Even if you have glasses (the kind you put on your face, not the kind you drink out of), you still see your eye doctor annually, right? Because, over time, your eyes change. Nothing in your body is fixed, not your eyes and not, as it happens, your ears either. That’s why, even after you’ve purchased hearing aids, it’s essential to continue to get your ears tested just like you would with your eyes.
Many people, unfortunately, skip those annual appointments. Perhaps a trip to their doctor is taking a back seat to enjoying life. Or, it might be that your job has been hectic lately. Or maybe, you’ve just been so happy with your hearing aids that you haven’t had a reason to go back in. It seems like that would be good, right?
Getting your hearing examined
Let’s use Daphne as our imaginary stand-in. Daphne has been noticing some red flags associated with her hearing for a while now. Her TV volume is getting louder and louder. She has problems following conversations at after-work happy hours in noisy restaurants. And because she enjoys taking care of herself, and she’s intelligent, she schedules a hearing assessment.
Daphne makes sure to follow all of the steps to manage her hearing impairment: she gets fitted for new hearing aids and has them precisely calibrated, and then gets back to her regular routine.
Issue solved? Well, yes and no. It’s fantastic that Daphne went in for a hearing exam and caught her hearing issues early. But, over time, follow-up care becomes even more significant for people with even a small amount of hearing loss. Maintaining routine appointments would be a wise plan for Daphne. However, one study found that only around 33% of senior citizens with hearing aids get regular check-ups so Daphne isn’t alone.
Why do you need check-ups once you have hearing aids?
Remember when we used the glasses metaphor earlier? Daphne’s hearing won’t become static and stop changing just because she has hearing aids. Her hearing aids will need to be fine-tuned to counter those changes. Periodic testing helps keep track of any changes in hearing and detect problems early.
And there are other benefits to getting routine hearing assessments once you get hearing aids. Some of the most common reasons to ensure you make it to your next appointment include:
- Hearing aid calibration: While your general hearing health might remain stable, slight changes in your hearing may create the need for annual calibration of your hearing aid. Your hearing aid could become less and less reliable if you avoid this calibration.
- Your fit may change: It’s likely that there will be a change in the way your hearing aids fit as your ears are always changing. Making certain your hearing aids continue to fit well is a significant part of your regular check-ups.
- Hearing degeneration: Your hearing may continue to worsen even if you have hearing aids. If this deterioration is slow enough, you probably won’t realize it’s happening without the aid of a hearing exam. Appropriate adjustments to your hearing aids can frequently slow hearing declines.
Hazards and hurdles
The problem is, Daphne may, in her frustration, stop using her hearing aids entirely because they’re not functioning properly. Over time, hearing loss can be slowed by using hearing aids. If you quit using them, not only can your hearing deteriorate faster, you might not notice it right away.
If you want your hearing aids to continue working at an optimal level, routine exams are going to be your best option in terms of attaining that. Annual hearing tests or screenings can help you be sure your hearing aids are functioning as they should and that your hearing stays protected.