Wearing Hearing Aids: How Long Is Too Long?
Many people who use hearing aids wear them frequently, especially those leading active social lives. However, if you’ve just begun using hearing aids, or want to start wearing them more often, the transition period can be difficult. Like exercising or learning a new skill, you should devote time to it, and take things in steps. Rushing into full-time hearing aid use can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction.
In fact, most people who begin using hearing aids feel overwhelmed by the world at first. It takes some time to train your brain into processing audio accordingly, so don’t feel discouraged if you can’t wear your hearing aids all day. As you grow more accustomed to wearing your hearing aids and hearing sound, it will become easier.
If you’re still unsure about how long you should wear your hearing aids, or want to learn more about wearing them, this article can give you insight on the adjustment period and benefits of daily hearing aid use.
Should I Wear My Hearing Aids All The Time?
This question is difficult to answer definitively. While you shouldn’t push yourself, there are undeniable benefits to wearing your hearing aids all the time. If you struggle with hearing noise for more than a few hours per day, you shouldn’t feel pressured to strain your ears. This will just make you tired and resentful of your hearing aids. It’s always good to take time off, especially if you feel safe and comfortable without your hearing aids.
However, only wearing your hearing aids on special occasions, such as when you go to dinner or socialise, might have a negative impact on how much you benefit from them. Hearing aids are not contacts or glasses; they don’t work perfectly the moment you put them on. They require an adjustment period, and disuse can undo your progress.
The longer you wear your hearing aids, the more you’ll enjoy wearing them. Your brain will learn to process sound and filter out noise, and you will also get used to the sound of your own voice thanks to our in-built Own Voice Processing (OVP) technology. Before long, wearing hearing aids might seem like second nature. However, this requires practice and time. If you only use your hearing aids during noisy situations like parties, dinners, or social situations, it’s easier for you to get overwhelmed by the sounds.
This is why an adjustment period is necessary. You should learn how to wear your hearing aids frequently and dedicate time to wearing them. That way, your brain will be ready when you want to go out and enjoy yourself.
The Benefits of Wearing Hearing Aids All the Time
As mentioned above, the primary benefit of frequent hearing aid use is simple: you will become better accustomed to sound. This is because you become used to hearing less and less over the years, and that it is why some sounds might sound cacophonous at first. Frequent use brings back the joy of sounds like birds chirping, footsteps, or falling rain. Music will sound better, and your own voice will become familiar.
There’s also the matter of health. Many parts of our brain operate on a “use it or lose it” basis, meaning that if you fall short and stop using your hearing aids, your ability to process sound will decrease. You need to nurture the auditory system in your brain by feeding it sound, or your hearing will atrophy.
Older people also benefit greatly from the use of hearing aids. By stimulating the brain in different ways, their mental health is improved. Many seniors refuse to use hearing aids, or don’t realise that they have hearing loss. As their ability to hear wanes, areas of their brain begin to deteriorate. The use of hearing aids can stimulate the brain, keeping it healthy and allowing them to socialise and interact with the world better.
Getting Used to Hearing Aids
While it’s easy to list the reasons why you should be wearing your hearing aids, it’s another thing to actually wear them. Many people feel frustrated when they’re told to wear their hearing aids more, and for good reason. Sounds that you have not heard for some time can be overwhelming, and pushing yourself past your limits can lead to headaches and exhaustion.
For this reason, knowing your limits and testing them gently is important. You can set your own pace and adjust to sounds at your own rate. While you shouldn’t neglect your hearing aids, your progress doesn’t have to happen extraordinarily quickly. Set reasonable goals for yourself and stick to a routine. You can also set yourself simple listening tasks like “I want to listen to birds today” or “today I will try out what reading the newspaper with my hearing aids on is like”. If you dedicate some time to wearing your hearing aids every day, increasing that time will become easier and easier.
Following up with your audiologist is also important. They can give you tips on how to use your hearing aids more effectively, and they will make sure that they’re working properly for you. If you need adjustments, they will help you find settings that work for you.
As you adjust to your hearing aids, you should pay attention to three things.
- How long are you wearing them? Are you increasing your wear-time as you become more accustomed to sound? Every half-hour counts, so don’t feel rushed. Keep a log of how often you wear your hearing aids, and for how long. If you have rechargeable hearing aids, you can take a break and let them charge before putting them back on later in the day.
- What are you hearing? Sit and focus on the sounds around you. Can you hear the sounds of nature? The television or radio? People’s voices? Start off wearing your hearing aids in peaceful situations, and then introduce yourself to new surroundings and sounds, like traffic or conversations.
- How does your voice sound? Try talking to yourself from time to time. Even if you don’t like the sound of your voice at first, talking to yourself will get you used to hearing it. That way, when you join conversations later, your voice will sound more familiar (OVP makes this process as easy as possible).
Your path towards hearing is your own, so take things at your own pace. As long as you put in effort and time to wearing hearing aids, you’ll be making progress. If you haven’t already decided on a pair of hearing aids, learning more about them can help you find a pair that’s right for you. The happier you are with your hearing aids, the more you’ll want to wear them. You can learn more about different kinds of hearing aids and rechargeable options with Signia.