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. 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 having your ears assessed even after you’ve purchased a nice pair of hearing aids.
Unfortunately, many people miss those regular check-ups. Maybe a trip to their doctor is taking a back seat to enjoying life. Or maybe, work has been particularly difficult this year. Or maybe, you’ve just been so satisfied with your hearing aids that you haven’t felt the need to go back in. That’s a good thing, right?
Getting your hearing examined
Let’s use Daphne as our imaginary stand-in. For quite a while, Daphne has noted some warning signs with her hearing. She keeps turning the TV up. She has problems understanding discussions at after-work happy hours in loud restaurants. And because she likes to take care of herself, and she’s smart, she schedules a hearing test.
After having her hearing checked, Daphne does everything she is supposed to: she gets fitted for new hearing aids and has them properly calibrated, and then gets back to her regular routine.
Issue solved? Well, maybe not completely. It’s fantastic that Daphne went in for a hearing exam and caught her hearing problems early. But for most individuals with hearing impairment, even a minor one, follow-up care becomes almost more vital in the long run. Daphne would be doing herself a favor by keeping regular appointments. However, one study revealed that only about 33% of senior citizens with hearing aids get routine check-ups so Daphne isn’t alone.
If you already have hearing aids, why do you need regular hearing exams?
Okay, remember our glasses metaphor? Just because Daphne uses hearing aids now doesn’t mean her hearing will become static and stop changing. It’s essential to adjust the hearing aids to deal with those changes. Any hearing changes can be identified early with regular monitoring.
And there are other benefits to getting routine hearing exams once you get hearing aids. Here are a few of the most significant reasons:
- Hearing degeneration: Even with a hearing aid, your hearing could keep deteriorating. If this degeneration is slow enough, you most likely won’t notice it’s happening without the help of a hearing test. Hearing loss can often be slowed by properly fine-tuning your hearing aids.
- Your fit may change: Because your hearing is always changing, it’s very possible that the way your hearing aids fit around and in your ears will shift. Making certain your hearing aids continue to fit properly is a big part of your regular exam.
- Hearing aid calibration: Your hearing changes in slight ways, and while your overall hearing may remain stable, these small changes could require you to get regular hearing examinations. Without this calibration, your hearing aids may slowly become less and less reliable.
Dangers and roadblocks
The ultimate challenge here is that sooner or later, the hearing aids Daphne is wearing will quit working the way they’re meant to, so she’ll get frustrated with them and stop wearing them entirely. Over time, hearing loss can be slowed by wearing hearing aids. If you quit wearing them, not only can your hearing diminish faster, you may not notice it right away.
When it comes to achieving efficient performance of your hearing aids, and optimal hearing, regular hearing assessments are vital. Annual hearing assessments or screenings can help you be sure your hearing aids are working as they should and that your hearing stays protected.