Like any other skill, using hearing aids requires dedication, practice and patience to see the best results.
In order to become competent hearing with your devices, you'll need to be diligent about wearing them as much as possible. Here we look at the effects of what happens when you don't wear your hearing aids.
Helping your hearing
However, just because you own hearing aids, doesn't mean your work is done. In fact, one study estimates that as many as 24 per cent of older hearing aid owners in Australia haven't even worn their devices2.About one in six Australians have some form of hearing loss, but they wait an average of seven years before seeking help, according to the HCIA 1. Furthermore, only 25 per cent of people who could benefit from a hearing device actually own them1.We live in an era where we have increasingly sophisticated, discreet devices available to treat hearing loss, but surprisingly there remain many people who aren't taking advantage of them.
So, what effect does this have on our hearing?
What happens when you don't wear your hearing aids
When left untreated, our hearing loss can often get worse, according to the Scripps Research Institute3. Reduced hearing ability can make it even harder to participate in conversations with your family and friends, and can result in people isolating themselves from social situations.
However, it's not just our hearing that is affected by not wearing hearing aids. Our brain can also begin to suffer from the lack of auditory stimulation, as noted by Johns Hopkins Medicine.
In a study lead by Dr Frank Lin, it was discovered that people with untreated hearing loss experience faster rates of brain shrinkage, or atrophy, than those with normal hearing4. The areas responsible for processing speech and sound were especially impacted.
"If you want to address hearing loss well," said Dr Lin, "you want to do it sooner rather than later."
How does regular use help hearing aid wearers?
As explained by audiologist Dr Robert L. Martin, we hear with our brain, rather than our ears. While hearing aids can take a bit of getting used to, the more you practise wearing them, the easier it should become to hear in different scenarios. The more confident you become, the less you'll start to notice the presence of your hearing aids – many wearers even forget they are wearing their devices sometimes.
''It takes time for the brain to learn to recognise words through the hearing aids," he writes in an article for the Hearing Journal.
''Hearing aid use is like exercise. If you want to get your muscles in shape, you need to exercise them every day."
Are you ready to experience the difference that hearing aids can make in your life? Don't wait for your hearing to get worse before seeking help. You can book a FREE* hearing check with Western Hearing Services by clicking here, or give our friendly team a call on 1800 940 981.
1Hearing Care Industry Association, The facts about hearing health in Australia. Accessed May, 2017
2NCBI, Use of hearing AIDS and assistive listening devices in an older Australian population. Accessed May, 2017
3Scripps, Deafness and Hearing Loss Research. Accessed May, 2017
4Johns Hopkins Medicine, Hearing Loss Linked to Accelerated Brain Tissue Loss. Accessed May, 2017
5The Hearing Journal, Wear your hearing aids or your brain will rust. Accessed May, 2017