One major concern many have when buying hearing aids is their hearing loss will worsen if they start wearing hearing aids. I often hear people say after they have worn hearing aids for a few weeks that they seem to have a harder time hearing without them than they did before using them. Could hearing aids cause hearing loss? The reality is that it’s a matter of perception and their brains tricking them.
When presented with an optical illusion, it is very plain to see how your eye is being tricked, as it was with the infamous dress.
Is it black/blue or white/gold?
Try this audio counterpart; “Laurel” vs “Yanny”.
Audio illusions are present in our everyday lives. Your brain loves to fill in the gaps and it works very hard to do so.
Hearing loss occurs gradually, and your brain became used to hearing fewer sounds over time. Subsequently, your brain needs to work harder to decipher speech because the message is coming in through damaged nerves. As your brain is filling in these gaps, you perceive this level of hearing as “normal”. This can make it mentally exhausting to hear. When your auditory nerve cells are being underused, it makes them weaker. In order to stay healthy, nerves need stimulation. As the saying goes, “use it or lose it.” When you begin wearing hearing aids, you brain receives new information it has not heard in quite some time and adjusts to recognize this as the new “normal.” The nerves are being stimulated and “exercised”. When you take your hearing aids out, as a result, trying to hear without hearing aids may seem like it is worse than it was before because your hearing loss has become more noticeable. Your brain thinks the new hearing aids cause hearing loss to worsen, but your brain is just adjusting to your new normal. Your hearing seems muted and muffled without your devices, but it already was; you just notice it more because you’ve been experiencing better hearing with the hearing aids. This is where the myth of “hearing aids cause hearing loss” comes from.
Hearing aids do not cause hearing loss if they are programmed correctly. Hearing aids work by bringing soft sounds up to your hearing threshold so you can hear them, and they don’t amplify loud sounds to be any louder to cause further loss. The sounds you already hear loud and clear are not further amplified either. Premium hearing aids also come with features that reduce loud impulse sounds such as slamming or clanging sounds, while leaving speech type sounds alone. This provides an effective ‘cushion’ to make sure these types of sounds are not unpleasant.
By using your hearing aids consistently, your ability to comprehend sound stays optimal and so does your quality of life. Hearing aids can help slow the progression of your hearing loss so it’s best to act on treatment sooner rather than later. You can book a hearing test by either calling or texting 905-929-HEAR (4327) or book online at www.opendoorhearing.ca.