Accepting that you need to start wearing hearing aids can be emotionally and financially overwhelming. Given the expense of hearing aids, you may find yourself thinking, ‘Do I really need them?’ Many people question the necessity of hearing aids in their lives and tell themselves they can simply become accustomed to living with their current level of hearing loss. However, hearing loss can continue to gradually regress before you even notice it’s worsened. Thankfully, using hearing aids can affect the rate at which your hearing loss progresses. Thus, the answer to whether your hearing loss will worsen if you don’t wear hearing aids isn’t as straightforward as a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
Your hearing will regress regardless of whether or not you use hearing aids
If you already experience hearing loss, it will continue to gradually worsen regardless of whether or not you use hearing aids. However, refraining from wearing hearing aids can specifically impact your ability to understand speech.
Confused? Let’s take a few steps back. Your ears act as vessels that collect sounds and deliver these to your brain. Your auditory cortex then processes these sounds into recognisable words. If your ears cannot pick up particular sounds, then your brain will receive less and less to process.
Our hearing nerves require active stimulation to continue working properly
Our bodies are clever systems that recognise when we stop using something and thus, will stop wasting valuable resources to keep it functioning. Think of it like if you were to stop walking for ten years. After this period, you wouldn’t be able to simply start walking again, as the muscles in your legs would have grown weak from lack of use.
Our hearing nerves and our brain are just like the rest of our body in that they require sufficient exercise to continue functioning properly. When you have hearing loss, your auditory cortex isn’t receiving sufficient exercise to stay healthy. This lack of stimulation causes your nerve pathways to wear out from lack of use; this damage is irreversible and is called ‘auditory deprivation’.
Hearing aids re-introduce your ears to particular sounds
We know that hearing aids improve your ability to hear, however not all hearing aids are created equal. Hearing aids with basic technology simply amplify all sounds, while high quality hearing aids also reduce background noise to allow you to decipher sounds more efficiently. This helps your brain to become reacquainted with those particular sounds that it has previously been missing. Thus, hearing aids can help your hearing loss as they ensure your hearing nerves and your brain are receiving the stimulation they need to continue working properly.
Organise your next hearing check with The Art of Hearing
Thus, the answer to the common question of whether your hearing loss will worsen if you don’t wear hearing aids is yes. Auditory deprivation can be easily prevented by organising a hearing assessment as soon as you think you are experiencing hearing loss, and from then on continuing to regularly checking your hearing. At The Art of Hearing, our expert team of Perth audiologists offer a range of hearing solutions and services that can be tailored to your lifestyle.
If you need hearing aids, The Art of Hearing has recently become one of Australia’s only certified providers of Lyric Invisible Hearing Aids, meaning you can start using the world’s first invisible hearing aid as soon as your next hearing assessment. For more information about our hearing solutions, book an appointment online or contact The Art of Hearing at (08) 9390 8811.