Great question! I hear this one all the time. Hearing happens with more than just your peripheral ear. Your brain needs auditory stimulation for soft sounds (like the hum of the dishwasher, the ice machine dropping ice, your own feet walking on the floor etc.) that you should hear all the time if it is excepted to function in noisy environments. If you don’t wear hearing aids in quiet and allow your ears and brain to normalize to environmental sounds, when you ask them to function in a noisy environment with hearing aids-where you will hear much more than you are used to-they don’t function as well.
That is my short answer and I think there is some good information in lay terms here: https://www.healthyhearing.com/report/46306-Hearing-loss-auditory-deprivation
Having Hearing Loss and not Wearing Hearing Aids can Contribute to Dementia. Really? Yes.
Frank Lin, M.D. Neurologist at Johns Hopkins University took MRI images of hearing impaired non-hearing aid users brains.
People with hearing impairment compared to those with normal hearing had a higher rate of gray matter decrease.
The areas that are shrinking are your hard drive for your brain’s memory. So when you can’t hear well, and you do not use your hearing, the memory areas could shrink by as much as 1 cubic centimeter per year.
The brain weighs 3 to 3.5 pounds. Your entire personality is in there. By wearing your hearing aids all day, everyday, even when you are alone, you are protecting your brain. That’s why you should wear your hearing aids even when you are alone.
Follow this link to see Dr. Lin’s research for yourself https://lnkd.in/dhdFYNx
The simplest way to explain this is that your brain needs to hear all sorts of sounds, even in quiet environments. You likely have not heard certain sounds in a while, and the brain needs to re-learn how to prioritize sounds in your environment. For example, soft sounds like your walking, clothing rustling, running appliances, etc. When I first give a paitent a hearing aid, I warn them that these sounds are going to be at the forefront of their attention, so they need time for the brain to adjust and eventually the brain simply tunes them out.
By not wearing your hearing aids all the time, you rob yourself of the benefits of such a marriage. Besides, your hearing loss does not cease to exist at home. Wearing your hearing aids will benefit you in so many ways.I would advise you to maybe invest in a TV device (if you like to watch TV) that will stream the sound directly to your aids. My patients love this feature, and find that they wear the hearing aids more often than they did without the device.
We hear with our brain and bathing your ears in sound is one of the best things you can do. Stimulating your ears, even in the quiet of your home helps with reconnecting the fibers and cells that have not been used in a long time. Even in the quiet of our homes there are a multitude of sounds. We take for granted the heat kicking on and off, fingers tapping on a keyboard, the hum of the refrigerator, turning the pages of a newspaper or the creak of floorboards. You are retraining your brain and the more you wear your hearing aids, the easier it becomes when you find yourself in difficult listening environments. If you were running a marathon, you would not show up the day of the race without intensive training. Putting your hearing aids on only when you think you need them is usually not the best strategy.
We hear with our brain. Not our ears.
If you let your hearing go without aids for too long, your brain loses the ability to help you recognize and hear sounds correctly. Once this is lost, it might never be regained. The ability to reproduce certain sounds goes also.
For optimal hearing health - It’s a good idea to begin with a schedule in which you wear your hearing aids part time and gradually work up to wearing them from the time you rise until the time you go to bed.
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