Most of our clients are extremely good at wearing their hearing aids. They put them in first thing in the morning and take them out as they go to bed.
Wearing your hearing instruments all day is the best thing you can do for your hearing, and your brain. Please don’t wear them when you sleep though!
Your brain likes to get a consistent auditory signal, and you can strengthen the auditory pathways simply by using your hearing aids. You should be (re)training your brain, and strengthening the auditory pathways on a daily basis, in a variety of environments. Most of these situations will be easy (ie, quiet), and you may wonder whether you need to wear them at all. But, yes, you should!
Other listening environments are more challenging, for example, in a café or a restaurant. We know that the more experience your brain has with an amplified sound, the easier listening will be in general.
We do sometime see clients who report they don’t hear well, and they want us to help. And this is where the data that is logged by the hearing aids comes in very useful (you know that the hearing aids are recording how often they are turned on, what adjustments are made to the programmes and volume, and what kinds of situations you are wearing them in, right?).
When a hearing aid wearer doesn’t hear as well as they expect to, we generally:
- check their hearing
- test and measure the performance of their hearing aids
- look at the programming settings
- check the logging data for wearing time
If we have ruled out any changes to hearing, or any problems with the settings of the hearing aids, we start to think seriously about whether wearing time is part of the problem.
If the data from the hearing aids shows that the hearing instruments are only worn for a short period of time each day, we know that the brains’ lack of experience with processing an amplified signal is probably part of the problem. In the first instance we recommend using the hearing aids more (ideally, all day!). We would then bring the person back a month later to review their wearing time, and their difficulties. At this point communication strategies and adjustments to the hearing aid settings may need to be carried out.
The moral of the story is that:
- Your brain loves a consistent auditory signal
- Hearing aids should be worn as much as is possible, and
- You can’t hide your wearing time from your audiologist!