Even if you use glasses (the kind you put on your face, not the kind you drink out of), you still see your eye doctor yearly, right? Because, over time, your eyes change. Similar to the rest of your body, your eyes aren’t fixed and neither are your ears. That’s why, just as it is with your eyes, it’s essential to keep getting your ears tested even after you’ve purchased a nice pair of hearing aids.
Many people, regrettably, miss those yearly appointments. Perhaps they’ve been too occupied enjoying their lives to get back in to see your physician. Or, it could be that your job has been stressful lately. Or maybe, you’ve just been so satisfied with your hearing aids that you haven’t felt the need to go back in. It seems like that would be good, right?
Scheduling a hearing exam
Let’s use Daphne as our fictional stand-in. Daphne has been noticing some red flags related to her hearing for some time now. Her TV volume continues to get louder. She has difficulty understanding discussions at after-work happy hours in loud restaurants. And so, she goes in to get her hearing assessed (because she’s intelligent and she takes care of herself).
Daphne makes certain to follow all of the instructions to manage her hearing impairment: she purchases hearing aids, which are then properly fitted and calibrated, and then she gets on with her life.
Problem solved? Well, maybe not completely. It’s fantastic that Daphne went in for a hearing screening and caught her hearing issues early. But for most individuals with hearing impairment, even a small one, follow-up care becomes even more significant in the long run. Keeping up on regular appointments would be a wise idea for Daphne. However, one study found that only about 33% of senior citizens with hearing aids get routine check-ups so Daphne isn’t alone.
Why do you need hearing exams once you get hearing aids?
Remember when we used the glasses metaphor earlier? Just because Daphne has hearing aids now doesn’t mean her hearing will become static and stop changing. Her hearing aids will have to be fine-tuned to account for those changes. Any hearing changes can be recognized early with periodic monitoring.
And there are other benefits to having routine hearing assessments once you get hearing aids. Some of the most prevailing reasons to ensure you make it to your next appointment include:
- Hearing deterioration: Even with a hearing aid, your hearing may keep deteriorating. Often, this deterioration of your hearing is very gradual and without regular screenings, you most likely won’t even notice it. Proper alterations to your hearing aids can often slow hearing declines.
- Your fit may change: Because your ears are always changing, it’s quite possible that the way your hearing aids fit inside of your ears will shift. Regular hearing tests can help ensure that your hearing aids keep fitting the way they’re supposed to.
- Hearing aid calibration: While your overall hearing health might continue to be stable, small changes in your hearing may produce the need for yearly calibration of your hearing aid. Without this calibration, your hearing aids could slowly become less and less useful.
Dangers and roadblocks
The issue is, Daphne may, in her frustration, quit using her hearing aids altogether because they’re not working correctly. Over time, hearing loss can be slowed by using hearing aids. If you stop wearing them, not only can your hearing diminish faster, you may not notice it right away.
If you want your hearing aids to continue working at an optimal level, regular check-ups are going to be your best bet in terms of attaining that. Annual hearing assessments or screenings can help you ensure your hearing aids are working as they should and that your hearing stays protected.