You will still visit your eye doctor every year even if you already wear eyeglasses. Because your eyes change over time. Nothing in your body is fixed, not your eyes and not, as it happens, your ears either. That’s why, even after you’ve purchased hearing aids, it’s important to consistently have your ears examined much like you would with your eyes.
Many people, regrettably, neglect those yearly appointments. Perhaps a visit to their doctor is taking a back seat to enjoying life. Or perhaps, work has been especially stressful this year. Or maybe you’ve just decided not to go back in because you’re so happy with your hearing aids. It seems as if that would be good, right?
Getting your hearing tested
Let’s take Daphne as an imaginary example. For some time now, Daphne has detected some symptoms associated with her hearing. Her TV volume is getting louder and louder. When she goes out after work to a loud restaurant, she has a hard time following discussions. And so, she goes to have her hearing tested (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 goes back to her regular routine.
Problem solved? Well, yes and no. It’s great that Daphne went in for a hearing exam and discovered her hearing problems early. But, over time, follow-up care becomes almost more important for people with even a small amount of hearing loss. Daphne would be doing herself a favor by maintaining regular appointments. However, one study found that only around 33% of senior citizens with hearing aids get regular check-ups so Daphne isn’t alone.
Why do you need hearing exams after you have hearing aids?
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 need to be adjusted to counter those changes. Regular testing helps monitor any changes in hearing and detect problems early.
And that’s not even the only reason why it may be a good idea to keep regular appointments once you have your hearing aids. Some of the most common reasons to ensure you get to your next appointment include:
- Hearing aid calibration: Your hearing changes in small ways, and while your overall hearing may remain consistent, these slight changes could require you to get regular hearing tests. Your hearing aid could become less and less effective if you skip this calibration.
- Hearing deterioration: Even with a hearing aid, your hearing may keep deteriorating. Often, this degeneration of your hearing is very slow and without routine examinations, you most likely won’t even detect it. Appropriate alterations to your hearing aids can often slow hearing loss.
- Your fit may change: Because your hearing is always changing, it’s very possible that how your hearing aids fit inside of your ears will shift. Making certain your hearing aids continue to fit well is a significant part of your regular exam.
Dangers and hurdles
The problem is, Daphne could, in her frustration, quit using her hearing aids entirely because they’re not working properly. Using hearing aids helps slow down hearing loss over time. If you stop wearing them, not only can your hearing deteriorate faster, you might not detect it right away.
As far as achieving optimal performance of your hearing aids, and optimal hearing, routine hearing assessments are essential. Annual hearing assessments or screenings can help you be sure your hearing aids are working as they should and that your hearing stays protected.