Even if you have glasses (the type you put on your face, not the kind you drink out of), you still see your eye doctor annually, right? Because your eyes change over time. 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 crucial to keep having your ears assessed even after you’ve invested in a nice pair of hearing aids.
Regrettably, many people skip those routine check-ups. Maybe they’ve been too occupied enjoying their lives to get back in to see your physician. Or maybe, work has been especially hectic this year. Or maybe you’ve simply decided to not go back in because you’re so pleased with your hearing aids. It seems like that would be good, right?
Getting your hearing examined
Let’s take Daphne as a fictional example. For quite a while, Daphne has noted some symptoms connected to her hearing. She keeps turning the TV up. She has a hard time understanding conversations at after-work happy hours in loud restaurants. And so, she goes in to have her hearing tested (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 gets fitted for new hearing aids and has them correctly calibrated, and then goes back to her normal routine.
Problem solved? Well, maybe not entirely. Going in for a screening allowed her to recognize her hearing loss early and that’s excellent. But, in the long run, follow-up care becomes almost more significant for people with even minor hearing loss. Maintaining routine appointments would be a smart idea for Daphne. However, one study revealed that only about 33% of seniors with hearing aids get routine check-ups so Daphne isn’t alone.
If you already use hearing aids, why do you need regular hearing exams?
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 need to be adjusted to account for those changes. Any hearing changes can be identified early with periodic monitoring.
And there are other benefits to getting regular hearing assessments once you get hearing aids. Some of the most prevailing reasons to make sure you get to your next appointment include:
- Hearing degeneration: Your hearing may continue to deteriorate even if you use hearing aids. If this deterioration is slow enough, you probably won’t recognize it’s happening without the assistance of a hearing screening. Correct adjustments to your hearing aids can frequently slow hearing loss.
- Hearing aid calibration: Your hearing changes in small ways, and while your overall hearing may remain stable, these slight changes may require you to get regular hearing assessments. 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 the way 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 check-ups.
Dangers and hurdles
The problem is, Daphne may, in her frustration, stop 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 probably won’t even detect it.
As far as achieving optimal performance of your hearing aids, and optimal hearing, regular hearing exams are essential. Yearly hearing exams or screenings can help you be sure your hearing aids are functioning as they should and that your hearing remains protected.