Even if you have glasses (the type you put on your face, not the kind you drink out of), you still visit your eye doctor annually, right? Because your eyes change over time. Similar to the rest of your body, your eyes aren’t fixed and neither are your ears. That’s why, much like your eyes, it’s essential to keep getting your ears tested even after you’ve purchased a quality pair of hearing aids.
Many people, regrettably, skip those yearly appointments. Maybe a trip to their doctor is taking a back seat to enjoying life. Or, it may be that your job has been hectic lately. Or maybe you’ve simply decided to not go back in because you’re so happy with your hearing aids. That’s a good thing, right?
Getting your hearing assessed
Let’s take Daphne as a fictional example. Daphne has been observing some red flags related to her hearing for a while now. She keeps turning the TV up. She has problems understanding conversations at after-work happy hours in loud restaurants. And so, she goes in to have her hearing checked (because she’s intelligent and she takes care of herself).
Daphne makes certain to follow all of the instructions to manage her hearing impairment: she buys hearing aids, which are then correctly fitted and calibrated, and then she gets on with her life.
Problem solved? Well, maybe not entirely. Going in for a screening allowed her to recognize her hearing loss early and that’s excellent. But for most people with hearing impairment, even a small one, follow-up care becomes even more vital in the long run. Daphne would be doing herself a favor by going to routine appointments. But Daphne isn’t alone in avoiding check-ups, according to one study, just 33% of senior citizens with hearing aids also scheduled regular hearing services.
If you already use hearing aids, why do you need regular hearing exams?
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 adjusted to account for those changes. Any hearing changes can be recognized early with regular monitoring.
And that isn’t even the only reason why it might be a good idea to keep routine appointments once you get your hearing aids. Here are some of the most important reasons:
- 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 shift. Regular hearing tests can help ensure that your hearing aids continue to fit the way they’re designed to.
- Hearing degeneration: Your hearing could continue to deteriorate even if you have hearing aids. If this degeneration is slow enough, you probably won’t realize it’s happening without the assistance of a hearing screening. Hearing loss can often be slowed by appropriately adjusting your hearing aids.
- Hearing aid calibration: While your general hearing health may continue to be stable, slight changes in your hearing might create the need for annual calibration of your hearing aid. Without this calibration, your hearing aids could slowly become less and less useful.
Dangers and hurdles
The issue is, Daphne could, in her frustration, quit using her hearing aids entirely because they’re not functioning correctly. Using hearing aids helps slow down hearing loss over time. Your hearing will decline faster if you quit using your hearing aids and you most likely won’t even detect it.
As far as attaining efficient performance of your hearing aids, and optimal hearing, regular hearing exams are vital. Annual hearing exams or screenings can help you make sure your hearing aids are working as they should and that your hearing stays protected.