Sarah Patterson,  Audiologist, Wangaratta Audiology.

Do you unintentionally make your hearing loss more noticeable to others by not wearing your hearing aids?

Some people complain that they don’t like to wear hearing aids because other people will notice.  Family and close friends tend to use a stronger voice when speaking to their loved ones with a hearing loss (when not wearing their aids), making that hearing loss more obvious to other people in the area.

What happens every time we ask for a repeat – the speaker thinks we are not listening (read: we are not interested!) or that we do not hear (read:  that we cannot hear).  People who are using their hearing aids are less likely to ask for repeats and draw attention to their hearing loss!

The moral of the story is you should wear your hearing aids all day long.  You may need to reassure others that they do not need to speak louder for you.  It may help to occasionally remind people to get your attention first so that you know to watch them, but at least you will be able to hear!

If you aren’t wearing your hearing aids enough, make an appointment to see your audiologist.  We are happy to help!

More on WHY you should wear my hearing aids ALL the time?

What difference does it make if I take them out when I’m at home alone?  I don’t want to hear the noisy birds outside my window anyway!  Besides, I can turn the TV up as loud as I want, no-one complains!

As an audiologist, I have this conversation (or something similar) at least once a day.  I always respond that hearing aids work best when they are worn consistently, i.e. ALL DAY.

Why?  Before we develop a hearing loss, our brains are privy to a wide and rich array of sounds.  We hear sounds from the moment we wake: birds at the window, the whistle of the kettle as we make our morning coffee, the mumble of the morning radio, until the time we go to sleep, the sounds of music over dinner, the click of knives and forks on the dinner plate over the evening meal.  All these sounds are important, and provide richness to our lives.

As hearing loss slowly and gradually progresses over time, we miss out on more and more of these little sounds.  This may not seem like a big problem at the time, but it can actually have some unfortunate consequences.  The less sound we hear, the less ‘sound’ stimulation our brain receives.  Over time, a lack of stimulation can lead to ‘auditory deprivation’ – difficulty in understanding speech through hearing aids.  In layman’s terms: ‘If you don’t use it (your hearing aids) you will lose it (your understanding)!’

This is where our argument comes in:  common sense tells us that when we have a hearing loss, the more often hearing aids are worn, the more sounds we will hear.  The more sounds we hear, the more ‘sound’ stimulation our brain receives.  It follows then that the more you wear your hearing aids, the more likely you are to hear and understand ALL sounds, especially speech in everyday conversations.   Consistent use of hearing aids has many benefits, the richness of our sound environment is bolstered and our brains are more likely to hear and understand speech.

If you aren’t wearing your hearing aids enough, make an appointment to see your audiologist.  We are happy to help!