Benefits of Hearing Aids

Key Takeaways

  • Only one in three older adults who could benefit from hearing aids actually use them.
  • Hearing loss can lead to atrophy of the brain, which can lead to more serious health problems.
  • Hearing aids can improve quality of life, help ease depression, and decrease the risk of dementia and falls.

Hearing loss can significantly take a toll on your overall health and quality of life, including increasing social isolation and feelings of frustration when it becomes challenging to keep up with normal conversations. But you’re not alone.

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, about 15% of Americans 18 and over report difficulty hearing, and 28.8 million U.S. adults could benefit from hearing aids. Among those who could benefit, less than 30% of those 70 and older and approximately 16% of those 20–69 have used hearing aids.

While hearing aids require an adjustment period, treating your hearing loss can allow you to hear sounds you might not have heard in a while and communicate more easily. 

Benefits of hearing aids

Hearing loss can lead to a number of health problems, like atrophy (wasting away) of the brain. Atrophy can lead to more serious health complications and challenges, including dementia, seizures, disorientation, loss of coordination, and difficulty communicating. 

Social isolation is another common occurrence with hearing loss that can lead to depression. Unfortunately, people with difficulty hearing may be less likely to initiate or continue conversations with others.

Hearing aids can help with these challenges. When you improve your hearing, you exercise your brain more, and decrease your risk of atrophy. You’re also more likely to have more social interactions with improved hearing. Other benefits of hearing aids include:

Benefits of using two hearing aids

If you only have hearing loss in one ear, one hearing aid will suffice. But, if like most people with hearing loss you have hearing loss in both ears, research shows wearing one doesn’t allow your brain to work as efficiently picking out sounds you need to hear, which means understanding speech can be more difficult. When you wear two hearing aids, you enhance your ability to locate where a sound is coming from. The brain processes the time, loudness, and pitch of sounds to localize them. If these sounds occur on the side without a hearing aid, there is a delay, making localization difficult.

This is why if you have hearing loss in both ears, wearing two hearing aids can benefit you in a number of ways: 

  • Each ear communicates with the brain individually through localized cells on the left or right side. When the cells on the side with hearing loss and no hearing aid are not used regularly, they may atrophy due to decreased use. This atrophy may result in permanent hearing loss that can’t be helped with hearing aids.
  • Many hearing aids have dual microphones. Wearing these hearing aids in each ear increases sound localization and decreases background noise. During activities such as walking, the ability to hear in each ear allows you to know the appropriate location of cars or other potential hazards.
  • Hearing aids can be programmed for each ear, which improves sound processing. Since some people have different levels of hearing loss in each ear, it’s important to adjust the hearing aids to provide the best results on each side.

When to Call the Doctor

Should I ask my healthcare provider about hearing aids?

Ask your healthcare provider about hearing aids if you:

  • Feel that everyone around you speaks too softly or mumbles.
  • Often ask people to repeat what they said.
  • Have difficulty hearing people on the phone.
  • Strain to hear in group settings.
  • Prefer the TV or radio volume louder than other people.

Call Rocky Top Hearing at 931-219-9990 or 865-383-0737 for more information and to schedule an appointment.