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 once a year, right? Because your eyes change over time. Similar to the rest of your body, your eyes aren’t static and neither are your ears. That’s why, even after you’ve purchased hearing aids, it’s essential to continue to get your ears tested much like you would with your eyes.
Many people, regrettably, skip those annual 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 difficult lately. Or perhaps you’ve just decided to not go back in because you’re so pleased with your hearing aids. It seems as if that would be good, right?
Scheduling a hearing exam
Let’s use Daphne as our imaginary stand-in. Daphne has been observing some red flags associated with her hearing for a while now. Her TV volume is getting louder and louder. She has problems understanding discussions at after-work happy hours in noisy restaurants. And so, she goes to have her hearing checked (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 gets fitted for new hearing aids and has them properly calibrated, and then gets back to her normal routine.
Problem solved? Well, yes and no. Going in for an exam allowed her to catch her hearing loss early and that’s great. But for most people with hearing impairment, even a minor one, follow-up care becomes even more significant in the long run. Keeping up on routine appointments would be a wise idea for Daphne. However, one study revealed that only about 33% of senior citizens with hearing aids get routine check-ups so Daphne isn’t by herself.
If you already have hearing aids, why do you need check-ups?
Alright, remember our glasses metaphor? Daphne’s hearing won’t become fixed and stop changing just because she uses hearing aids. Her hearing aids will need to be fine-tuned to account for those changes. Regular testing helps keep track of any changes in hearing and detect problems early.
And there are other reasons for having regular hearing exams after you get hearing aids. Some of the most prevailing reasons to make sure you get to your next appointment include:
- Your fit may change: Because your ears are always changing, it’s very possible that how your hearing aids fit inside of your ears will change. Routine hearing tests can help ensure that your hearing aids continue to fit the way they’re supposed to.
- Hearing deterioration: Even with a hearing aid, your hearing could keep deteriorating. Often, this degeneration of your hearing is quite gradual and without routine examinations, you most likely won’t even notice it. Appropriate alterations to your hearing aids can frequently slow hearing declines.
- Hearing aid calibration: While your overall hearing health might continue to be stable, slight 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 reliable.
Hazards and roadblocks
The ultimate 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 altogether. Using hearing aids helps slow down hearing loss over time. Your hearing will decline faster if you stop wearing your hearing aids and you probably won’t even notice it.
As far as attaining optimal performance of your hearing aids, and optimal hearing, regular hearing exams are vital. Yearly hearing tests or screenings can help you make sure your hearing aids are functioning as they should and that your hearing remains protected.