Most people know that loud noises increase the risk of hearing loss. Excessive sound energy damages the delicate structures in the middle and inner ear. This degradation can occur slowly, as often happens in occupational exposure, or more rapidly, as happens during explosions or other extremely loud noises.

Naturally, this leads people to wonder: if loud noises cause hearing loss, won’t wear hearing aids make it even worse? After all, assistive hearing devices amplify incoming sounds at high levels.

Fortunately, the answer to this conundrum is quite simple: calibrating hearing aids incorrectly can damage your hearing. But if an audiologist sets them up, you’re unlikely to run into trouble. Audiologists set hearing aids to the right level so that they don’t cause additional damage to your ears. The threshold for this varies from patient to patient. Some require settings at a higher volume than others, depending on the extent of their hearing loss.

Entering the correct settings on over-the-counter hearing aids at home is challenging. You could get the amplification level right by chance, but that’s unlikely. The best policy is to simply come to our clinic and get a proper fitting using state-of-the-art diagnostics and techniques.

Fittings are an essential part of the hearing aid purchase process. They ensure that your device performs in the correct way for you, given the nature of your hearing loss.

Hearing Aids May Actually Prevent Further Hearing Loss

Interestingly, when fitted correctly, hearing aids can prevent further hearing loss from occurring. That’s because they stimulate the auditory cortex, refining its ability to interpret incoming sounds. When this stimulation is absent tissues atrophy, leading to worsening symptoms.

Hearing aids may offer subjective benefits, too, by making it easier to hear incoming sounds. With hearing aids in place, it becomes cognitively easier to focus on conversations or listen to birdsong. Users no longer have to strain to interpret to the same sounds. Less fatigue makes social situations less exhausting, encouraging users to leave the house and socialize.

Interestingly, this increased stimulation may also reduce the risk of developing tinnitus (persistent ringing in the ears). Wearing hearing aids minimizes the tendency for auditory hallucinations, such as ringing, buzzing, or rasping sounds in the ears. Sleep quality improves and patients may notice less depression and anxiety. For this to work, though, devices must be fitted correctly. Research shows that setting hearing aids too loud for your level of hearing loss can worsen hearing further. Over time, the condition of the ears worsens, and they can hear fewer sounds than before unassisted.

Does Wearing a Hearing Aid Slow Down Hearing Loss?

Hearing aids can, in some situations, slow down hearing loss, but it depends on what’s causing the underlying problem. If issues are arising in the brain because of processing difficulties in the auditory cortex, extra stimulation may improve the function of these regions. Hearing aid users might not need to strain as much to hear conversations around them.

However, hearing aids cannot slow the progression of the underlying condition. Sensorineural hearing loss is a function of age and the accumulation of damage to tissues in the ear. Hearing aids cannot restore the ears to their youthful state or undo years of damage caused by listening to loud music.

Do Hearing Aids Restore Hearing to Normal?

Similarly, hearing aids do not restore hearing to normal. Most patients need to wear them for the rest of their lives. The nature of your hearing changes when you wear hearing aids. While manufacturers try to mimic natural hearing as much as possible, they cannot replicate it perfectly. Because of this, things will sound quite different when you first start wearing new assistive hearing devices.

The good news most people adapt rapidly. Over time, wearing hearing aids will start to feel more normal.

How long it takes to adjust depends on your brain plasticity – the rate at which it can change to accommodate your new sound environment. For most people, the process takes less than four months. After that, wearing hearing aids will start feeling normal, like second nature.

Get a Professional Hearing Aid Fitting Today

In conclusion, professional hearing aid fitting is vital to protect your ears from further damage. Cranking up the volume too loud can cause further damage, worsening your hearing over time. If you’re like a professional hearing aid fitting, get in touch with Clifton Springs Hearing Center today. Call a member of our team at 315-496-4314 to book an appointment.

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