We are asked this question quite a lot, both by people who don’t own hearing aids and those that wear hearing aids part-time. The direct answer to this is no. When you have a hearing loss you lose the ability to hear soft sounds. This ability to pick up sounds wont deteriorate faster whether you use a hearing aid or not. BUT if you have a hearing loss and don’t wear hearing aids the ability of your ears to understand speech is likely to get worse more rapidly.
If you have any level of hearing loss, your ears are missing out on certain sounds that they are supposed to hear. When you ears hear less sounds, there is less stimulation of your hearing nerves and also the auditory cortex in your brain. The longer your hearing nerves are not being stimulated, the weaker they become and this can result in your brain becoming less able to process sounds. Like any other part of your body, it’s important to keep your hearing nerves functioning well by making use of them. Think of hearing properly like exercise for your nerves, so the longer you don’t use your hearing nerves properly, the harder it becomes to discriminate speech even when we do hear it.
In fact recent data now shows that people with hearing loss who do not wear hearing aids perform worse on cognitive tests when compared to normal hearing people and those with a hearing loss who do use hearing aids. Wearing hearing aids will help to make sure your hearing nerves and brain are getting the correct stimulation they require to function well. Keep your brain and ears healthy by continually using your hearing pathways – it’s no different to keeping your bodies healthy by exercising your muscles! Like any other health issue, early treatment with the appropriate device will lead to faster and better results.