Even if you have glasses (the kind you put on your face, not the kind you drink out of), you still see your eye doctor once a year, right? Because, as time goes by, your eyes change. 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 essential to keep getting your ears examined even after you’ve purchased a nice pair of hearing aids.
Regrettably, many people skip those regular check-ups. Maybe a visit to their doctor is taking a back seat to enjoying life. Or perhaps, work has been particularly stressful this year. Or maybe, you’ve just been so happy with your hearing aids that you haven’t felt the need to go back in. It seems like that would be good, right?
Getting your hearing tested
Let’s use Daphne as our imaginary stand-in. For some time now, Daphne has noted some symptoms associated with her hearing. Her TV volume is getting louder and louder. When she goes out after work to a noisy restaurant, she has a hard time following conversations. And so, she goes to have her hearing assessed (because she’s smart and she takes care of herself).
After getting her hearing checked, Daphne does everything she is supposed to: she purchases hearing aids, which are then properly fitted and calibrated, and then she gets on with her life.
Issue solved? Well, yes and no. It’s great that Daphne went in for a hearing test and discovered her hearing problems early. But, in the long run, follow-up care becomes almost more important for individuals with even minor hearing loss. Keeping up on routine appointments would be a smart plan for Daphne. But Daphne isn’t alone in neglected check-ups, based on one survey, only 33% of seniors with hearing aids also maintained regular hearing services.
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 static and stop changing just because she uses hearing aids. It’s important to fine-tune the hearing aids to deal with those changes. Any hearing changes can be recognized early with periodic monitoring.
And that isn’t even the only reason why it may be a good idea to keep routine appointments once you have your hearing aids. Here are a few of the most important reasons:
- Your fit may change: Because your hearing is always changing, it’s entirely possible that how your hearing aids fit inside of your ears will shift. Regular check-ups can help ensure that your hearing aids continue to fit the way they’re designed to.
- Hearing deterioration: Your hearing could continue to deteriorate even if you use hearing aids. If this degeneration is slow enough, you probably won’t realize it’s happening without the assistance of a hearing test. Proper alterations to your hearing aids can often slow hearing declines.
- Hearing aid calibration: Your hearing changes in small ways, and while your overall hearing may remain consistent, these small changes could require you to get regular hearing tests. Your hearing aid could become less and less effective if you avoid this calibration.
Dangers and hurdles
The issue is, Daphne could, in her frustration, stop using her hearing aids entirely because they’re not working properly. Over time, hearing loss can be slowed by using hearing aids. If you quit wearing them, not only can your hearing deteriorate faster, you might not notice it right away.
If you want your hearing aids to keep working at an optimal level, routine check-ups are going to be your best option in terms of achieving that. Annual hearing assessments or screenings can help you ensure your hearing aids are working as they should and that your hearing remains protected.