. In this article, we will explore why consistent use of hearing aids is essential and when you should take them out.
The Importance of Consistent Use Of Hearing Aids
- Going long periods without wearing hearing aids can result in auditory deprivation, which means the brain has to readjust to hearing all the sounds in the environment.
- Auditory deprivation can change auditory processing abilities and negatively impact social interactions.
- Uncorrected hearing loss subjects your brain to ‘auditory deprivation’ and over time, it can change auditory processing abilities, and you may forget how to hear certain words and sounds.
- Although there isn’t data to answer how many hours of usage is optimal, people who wear their aids all through their waking hours do better.
Hearing aids are a vital tool for individuals with hearing loss to improve their quality of life. However, simply owning a pair of hearing aids is not enough. It is essential to wear them consistently to reap their full benefits. So often hearing aids are left in a drawer and not used. Adapting to hearing aids takes time but once you adapt your life quality improves.
Audiologists recommend wearing hearing aids every day during all waking hours, regardless of where or how you spend your time. Going long periods without wearing hearing aids can result in auditory deprivation, which means the brain has to readjust to hearing all the sounds in the environment. Auditory deprivation can change auditory processing abilities and negatively impact social interactions.
Even in the peace of your own home, it is important to wear hearing aids every day to keep your brain stimulated and connected during daily interactions and with long-distance loved ones.
Some argue that they are home alone and do not need to hear anything. However, it is important for the brain to get stimulation and even the sound of a book page turning or the sound of the air conditioner helps the brain which means you will do better with hearing aids when you do leave the house and interact with others.
Wearing hearing aids throughout the day is crucial to keep hearing and the brain sharp. The only time you should remove your hearing aids is for sleeping, showering, or swimming, or when you would typically use hearing protection.
Auditory Deprivation and Negative Impact on Social Interactions
- The majority of our hearing is done in the brain and not with our ears, so the brain needs to be consistently exposed to sounds at normal levels to put them into different categories as it once did.
- Consistent hearing aid use will help eliminate over-stimulation and desensitize the brain to extraneous sounds, allowing it to focus on listening to important things like speech.
- The process of adapting to hearing aids does not happen overnight, and the more consistently hearing aids are worn, the faster all sounds will become more natural.
When you have hearing loss, your brain is not receiving the auditory stimulation it needs to function properly. Auditory deprivation can cause changes in auditory processing abilities, and over time, it can even lead to forgetting how to hear certain words and sounds. This makes it crucial to wear your hearing aids every day, during all waking hours, to keep your brain stimulated and connected during daily interactions and with long-distance loved ones.
Not wearing hearing aids for extended periods can lead to auditory deprivation, which negatively impacts social interactions. Studies show that people with untreated hearing loss may withdraw from conversations, interrupt others, or talk too loudly or too softly. These behaviors make it challenging to enjoy conversations, especially through masks, and you might not feel comfortable on video conferences or phone calls.
Social interactions are an essential part of our daily lives. When we miss out on conversations or feel isolated from others, it can lead to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. The use of hearing aids can help prevent these negative outcomes by improving communication with others and reducing the sense of isolation that often comes with hearing loss.
Additionally, hearing aids help you keep your conversational skills sharp. Along with wearing your hearing aids, there are other ways to offset loneliness, such as getting comfortable with video calls or using a headset over your hearing aids. By taking proactive steps, you can maintain healthy social interactions and stay connected to those around you.
Social Interactions and Other Benefits
- Hearing loss can increase a sense of isolation and promote compensations like interrupting, monologuing, not talking, or talking too loudly or quietly. These habits make it harder to enjoy conversations.
- Studies show that wearing hearing aids can reduce the risk of falls, dementia, and cognitive decline.
- Wear your hearing aids to social gatherings, restaurants, and at home to stay involved, and active, and to hear important notifications.
Consistently wearing hearing aids is important for retraining the brain to hear at a normal level.
As we mentioned earlier, the majority of our hearing is done in the brain and not with our ears. When hearing loss is present, the brain is deprived of sound at a normal level, and hearing aids can significantly improve hearing, but they cannot cure it.
It’s important to note that the process of adapting to hearing aids does not happen overnight, and the more consistently hearing aids are worn, the faster all sounds will become more natural. This is because the brain needs to be consistently exposed to sounds at normal levels to put them into different categories as it once did.
If hearing aids are only worn occasionally, the brain has no idea what to do with all of the newly introduced noise and stimuli, leading to the rejection of hearing aids. This can be frustrating and make it seem like hearing aids don’t work when, in reality, the brain needs time to adapt.
Consistent hearing aid use will help eliminate over-stimulation and desensitize the brain to extraneous sounds, allowing it to focus on listening to important things like speech. This will improve the wearer’s ability to communicate with others, reduce social isolation, and improve the overall quality of life.
There is no magic number of hours for wearing hearing aids, but they should be worn as much as possible, except when sleeping, showering, having hair done, swimming, or in a dangerously loud environment. Patience is key, and giving the brain a chance to adapt to all of the new sounds of life will lead to optimal performance with hearing aids.
When to Wear and When to Take Out Your Hearing Aids
- It is recommended to wear your hearing aids from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed.
- Hearing aids aren’t designed to get wet, so do not wear them in the shower or bath, sauna, swimming, or in the water.
- Avoid wearing your hearing aids when putting on perfume, hair sprays, and sunscreen.
- Do not wear your hearing aids around loud noises, like mowing the lawn, to avoid causing damage to your devices. Use hearing protection instead.
- Do not wear your hearing aids while you sleep, as it can cause your devices to fall out or become lost or damaged.
Consistent use of hearing aids is crucial for maintaining healthy hearing and social interactions. It is essential to wear hearing aids during all waking hours, except for situations like showering, swimming, or sleeping. Retraining the brain to hear at a normal level takes time, patience, and consistent use of hearing aids.
Additionally, hearing aids can provide other benefits, such as reducing the risk of falls, dementia, and cognitive decline. By following the guidelines for wearing and taking out your hearing aids, you can ensure optimal performance and prolong the lifespan of your devices. If you need a new pair of hearing aids please see my recommendation for the best products on the market.