You will still see your eye doctor every year even if you already wear eyeglasses. 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, just as it is with your eyes, it’s essential to keep getting your ears assessed even after you’ve purchased a nice pair of hearing aids.
Many individuals, regrettably, neglect those annual appointments. Perhaps they’ve been too busy enjoying their lives to get back in to see the doctor. Or, it could be that your job has been difficult lately. Or maybe you’ve just decided to not go back in because you’re so satisfied with your hearing aids. That should be a good thing, right?
Getting your hearing assessed
Let’s take Daphne as an imaginary example. Daphne has been noticing some red flags with her hearing for a while now. Her TV volume continues to get louder. When she goes out after work to a noisy restaurant, she has a hard time following discussions. And because she likes to take care of herself, and she’s smart, she schedules a hearing test.
Daphne makes certain to follow all of the instructions to manage her hearing impairment: she gets fitted for new hearing aids and has them properly calibrated, and then goes back to her normal routine.
Problem solved? Well, maybe not entirely. It’s great that Daphne went in for a hearing screening and caught her hearing problems early. But, in the long run, follow-up care becomes almost more important for individuals with even minor hearing loss. Daphne would be doing herself a favor by going to regular appointments. However, one study revealed that only around 33% of senior citizens with hearing aids get routine check-ups so Daphne isn’t by herself.
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 uses hearing aids. Her hearing aids will have to be fine-tuned to counter those changes. Any hearing changes can be recognized early with routine monitoring.
And that isn’t even the only reason why it may be a smart idea to keep regular appointments after you get your hearing aids. Some of the most common reasons to ensure you get to your next appointment include:
- Hearing aid calibration: While your overall hearing health may 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 efficient if you avoid this calibration.
- Hearing degeneration: Even with a hearing aid, your hearing could keep deteriorating. If this degeneration is slow enough, you probably won’t realize it’s happening without the help of a hearing exam. Correct alterations to your hearing aids can often slow hearing declines.
- 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 significant part of your regular check-ups.
Hazards and hurdles
The ultimate challenge 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 wearing them altogether. Wearing hearing aids helps slow hearing loss over time. If you quit using them, not only can your hearing diminish faster, you may not detect it right away.
If you want your hearing aids to continue working efficiently, routine exams are going to be your best option in terms of achieving that. Annual hearing assessments or screenings can help you make sure your hearing aids are functioning as they should and that your hearing remains protected.