My hearing

Do I have to wear my hearing aids all the time?

As great as it would be, your hearing won't instantly return to normal the moment you get your hearing aids. 

Similar to an athlete that has taken a break for a while, the auditory centres in your brain have to train to get back to their peak performance. So when you first get your hearing aids, you need to practise wearing them as much as possible to improve your hearing. 

Here we look at why it's important to wear your hearing aids consistently. 

What happens when you don't treat hearing loss? 

Even if you have hearing aids, by not wearing them, you are by default not treating your hearing loss. 

"It's fine," you might think to yourself. "I can manage without my aids. My hearing isn't actually that bad." 

However, what many people may not realise is that they aren't just missing out on the conversation, they could also be negatively impacting the health of their brain. 

As noted by the Scripps Research Institute, when hearing loss is left untreated, it can become worse with time1. A study by Johns Hopkins Medicine demonstrated one of the other side effects of hearing loss – brain tissue loss, or atrophy. 

Only 25 per cent of people who could benefit from using hearing aids own them.

The study found that older people who had an untreated hearing condition experienced a noticeably faster rate of brain tissue loss than those with normal hearing2. One of the possible reasons for this is because the auditory cortex isn't receiving stimulation like it used to2

"Our results suggest that hearing loss could be another 'hit' on the brain in many ways," said Dr Frank Lin.

"If you want to address hearing loss well," he added, "you want to do it sooner rather than later."

Dedicating yourself to better hearing 

Here in Australia, only 25 per cent of people who could benefit from using hearing aids own them3. Furthermore, another study suggests that up to 24 per cent of older Australians who own hearing aids haven't worn them4 – a startling realisation. 

Audiologist Dr Robert L Martin explains it like this 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," he writes. 

"Conditioning the auditory cortex of the brain is much like conditioning leg muscles. It's impossible to sit on a couch and drink beer all week and get healthy leg muscles. What you get are a big stomach and weak legs."5

Need help with your hearing aids? 

If you've just been fitted with hearing aids and you're feeling unsure if you are using them properly, reach out to your audiologist. They'll be able to check that your devices are sitting in the right place and will help with troubleshooting any issues. 

To take the first step in addressing your hearing loss with a custom hearing solution, you can click here or call 1800 940 982 to request a FREE* check-up with Adelaide Digital Hearing Solutions.

1Scripps Research Institute, Deafness and Hearing Loss Research. Accessed May, 2017. 
2Johns Hopkins Medicine, Hearing Loss Linked to Accelerated Brain Tissue Loss. Accessed May, 2017.
3HCIA, The facts about hearing health in Australia. Accessed May, 2017.
4 NCBI, Use of hearing AIDS and assistive listening devices in an older Australian population. Accessed May, 2017.
5The Hearing Journal, Wear your hearing aids or your brain will rust. Accessed May, 2017.

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