HEARING AWARENESS MONTH - SHOULD YOU WEAR YOUR HEARING AIDS ALL THE TIME
Should you wear your hearing aids all the time?
The answer is YES! And here’s why.
Human hearing is very complex. It involves many different areas of the brain (e.g., there are different areas for music processing vs. language processing). When we have normal hearing, our ears capture the sound, transforms it, it gets encoded and is sent to the brain for interpretation. Our brain uses many different neural networks to do this. When our ears are not working optimally, as is the case with hearing loss, sound does not get encoded properly. In turn, the brain doesn’t get a complete message from the ears, thus becoming deprived of sound - known as auditory deprivation.
When we have hearing loss and no longer hear certain sounds, our brain adapts and our brain may soon ‘forget’ how to hear certain sounds and words. As our auditory system becomes weaker, we must strain harder and harder to hear. This overtaxes our brain and areas of the brain are reorganized.
By wearing hearing aids, even at home in quiet, we’re training our brain to filter out ‘useless’ noise, like humming from the refrigerator, and detect useful sound, like the microwave beeping. Hearing aids not only allow us to hear the sounds in our environment, they also stimulate our brain. Think, wearing hearing aids is like you’re exercising your brain!
Hearing aids exercise your brain!
After some time of not using your hearing aids, the next time you put them in, all the sounds will be overwhelming again. Similar to when you first got your hearing aids. The brain needs time to adjust to hearing again and to ‘tune out’ the sounds you don’t want to hear. The brain isn’t good at listening in different ways – without hearing aids and with hearing aids. Remember, for hearing, the ear is the doorway to the brain so it’s important to keep that door open during the day.
As the weather warms up, we may find ourselves dreaming about the day we can take a summer vacation again! But don’t take a holiday from hearing. Your hearing shouldn’t get the day off!