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, as time passes, your eyes change. Nothing in your body is static, not your eyes and not, it turns out, your ears either. That’s why, even after you’ve purchased hearing aids, it’s essential to continue to have your ears checked just like you would with your eyes.
Many people, regrettably, miss those annual appointments. Maybe a visit to their doctor is taking a back seat to enjoying life. Or, it might be that your job has been hectic lately. Or perhaps, you’ve just been so happy with your hearing aids that you haven’t had a reason to go back in. That should be a good thing, right?
Scheduling a hearing exam
Let’s use Daphne as our fictional stand-in. Daphne has been noticing some red flags with her hearing for a while now. Her TV volume continues to get louder. She has problems understanding conversations at after-work happy hours in loud restaurants. And because she likes to take care of herself, and she’s intelligent, she schedules a hearing test.
After having her hearing assessed, Daphne does everything she is supposed to: she gets fitted for new hearing aids and has them precisely calibrated, and then gets back to her regular routine.
Problem solved? Well, yes and no. Going in for an exam allowed her to recognize her hearing loss early and that’s great. But, in the long run, follow-up care becomes almost more important for people with even a small amount of hearing loss. Keeping up on regular appointments would be a wise plan for Daphne. But Daphne isn’t alone in avoiding check-ups, based on one survey, just 33% of seniors using hearing aids also maintained routine hearing services.
If you already have hearing aids, why do you need regular hearing exams?
Alright, remember our glasses metaphor? Just because Daphne uses hearing aids now doesn’t mean her hearing will become fixed and stop changing. Her hearing aids will need to be adjusted to counter those changes. Routine testing helps monitor any changes in hearing and detect problems early.
And that’s not even the only reason why it might be a smart idea to keep routine appointments once you have your hearing aids. Here are a few of the most important reasons:
- Hearing deterioration: Your hearing may continue to deteriorate even if you have hearing aids. Often, this degeneration of your hearing is very gradual and without routine screenings, you probably won’t even recognize it. Correct adjustments to your hearing aids can often slow hearing declines.
- Your fit may change: It’s likely that there will be a shift in how your hearing aids fit as your ears are always changing. Regular hearing tests can help guarantee that your hearing aids continue to fit the way they’re designed to.
- Hearing aid calibration: Your hearing changes in slight ways, and while your overall hearing may remain consistent, these slight changes could require you to get regular hearing assessments. Your hearing aid may become less and less efficient if you avoid this calibration.
Hazards and roadblocks
The problem is, Daphne could, in her frustration, quit using her hearing aids entirely because they’re not functioning correctly. Using hearing aids helps slow hearing loss over time. Your hearing will deteriorate faster if you stop wearing your hearing aids and you probably won’t even notice it.
As far as attaining optimal performance of your hearing aids, and optimal hearing, regular hearing exams are vital. Safeguard your hearing and ensure your hearing aids are properly working by getting regular screenings.