Does hearing deteriorate faster if you don't wear your hearing aids?

I have been told by several audiologists that one’s hearing deteriorates more rapidly if one doesn’t wear one’s hearing aids. They have all encouraged me to wear my hearing aids from the moment I get out of bed until I climb back in for the night. I’ve always been skeptical of this claim because (A) no one has shown me proof, and (B) it dovetails nicely with hearing aid dealers’ desire that we wear out our hearing aids as quickly as possible. The latest one told me that I should wear hearing aids even if I am home alone.

I asked an ear, nose and throat doctor about this roughly 20 years ago, and he said the audiologists are wrong. The audiologists I tell that story to say the doctor is wrong.

Have any of you heard anything about this or seen proof of audiologists’ claims?

Word recognition can deteriorate while the loss remains at former levels when aids aren’t used. I’d say they both have their point. It depends on what they base it on.

As to wearing out from use. There are no moving parts in hearing aids. Properly maintained electronics are far less prone to usage wear.

there are studies out now that link hearing loss to Alzheimer’s because as you lose your hearing your brain is processing less. Also, people appear to kind of shut down as they’re no longer aware of and thus a part of everything that’s going on around them. having watched a close family member die of cancer and my father of Alzheimer’s, I suggest that Alzheimer is a much worse way to go. in the end you’re basically alone because you don’t recognize anyone and you’re also scared and paranoid of everyone around you, a pretty horrible way to go. with other diseases you die surrounded by friends and family and the doctors can usually give you something for the physical pain.

Even when you’re home alone, if you don’t wear your aids then you’re not hearing the clock ticking, your footsteps, the ceiling fan, all those things we talk about learning to ignore on here. If you’re not hearing them, your brain is not processing the sounds to filter them out. So in essence, your brain is getting lazy. You want to get your brain of the couch and take it for a walk or a jog. To do that you need your aids.

find an audiologist you can trust

If you look at the report of a study in the link posted on another thread today - they are saying that apparent cognitive decline may relate more to depression and isolation caused by hearing loss. Depression is also treatable and makes it harder to test a persons true cognitive ability - it is not dementia. I think the variables are many and studying them complex. Above all hearing loss correction is a good thing.

Your hearing aids will not wear out from use in that fashion. I wear my HA from the moment I wake up until the moment I decide to go to sleep. I cannot imagine wearing a hearing aid any other way.

I wear my aids from first up to lights out. This past week my right one was back at the manufacturer warranty work. It was warning of a dead battery and would shut down even when a known good battery was in it.

I got it back yesterday and after living with only the left aid for a week all I can say is WOW! I relived the first time I put my aids in 2 years ago. I was hearing much better and in both ears obviously, but the biggest thing was how loud things were from my right ear. It is amazing how much you are losing by not wearing your aids.

Again, I wear my aids from from first up to lights out.

I would gladly wear my hearing aids all day long if they were more comfortable. I had all-in-the-ear aids for 28 years, then switched to behind-the-ear aids four years ago in hope that they would be more comfortable. And they are, but not enough to where I forget I’m wearing them. An audiologist showed me a smaller ear piece that I’m going to try with my next set. Hopefully then I’ll be able to stand having the hearing aids on all day.

Have you tried soft molds. For me they are more comfortable than my previous CICs

I don’t know if my ear molds are of the soft variety. How can you tell the difference?

Mine squish when I squeeze them, so I assume they are soft. Decades ago I wore an aid with a hard plastic mold which had no plasticity at all – it was as hard as a table or a coffee cup.

I have low vision and hearing loss. When I do not wear my hearing aids, I feel more at a loss and isolated than I do with the vision loss. I feel that it is very important to maintain hearing in order to maintain communications. If you don’t hear well and don’t understand what others are saying, they think that you are slow mentally. When you have to spend time processing what others are saying, they get the wrong impression. A quality hearing aid that provides maximum speech understanding is extremely important.


  1. There is NO definitive link between untreated hearing loss and Alzheimer’s that is recognized by the scientific community.

  2. It is true that hearing aids give your brain signals it is not used to at first, but you eventually adjust to the new noises. If you leave your aids out long enough, it will return to its original state, eventually.

  3. To the heart of the question. I would say the only reason your hearing would get worse with your HA’s out is that when you aren’t wearing them, you increase the volumes on your TV or radio or whatever, which could hurt your hearing (as it probably did in the first place). That’s a vicious cycle for some that your HA’s break. Hearing worse…turn up the volume…hearing worse…TURN UP THE VOLUME!!!


If I’m home alone I don’t put my aids in until I can’t stand the tinnitus any longer and the amount of time varies from day-to-day.

if there was a link between Alzheimer’s and not processing audio input, wouldn’t all deaf people have Alzheimer’s?

Maybe it’s just me, (and as someone that hasn’t posted my audiogram results) but I find this statement hilarious and especially so considering there aren’t any capital letters in the sentence. “you need to write out your audiogram instead of being lazy about it and posting a picture. seriously your future social life and work promotion can depend on this.”

I hope my boss doesn’t read this board.

I have tinnitus as well which is why I got my HA’s with tinnitus masking built in. That said, I can’t think of a time that i would prefer NOT to hear. Also, if I keep the hearing aids out of my ears then I have to get used to them all over again when I put them back on. I put mine on when I wake up and take them out when I go to sleep. Although it does happen from time to time my tinnitus rarely flares up to the extent that it did before getting my hearing aids. Why would I even take a chance subjecting myself to those flareups?

That’s a very good point.

Maybe it’s just me, (and as someone that hasn’t posted my audiogram results) but I find this statement hilarious and especially so considering there are any capital letters in the sentence. “you need to write out your audiogram instead of being lazy about it and posting a picture. seriously your future social life and work promotion can depend on this.”

I hope my boss doesn’t read this board.

You’re a lazy bum! Get off the forum! I’m reporting you to your boss and to Twitter!:wink:

I stay at home during the day unless I receive a page and I’m usually home alone, so I don’t bother with the aids. It isn’t so much as choosing not to hear as it is there isn’t anything or anyone to hear. I also do some woodworking and often wear ear muffs and I don’t wear them over the aids.

Often I eat lunch by myself and I’ll turn the aids off, so I suppose in those situations I choose not to hear.

— Updated —

LOL. This forum needs a like button.

I work at home as well (telework) and am usually by myself. I do have quite a few conference calls during the day, however, and wearing my hearing aids makes them easier to listen to (although most are painful anyway)…

Jbobp: I’m like you in that I don’t wear my hearing aids while home alone, but for me it’s more about comfort. I can only stand to have those things in my ears for so long, then I need a break. Is it that way for you, too?