One of the most frequently asked questions our clinicians receive from both new and recurring patients is if their hearing loss will worsen due to the usage of their hearing aids. This is a great question that we love to answer for our patients and dispel any concerns.
The main concern behind this question is that they will become dependent on their hearing aids and, therefore, not hear as well without them. Many recurring patients report that after wearing their hearing aids for several months, they don’t hear as effectively without their hearing aids. This leads them to conclude that their natural hearing has gotten worse since using their hearing aids. While this is a logical conclusion to make, the truth is quite different due to the complexity of the auditory system.
Our auditory system is linked incredibly close to our brains. Research from John Hopkins Medical Center shows us that leaving an auditory system with hearing loss without proper stimulation can lead to atrophy of the auditory cortical cells. This means that your hearing can permanently worsen if not submitted to appropriate, regular noise levels.
Conversely, by wearing suitable hearing devices daily, the proper amount and types of sounds will reach the brain, which keeps our ear to brain connections healthy. The reason why some people feel that their natural hearing is worse after taking their hearing aids out is actually a trick of the brain. The brain becomes acclimatized to hearing sounds and voices correctly when wearing the hearing aids. Therefore, it craves this correct level of noise when the hearing aids are not in place, leading to the feeling of weakened natural hearing. It is not that your unassisted hearing has worsened, or you have become reliant on the hearing aids, but that your brain prefers to hear sound the way it is supposed to.
If you have been recommended to wear hearing aids, we highly suggest wearing them as often as possible to improve your overall hearing and brain health.
We hope that you have learned more about how hearing aids affect long term auditory health. If you have any further questions about hearing aids, or overall hearing health, please consult one of our expert audiologists or clinicians either by appointment or by contacting us.
Please remember to continue to consult our website for more blogs and videos to help you take care of your hearing and hearing aids. Our expert audiologists and clinicians at Audiology Innovations are passionate about changing people’s lives through our innovative hearing services, and we would love to help you next.