Even if you use glasses (the type you put on your face, not the kind you fill with liquid), you still visit your eye doctor once a year, right? Because, as time passes, your eyes change. Nothing in your body is fixed, not your eyes and not, it turns out, your ears either. That’s why, much like your eyes, it’s crucial to keep getting your ears examined even after you’ve invested in a nice pair of hearing aids.
Many people, unfortunately, miss those annual appointments. Maybe a trip to their doctor is taking a back seat to enjoying life. Or maybe, work has been especially stressful this year. Or maybe you’ve just decided to not go back in because you’re so happy with your hearing aids. That should be a good thing, right?
Scheduling a hearing assessment
Let’s use Daphne as our fictional stand-in. Daphne has been noticing some red flags with her hearing for a while now. She keeps increasing the volume on her TV. She has a hard time following conversations at after-work happy hours in noisy restaurants. And because she likes to take care of herself, and she’s smart, she schedules a hearing test.
Daphne makes sure to follow all of the instructions to manage her hearing impairment: she purchases hearing aids, which are then properly fitted and calibrated, and then she gets on with her life.
Problem solved? Well, not quite. It’s fantastic that Daphne went in for a hearing exam and discovered her hearing problems early. But for most people with hearing loss, even a minor one, follow-up care becomes even more important in the long run. Maintaining regular appointments would be a wise plan for Daphne. But Daphne’s not alone in neglected check-ups, according to one study, only 33% of senior citizens using hearing aids also scheduled routine hearing services.
Why do you need hearing exams once you have hearing aids?
Remember when we used the glasses metaphor earlier? Just because Daphne uses hearing aids now doesn’t mean her hearing will become static and stop changing. Her hearing aids will have to be adjusted to account for those changes. Periodic testing helps monitor any changes in hearing and catch problems early.
And there are other reasons for getting regular hearing assessments once you get hearing aids. Some of the most common reasons to make sure 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 produce the need for annual calibration of your hearing aid. Without this calibration, your hearing aids could slowly become less and less effective.
- Your fit may change: It’s possible that there will be a shift in how 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 exam.
- Hearing degeneration: Even with a hearing aid, your hearing may keep deteriorating. If this degeneration is slow enough, you most likely won’t realize it’s happening without the aid of a hearing exam. Hearing loss can frequently be slowed by properly adjusting your hearing aids.
Dangers and hurdles
The ultimate concern here is that sooner or later, the hearing aids Daphne is wearing will stop working the way they’re meant to, so she’ll get frustrated with them and stop using them entirely. Over time, hearing loss can be slowed by using hearing aids. If you quit wearing 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, regular check-ups are going to be your best bet in terms of attaining that. Annual hearing tests or screenings can help you ensure your hearing aids are working as they should and that your hearing stays protected.