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 annually, right? Because, as time passes, your eyes change. Nothing in your body is static, not your eyes and not, it turns out, your ears either. That’s why, even after you’ve purchased hearing aids, it’s imperative to consistently get your ears tested much like you would with your eyes.
Regrettably, many individuals miss those regular check-ups. Maybe a trip to their doctor is taking a back seat to enjoying life. Or perhaps, work has been particularly stressful this year. Or perhaps you’ve simply decided to not go back in because you’re so happy with your hearing aids. That’s a good thing, right?
Scheduling a hearing exam
Let’s use Daphne as our fictional stand-in. For some time now, Daphne has noted some symptoms with her hearing. Her TV volume continues to get louder. When she goes out after work to a loud restaurant, she has difficulty following conversations. And so, she goes to have her hearing tested (because she’s intelligent and she takes care of herself).
After getting her hearing assessed, Daphne does everything she is supposed to: she purchases hearing aids, which are then correctly fitted and calibrated, and then she gets on with her life.
Issue solved? Well, not quite. Going in for an exam allowed her to recognize her hearing loss early and that’s great. But for most people with hearing impairment, even a small one, follow-up care becomes even more important in the long run. Keeping up on routine appointments would be a wise idea for Daphne. However, one study found that only about 33% of seniors with hearing aids get routine check-ups so Daphne isn’t by herself.
If you already have hearing aids, why do you need regular hearing exams?
Remember when we used the glasses metaphor earlier? Just because Daphne has hearing aids now doesn’t mean her hearing will become fixed and stop changing. Her hearing aids will need to be adjusted to account for those changes. Any hearing changes can be discovered early with routine monitoring.
And there are other reasons for having routine hearing exams once you get hearing aids. Some of the most common reasons to ensure you get to your next check-up include:
- Your fit may change: It’s possible that there will be a change in how your hearing aids fit as your ears are always changing. Making sure your hearing aids continue to fit well is a big part of your regular exam.
- 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. Your hearing aid may become less and less reliable if you skip this calibration.
- Hearing degeneration: Your hearing could continue to deteriorate even if you use hearing aids. Often, this deterioration of your hearing is very slow and without routine examinations, you probably won’t even detect it. Appropriate adjustments to your hearing aids can often slow hearing declines.
Hazards and hurdles
The main problem here is that eventually, the hearing aids Daphne is wearing will quit working the way they’re intended to, so she’ll get frustrated with them and stop wearing them entirely. Wearing hearing aids helps slow hearing loss over time. If you quit wearing them, not only can your hearing diminish faster, you might not detect it right away.
When it comes to achieving optimal performance of your hearing aids, and optimal hearing, routine hearing assessments are vital. Annual hearing assessments or screenings can help you be sure your hearing aids are functioning as they should and that your hearing stays protected.