If you have recently started using hearing aids, you might have important questions about using them effectively. Questions like, “Should I wear my hearing aids all the time?” and “How many hours a day should I wear my hearing aids?” are essential to ensure that you get the maximum benefit from this technology while incorporating it into your daily life.
This guide will provide clear guidance on how to use hearing aids optimally. We will explore balancing them with your daily activities, comfort, and hearing needs. We aim to help you get the most out of your hearing aids without compromising your lifestyle or comfort, improving your overall quality of life.
Achieving a harmonious blend of enhanced hearing, comfort, and effectiveness is essential to maximise the benefits of hearing aids. This article will address common concerns, offer expert advice, and provide valuable insights to help you optimize your hearing support system. Whether you are new to using hearing aids or looking to improve your experience, this guide will help you make the most out of your hearing aids.
Why Wear Hearing Aids in the First Place?
We understand that hearing loss can be a challenging experience, and we want you to know that you’re not alone. Sometimes, it may feel overwhelming, but we want to assure you that hearing aids can enhance your communication and interaction with others.
While hearing aids do not fully replicate natural hearing or restore it to its original state, they can amplify and clarify sounds, enriching your daily life and supporting cognitive health through auditory stimulation. We encourage you to consider using hearing aids to regain confidence and maintain an active connection with your surroundings.
Hearing aids can significantly improve various quality of life factors. These include:
- better relationship communication
- enhanced intimacy and warmth in family dynamics
- improved emotional stability
- a stronger sense of control over life events
- better mental and physical health perception.
Wearing hearing aids is more than just about improving hearing; it’s crucial to safeguarding overall health and well-being, particularly for older adults. Auditory deprivation, a phenomenon where unstimulated auditory nerves deteriorate over time, may be mitigated by consistent hearing aid use, adhering to the principle of “use it or lose it.”
Research has established a significant link between age-related hearing loss and cognitive decline, including the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia. The risks are not just limited to cognitive aspects; hearing loss in older adults is often associated with various mental health outcomes.
Depression, for instance, has been frequently observed in those with hearing impairments, as confirmed by a meta-analysis of 35 studies. Additionally, hearing loss often leads to a perceived sense of aging, social isolation, reduced participation in daily activities, and a diminished quality of life.
These findings underscore the importance of wearing hearing aids for maintaining cognitive health, mental well-being, and overall quality of life.
How Often Should You Wear Your Hearing Aids?
For optimal adaptation to hearing aids, wearing them as frequently as possible is advised, even when alone or in quiet environments. This constant use assists in retraining the brain to recognise and interpret sounds previously missed.
The adaptation period typically peaks around six months, with the first six weeks being crucial for initial adjustments. Wear your hearing aids daily, except during activities like bathing, swimming, or sleeping, and in environments with uncomfortably loud noises.
When to wear hearing aids:
- at social gatherings and parties
- while dining out at restaurants
- at home, even if alone.
When not to wear hearing aids:
- in the shower or bath
- swimming or in the water
- at the hair salon or barbershop
- when applying perfume, hair sprays, or sunscreen
- around loud noises (e.g., lawn mowing)
- while sleeping.
Regular use in diverse environments, from quiet to noisy, is vital for effective adaptation. Users experiencing discomfort should consult their audiologist right away.
How Many Hours Per Day Should You Wear Your Hearing Aids?
While there’s no set number of hours for wearing hearing aids daily, wearing them as much as possible during waking hours helps with adaptation and learning to process sounds and understand speech.
Wearing hearing aids only sporadically, such as just an hour a week for challenging meetings, can be counterproductive. This limited use doesn’t allow the wearer to fully acclimate to the devices, making each experience potentially tricky. Regular use leads to a smoother, more natural hearing experience as the brain becomes better at interpreting the sounds it receives through the aids.
Giving your ears a break from hearing aids is essential for several reasons. First, continuous wearing of hearing aids can cause the ear canal to become moist, which may lead to irritation or infection. Taking breaks helps maintain ear health by allowing air circulation. Additionally, removing hearing aids will enable them to dry out and reduce the buildup of earwax and moisture inside the device, prolonging their lifespan and maintaining effectiveness.
When you’re not wearing your hearing aids, storing them in a drying capsule is an option. For most rechargeable hearing aid models, the charging pod also functions as a drying capsule, providing a convenient way to charge and care for your hearing aids. This practice helps maintain the longevity and performance of your hearing aids by keeping them dry and protected when not in use.
10 Tips for Success With Hearing Aid Use
- Consistent Use: Wear your hearing aids regularly to adapt faster and benefit more.
- Patience: Give yourself time to adjust to new sounds and settings.
- Follow-Up Care: Regular check-ups with an audiologist ensure optimal performance.
- Practice: Engage in listening exercises to improve your hearing experience.
- Maintenance: Regularly clean and maintain your hearing aids for longevity.
- Realistic Expectations: Understand the capabilities and limitations of your hearing aids.
- Support Networks: Seek support from family, friends, or hearing loss groups.
- Gradual Introduction: Start wearing them in quieter environments, gradually moving to noisier ones.
- Technology Familiarisation: Learn about all features of your hearing aids for maximum utilisation.
- Positive Attitude: Stay motivated and optimistic about improving your hearing health.
Final Thoughts and Action Steps
In this comprehensive guide, we’ve explored the question, “Should I wear my hearing aids all the time?” and the importance of consistent use, the adaptation process, and the benefits of hearing aids for overall health and well-being. Regular use helps the brain adapt and interpret sounds more effectively, even in quiet environments. It’s essential to balance wearing them as much as possible while awake and giving your ears and devices a break when resting or sleeping.
We’ve also covered when to wear them and when not, providing practical tips for success. Remember, regular check-ups with an audiologist are essential if you’re considering hearing aids or looking to optimise your experience. Schedule an appointment with Ear Health to embark on a journey toward improved hearing and quality of life.