Can Hearing Loss Be Prevented by Wearing Hearing Aids
One of the dilemmas many people have when using hearing aids is that if they start wearing one, their hearing will deteriorate. But can hearing aids really cause hearing loss? Or can they prevent further hearing loss?
Hearing aids are intended to make hearing easier, but it cannot restore the normal function of the ear. The deterioration of your hearing can happen as a result of other health-related factors such as age, infections and ototoxic medication; regardless of whether you wear hearing aids or not. However, if you are suffering from hearing loss and not getting hearing aids, your ability to understand speech is likely to get worse faster than if you were to wear hearing aids.
The Brain’s Role in Hearing
The central auditory system consists of the auditory nerves and a complex pathway through the brainstem and ascends to the auditory cortex of the brain. When hearing loss is ignored and left untreated, the hearing pathways will not be stimulated as much as it should be. The brain will gradually lose its ability to process information and recognize speech due to prolonged lack of auditory stimulation, this is referred to as auditory deprivation.
Info You Should Know for Hearing Aids Users
When you finally decided to get hearing aids, the benefits can be less optimal as the auditory pathway has deteriorated and it would be more challenging to adapt to it. Those who had fitted hearing aids since mild-moderate hearing loss will always have better listening outcomes compared to those who started to use hearing aids when their hearing loss had reached severe levels.
Get your hearing checked regularly:
A management can be provided promptly andor existing hearing aid users, it is recommended to wear your hearing aids at least 8 hours a day, or better yet, wear them during all your waking hours to keep your auditory pathways active and stimulated.
Hearing aids make you hear better:
You might have heard some stories of people who wear hearing aids and after weeks they seem to have a more difficult time hearing without the device. The truth is that it’s a matter of perception and they are being tricked by their brains. Hearing aids are intended to make hearing easier, which aims to restore the user’s hearing loss to near normal hearing functionality (based on Aided PTA).
Be aware of sounds before/after wearing hearing aids:
The main reason why the user complains after using hearing aids, they can’t hear certain sounds as they could previously, it’s because their brain will find much comfort in listening to the sounds without straining their ears and brains when they wear hearing aids. Hence, less effort was used compared to the previous listening experience without hearing aids. It was the same scenario as those who wore spectacles, they found that after removing spectacles, their vision wasn’t as sharp as before they were being prescribed spectacles.
Observation from SoundLife Hearing
Our chief audiologist, Ms Alleya claimed that from her clinical observation over the past 10 years, if the hearing aids were properly prescribed and programmed according to the right diagnosis of hearing loss levels and being used consistently by the users, it doesn’t further deteriorate the hearing loss unless the patient suffered certain ear diseases or experienced sudden hearing loss.
The usual rate of hearing loss progression primarily denoted from the aging factor where it is common to see the hearing loss dropped around 5dB on average yearly. While there is no study showed that hearing aids can prevent further hearing loss over time but from her observation, often those patients who were not properly fitted and received adequate amplification are more likely to suffer more hearing loss deterioration (audiogram dropped more than 10db in a year) due to the lack of sound stimulation towards the brain.
Credit: Picture derived from ISO/FDIS 21388:2019. Acoustics — Hearing aid fitting management (HAFM) about the general stage of HAFM.
Some people raise fears that the eardrums are unsafe when you use hearing aids. However, if the devices are fit and properly programmed, it will not be a problem. SoundLife Hearing has qualified audiologists and professional healthcare providers to take care of your ears. They can conduct hearing tests, prescribe hearing aids,, and recommend suitable management for hearing loss and hearing disability according to the ISO standard, ISO 21388:2020 Acoustics — Hearing aid fitting management (HAFM) as per Figure 1 shown. Get your ears and hearing tested with SoundLife Hearing, Book your appointment today!