Even if you have glasses (the kind you put on your face, not the kind you fill with liquid), you still visit your eye doctor yearly, right? Because, over time, your eyes change. Nothing in your body is static, not your eyes and not, it turns out, your ears either. That’s why, just as it is with your eyes, it’s crucial to keep having your ears checked even after you’ve invested in a quality pair of hearing aids.
Many individuals, regrettably, skip those yearly appointments. Maybe they’ve been too busy enjoying their lives to get back in to see your physician. Or, it might be that your job has been stressful lately. Or maybe, you’ve just been so pleased with your hearing aids that you haven’t felt the need to go back in. It seems like that would be good, right?
Getting your hearing assessed
Let’s use Daphne as our imaginary stand-in. Daphne has been detecting some red flags associated with her hearing for some time now. Her TV volume continues to get louder. She has problems following discussions at after-work happy hours in noisy restaurants. And so, she goes in to have her hearing tested (because she’s smart and she takes care of herself).
Daphne makes sure to follow all of the instructions to manage her hearing impairment: she buys hearing aids, which are then precisely fitted and calibrated, and then she gets on with her life.
Issue solved? Well, maybe not completely. It’s fantastic that Daphne went in for a hearing test and caught her hearing issues early. But, in the long run, follow-up care becomes almost more important for individuals with even minor hearing loss. Maintaining regular appointments would be a smart idea for Daphne. But Daphne’s not alone in neglected check-ups, based on one study, only 33% of senior citizens with hearing aids also scheduled regular hearing services.
If you already use hearing aids, why do you need check-ups?
Remember when we used the glasses metaphor earlier? Daphne’s hearing won’t become fixed and stop changing just because she has hearing aids. 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 getting regular hearing exams once you get hearing aids. Here are some of the most important reasons:
- Hearing degeneration: Even with a hearing aid, your hearing could continue to deteriorate. If this deterioration is slow enough, you probably won’t realize it’s happening without the help of a hearing screening. Appropriate adjustments to your hearing aids can frequently slow hearing declines.
- Your fit may change: Because your ears are always changing, it’s entirely possible that how your hearing aids fit around and in your ears will change. Regular check-ups can help ensure that your hearing aids continue to fit the way they’re designed to.
- Hearing aid calibration: Your hearing changes in small ways, and while your overall hearing may remain stable, these slight changes could require you to get regular hearing tests. Your hearing aid may become less and less efficient if you avoid this calibration.
Hazards and hurdles
The issue is, Daphne could, in her frustration, stop using her hearing aids entirely because they’re not functioning correctly. Wearing hearing aids helps slow hearing loss over time. If you stop wearing them, not only can your hearing diminish faster, you may not detect it right away.
In terms of achieving optimal performance of your hearing aids, and optimal hearing, routine hearing exams are essential. Annual hearing tests or screenings can help you be sure your hearing aids are working as they should and that your hearing stays protected.