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, it turns out, your ears either. That’s why, just as it is with your eyes, it’s essential to keep having your ears checked even after you’ve purchased a quality pair of hearing aids.
Regrettably, many people miss those routine check-ups. Maybe they’ve been too busy enjoying their lives to get back in to see the doctor. Or maybe, work has been particularly stressful this year. Or maybe you’ve simply decided not to go back in because you’re so happy with your hearing aids. It seems as if that would be good, right?
Scheduling a hearing assessment
Let’s use Daphne as our imaginary stand-in. Daphne has been detecting some red flags related to her hearing for some time now. She keeps turning the TV up. When she goes out after work to a loud restaurant, she has a hard time following discussions. And so, she goes to have her hearing tested (because she’s smart and she takes care of herself).
Daphne makes sure to follow all of the steps to manage her hearing impairment: she purchases hearing aids, which are then precisely fitted and calibrated, and then she gets on with her life.
Problem solved? Well, maybe not entirely. Going in for an exam allowed her to catch her hearing loss early and that’s great. But, in the long run, follow-up care becomes almost more significant for individuals with even a small amount of hearing loss. Daphne would be doing herself a favor by keeping routine appointments. However, one study revealed that only around 33% of senior citizens with hearing aids get regular check-ups so Daphne isn’t alone.
If you already use hearing aids, why do you need check-ups?
Alright, remember our glasses metaphor? Daphne’s hearing won’t become static and stop changing just because she has hearing aids. Her hearing aids will need to be adjusted to account for those changes. Periodic testing helps keep track of any changes in hearing and catch issues early.
And there are other benefits to having regular hearing exams after you get hearing aids. Some of the most common reasons to make sure you get to your next check-up include:
- Hearing degeneration: Even with a hearing aid, your hearing may keep deteriorating. If this degeneration is slow enough, you probably won’t realize it’s happening without the assistance of a hearing test. Appropriate adjustments to your hearing aids can often slow hearing loss.
- Your fit may change: Because your ears are always changing, it’s entirely possible that how your hearing aids fit inside of your ears will change. Regular check-ups can help guarantee 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 general hearing may remain consistent, these slight changes may require you to get regular hearing examinations. Without this calibration, your hearing aids could slowly become less and less reliable.
Hazards and roadblocks
The greatest problem here is that eventually, the hearing aids Daphne is using will quit working the way they’re intended to, so she’ll get frustrated with them and stop wearing them entirely. Using hearing aids helps slow hearing loss over time. Your hearing will decline faster if you quit wearing your hearing aids and you most likely won’t even detect it.
If you want your hearing aids to continue working at an optimal level, regular exams are going to be your best bet in terms of attaining that. Annual hearing tests or screenings can help you make sure your hearing aids are working as they should and that your hearing remains protected.