Most people with hearing loss quickly discover the amazing benefits of hearing aids when they start wearing them on a regular basis. However, if you have a mild or moderate hearing loss, you may feel like you only get the benefits of hearing aids in certain situations. For example, some people may only wear hearing aids while they are at work. Others may take them out in situations with a lot of background noise. However, wearing your hearing aids all the time—even when you don’t think you need them—can have a big impact on your long-term health. Specifically, here are three ways they can help.
1. Hear and Understand Medical Advice
The ability to properly hear, remember, and follow the advice of your doctor is key to your long-term health. For example, by some estimates, the US spends $100 billion each year on preventable hospitalizations due to a failure to properly take medications. Hearing loss not only makes it hard for you to hear the medical advice of your doctor, but it makes it harder to remember it as well. If you’re struggling to hear what’s being said, your brain is working overtime, which makes it harder for you to process and remember the information you’re trying to hear.
On the other hand, according to one study, people with hearing loss who wore hearing aids for a period of two weeks, improved their mental processing and memory. Because the participants in the study could hear better, they were using less brain power trying to hear, which freed up their mental processes and made it easier for them to process and remember information.
If you wear your hearing aids all the time, you lower the stress on your brain to understand what’s being said around you, which helps you remember everything better, including vital medical advice.
2. Improve Balance and Decrease Risk of Falls
According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 800,000 people over age 65 are hospitalized as a result of falls each year, and the average hospital cost of a fall injury is more than $30,000. The most common injuries from falls are a broken hip or head trauma. Unfortunately, people with hearing loss are at a greater risk of falls than people with normal hearing.
However, wearing hearing aids has shown to help. In a recent study conducted by the Washington School of Medicine in St. Louis, people with hearing loss who wore hearing aids performed better on balance tests than when they did not wear their hearing aids. The study’s authors conclude that, if you have hearing loss, wearing hearing aids could improve your balance and actually decrease your risk of being injured from a fall.
3. Lower Your Risk of Mental Decline
Although everyone experiences some mental decline as they age, people with hearing loss are at a greater risk than others. Researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine found that people with mild hearing loss were twice as likely to develop dementia, those with moderate hearing loss were three times more likely, and those with severe hearing loss were five times more likely to develop dementia as they aged.
The good news is that people who wear hearing aids to address their hearing loss can erase that risk almost entirely. According to research published in the Journal of American Geriatrics, a 25-year study found that, although people with hearing loss had a higher rate of mental decline, those who wore hearing aids showed no higher risk than people with normal hearing.
Improve Your Long-term Health
By wearing your hearing aids all the time, not just when it is convenient, you can stay healthier and more mentally alert. Additionally, you can lower your risk of negative health outcomes in the future.