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Do Hearing Aids Help Prevent Further Hearing Loss?

By Kyle Kirkland
Medically Reviewed by Lilach Saperstein, AuD on January 27, 2021
Hearing aids help treat hearing loss. We asked the experts to see if these devices can prevent it as well.

As you probably know, hearing aids are a common treatment option for hearing loss. Hearing aids can reduce the impact of hearing loss in your daily life, but the question is, do hearing aids help prevent further hearing loss?

Do Hearing Aids Help Slow the Progression of Hearing Loss?

Hearing aids come in different models based on factors like how severe your hearing loss is, your budget, and your lifestyle. Every model is designed to help you adapt to your hearing loss.

“Hearing aids will not prevent further hearing loss, however, they make hearing better and also delay the hearing loss degradation,” Benjamin Todd Thatcher, DO, CMRO, Chief Medical Officer of Behavior Valley Health, tells WebMD Connect to Care. 

However, when used improperly, hearing aids can damage your hearing further. “Research has shown that hearing loss is majorly caused by prolonged exposure to loud noises. If your hearing aid is programmed in a way that the noise is far above what you need — this can lead to a deterioration in the hearing condition,” Thatcher says. It's important to see a qualified and licensed audiologist or hearing aid dispenser to get the hearing aids appropriately fit and programmed.

In addition to slowing the progression of hearing loss, hearing aids also benefit the brain. “Hearing aids can provide stimulation of auditory brain pathways that have not been receiving appropriate sound stimulation, reducing the impact on brain processing of sounds and, in some cases, potentially allowing brain pathways associated with sound processing to be re-established,” Angela Shoup, PhD, President of the American Academy of Audiology, tells WebMD Connect to Care.

“Hearing aids also can reduce listening effort, which requires cognitive energy, thus allowing more resources to be available for other brain-processing activities and decreasing fatigue associated with difficulty processing sounds,” Shoup says. 

A 2015 study by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Epidemiology and Statistics Program found that over 28 million Americans could benefit from a hearing aid. Learning the symptoms of hearing loss can help you determine if you need to seek treatment.

Hearing Loss Can Be Treated and Managed.

In many cases, hearing loss is a treatable condition. It is worth taking the time out to get the answers and treatment you or your loved one deserves. Don’t wait. Start today.