Fighting the Process!
Recently we had a patient who came in and got a pair of hearing devices because he is having trouble hearing conversation clearly and TV and his wife. He was probably, according to him, diagnosed with hearing loss some 20 years ago. So yay he got a pair.
He likes them. But he only will wear them when he goes out to restaurants or while watching TV. It appears to be an average of 4 -hours a day. So, I asked him, why wouldn’t you wear them. I asked, are they uncomfortable? Nope, he said, they are comfortable. Do they sound too loud? No! Do they have poor quality? No. Is anything wrong with them? No.
OK then why not wear your hearing devices all the time?
Well he had a few items on his list of why not wear his new devices all the time. Most importantly, he doesn’t like new things. He goes by the motto “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. What does that mean in terms of hearing? He can’t hear well, he went out and purchased devices. His family wanted him to hear better. To me, that means something is kind of broken, right? Maybe he feels it isn’t broken when he isn’t with anyone. So I guess then he can take them on and off.
His second reason for not wearing his devices all the time is because he is getting older and there is just too much more to do. Hmmm I don’t know what to say about that one. It is true that as we get older we have to take more medicines, wear more assisted devices and slow down, get more sleep and eat healthier. Harder to stay up all night and ‘party’.
When he is with his friends, he doesn’t want to wear them to “show them” that he is stronger and better than they are. They all ‘HAVE TO’ wear their aids or they can’t hear. But do they, and is he stronger than them? I remember in high school when my friends would tell me they never studied. Yet later I found out from my mom they their mom’s said they studied all the time! Did they just want to pretend they were naturally smarter than everyone else?
It is good for you and your brain to wear your hearing devices!
And then I shared why he ought to wear them all the time. First of all, he will get use to them and do better hearing when he does wear them. He said every time he puts the devices back on he has to get use to hearing again. Once he wears them daily, he won’t notice the newness every time! It will become habit to hear better.
Then we talked about brain reorganization. When the brain isn’t being used and helping process speech and incoming signals it can reorganize. For instance, there is research out that shows how when someone is deaf for a long time, the brain reorganizes so that in the temporal area where speech is inputted, visual stimuli instead appears there. All this research is so fascinating and I won’t get into all the research other than to say auditory stimuli is important for the auditory area in the brain, the temporal region.
Finally, if we don’t use it, we lose it! Imagine you don’t work out for a long long time. Your muscles will get weak and it will take time to get them strong again. Same with auditory stimulation. If you aren’t use to hearing for a long time and then you start to stimulate your brain, it will take time to fully benefit from the stimulation and make sense of what it is you are hearing.
Overall, I think I was able to encourage him to wear them more often and to embrace growing older gracefully. To do the best he can with all modern technology, medicine and diets, sleep and more can do for us so we can live a comfortable life until the end of our days. We all are going to grow older. It is what is suppose to happen. I look forward to growing older. It not, what is the alternative.
Let’s be open and honest to ourselves and others. Be well and live well.
Call us at Chears for your consult! 952 767 0672