Patients often approach me with concerns that their hearing loss has gotten worse since getting hearing aids. This topic usually comes up after wearing hearing aids for a few months. They note that when they take their hearing aids out, it seems that they cannot hear nearly as well as they would have before getting hearing aids. When I hear this from my patients, I am not concerned. In fact, I am excited! This reaction might seem surprising to you, so let me explain why this is good news.
The brain’s ability to distinguish and process speech sounds is impaired when hearing loss is left unaddressed. The brain must expend extra effort trying to understand speech, which can lead to cognitive fatigue and stress. Over time, this increased cognitive load can result in mental exhaustion and impact overall cognitive function.
As you have probably heard or read, untreated hearing loss can lead to cognitive decline. The brain relies on sensory input for stimulation and growth. When auditory input is reduced, the brain’s ability to process information and stay engaged diminishes. Research has shown that individuals with untreated hearing loss are more prone to memory issues and a higher risk of developing conditions like dementia.
The good news is that the human brain is a highly adaptable and interconnected organ. When fitted with hearing aids, the brain is able to restructure its resources, reallocating neural connections that had been previously recruited for speech understanding to other areas of the brain for functions such as short-term memory storage, balance and coordination, or even higher levels of cognition.
In other words, it is a good thing to become dependent on hearing aids, because it means that your brain doesn’t have to work as hard to hear. By treating your hearing loss, you are not only improving your relationships with others, but also benefiting your brain and by extension your overall health!
In conclusion, wearing hearing aids does not make your hearing worse; rather, they are valuable tools for managing and improving hearing loss. However, it is crucial to work closely with hearing healthcare professionals to ensure proper fitting and adjustment to achieve the best results. Hearing aids, when used as recommended, can have a profoundly positive impact on an individual’s ability to hear and participate in daily life.
If you or a loved one need hearing assistance and would like to learn more about how Adaptive Audiology Solutions can help, please reach out to us at 712-775-2625.