A very common question we often get when working with hearing aids is “Will wearing the hearing aids cause further hearing loss?” The quick answer to this is generally no. The overall goal of hearing aids is to make soft speech audible, normal conversation level comfortable, and loud sounds loud without being uncomfortable. The hearing aids have a maximum output that is set by the audiologist and hearing aid manufacturer. Once a loud sound is present, if the sound is louder than the maximum output, the hearing aid will suppress the sound as to not make the loud sound amplified. Due to the advancement of digital hearing aids, we can now fit more sounds into a comfortable range so we don’t damage hearing further.
The key, however, is making sure the hearing aids are adequately set. If the hearing aids have not been set appropriately for your hearing loss, there is a chance that the hearing aids could have negative effects on your hearing health. Seeing an audiologist to ensure that the hearing aids are set to the appropriate prescription is crucial.
A comment we also hear occasionally after a patient wears hearing aids for many years is “I feel like my hearing has decreased because I struggle more without my hearing aids than I did before.” This could be attributed to the brain adjusting to hearing better with the hearing aids. Much like prescription glasses, over time our brain begins to rely on the correction, and when we take that input away, our brain misses it! Hearing sensitivity does not get worse. Instead, our brain misses the input it is used to getting when wearing hearing aids.