You still need to hear when you are home alone.
“I take my hearing aids out when I’m home alone. I don’t need to hear anybody and I can just turn the TV up as loud as I want to.”
Does this sound like you? We have a few patients who have stated the above. But, just because you are home alone doesn’t mean you don’t have a hearing loss anymore. It’s important to wear your hearing aids even while you are alone.
Even when you are alone, there are still sounds going on around you. The furnace kicking on, someone knocking at the door, the beeping of your microwave, your refrigerator running… you get the idea. Your brain needs to prioritize sound, so when you are not wearing your hearing aids, you are not giving your brain a chance to do that. When you wear your hearing aids while you are home alone, this gives your brain the opportunity to decide what it can filter as important or not important. For example: you hear a car accident outside, you brain tells you this is a sound that is not usually heard so you go and investigate. But, when you hear your furnace kick on, your brain tells you that this is a normal background noise and since you do not need to react to it, your brain can tune it out.
Not wearing your hearing aids while you are home alone can be a big factor into why you feel you cannot concentrate or understand speech while in a busy environment. Some patients who do not wear their hearing aids while alone have complained that when they do wear their hearing aids while out with friends or family, they hear ALL the sounds around them and can’t focus in on what is being said. This is because your brain has not had enough time to prioritize sounds. Your brain can’t decide on what’s important so it focuses on ALL the sounds around you.
Your shrinking brain is another reason to wear your hearing aids. Studies have shown that those with a hearing impairment have a higher decrease in gray matter of the brain. The gray matter of your brain includes regions of the brain involved in muscle control, and sensory perception such as seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, speech, decision making, and self-control. So, wearing your hearing aids helps decrease the decline in gray matter by keeping these areas of the brain stimulated. The old saying “use it or lose it” applies here. Loss of gray matter can also accelerate cognitive decline.
We encourage all our patients to wear their hearing aids as much as possible, even when they are home alone and think they don’t need to hear what’s going on around them. If you feel like you need an adjustment to your hearing aids, never hesitate to reach out to us by calling (814) 941-7770. We are always available to you for your hearing health care.