This is true. The cochlea - the nerve center of hearing is tonotopically organized. This is a fancy way of saying that each section of the cochlea is responsible for a specific section of frequencies that we hear. The cochlea sends these frequency messages up the auditory nerve and onto the brain, where the sound is interpreted. When hearing loss occurs, certain sections are no longer stimulated and therefore those nerves are no longer stimulated either.
What happens over time, is that the nerves are deprived of those sounds and they become atrophied - just like your leg muscles if you were in a cast for a very very long time. Using a hearing aid, continues to provide the nerves with stimulation of sound and therefore prevents the atrophy. If someone waits a very long time to start using a hearing aid, sometimes the nerves have been deprived for so long, that they no longer work properly, even when stimulated.
What results is distortion. The nerves are being stimulated, but because they have been deprived for so long, they will indeed send messages up the auditory nerve to the brain, but the message is contaminated with distortion.
This is probably one of the biggest reasons why some people are not satisfied with their hearing using aids. It doesn’t sound how they remember, and there is extra “noise” in the signal they are hearing.
Let me be clear about this next point - this isn’t something that happens in a YEAR of having hearing loss. More like YEARS! So this isn’t meant to scare anyone, it’s just how the body handles hearing loss over time. But it certainly is why I advise everyone to have a ANNUAL HEARING EXAM. If you wait until your hearing is so bad, that you can’t function normally without a hearing aid, it can be too late.
Most hearing loss occurs gradually over time, and it is best to have a baseline hearing test, so that you and your professional can track changes over time.
Wow, that was long-winded of me
Hope that answered your question!