You will still see your eye doctor yearly even if you already wear eyeglasses. Because, over time, your eyes change. Nothing in your body is static, not your eyes and not, as it happens, your ears either. That’s why, even after you’ve purchased hearing aids, it’s imperative to continue to have your ears checked just like you would with your eyes.
Many people, regrettably, skip those annual appointments. Perhaps a trip to their doctor is taking a back seat to enjoying life. Or, it may be that your job has been stressful lately. Or perhaps you’ve simply decided to not go back in because you’re so pleased with your hearing aids. That’s a good thing, right?
Getting your hearing assessed
Let’s take Daphne as an imaginary example. For some time now, Daphne has noted some symptoms associated with her hearing. She keeps turning the TV up. She has problems understanding conversations at after-work happy hours in noisy restaurants. And so, she goes in to have her hearing checked (because she’s smart and she takes care of herself).
Daphne makes certain to follow all of the instructions to manage her hearing impairment: she gets fitted for new hearing aids and has them precisely calibrated, and then gets back to her normal routine.
Issue solved? Well, not quite. It’s great that Daphne went in for a hearing test and discovered her hearing problems early. But for most individuals with hearing impairment, even a minor one, follow-up care becomes even more vital in the long run. Keeping up on routine appointments would be a smart idea for Daphne. However, one study revealed that only about 33% of senior citizens with hearing aids get regular check-ups so Daphne isn’t by herself.
If you already use hearing aids, why do you need check-ups?
Alright, remember our glasses metaphor? Just because Daphne has hearing aids now doesn’t mean her hearing will become static and stop changing. Her hearing aids will have to be fine-tuned to counter those changes. Any hearing changes can be identified early with routine monitoring.
And that isn’t even the only reason why it may be a smart idea to keep routine appointments once you have your hearing aids. Some of the most common reasons to ensure you get to your next check-up include:
- Hearing degeneration: Your hearing may continue to worsen even if you use hearing aids. If this degeneration is slow enough, you probably won’t recognize it’s happening without the aid of a hearing test. Hearing decline can often be slowed by properly fine-tuning your hearing aids.
- Hearing aid calibration: Your hearing changes in small ways, and while your overall hearing may remain consistent, these small changes may require you to get regular hearing assessments. Your hearing aid could become less and less effective if you skip this calibration.
- Your fit may change: It’s possible that there will be a shift in how your hearing aids fit as your ears are always changing. Routine check-ups can help ensure that your hearing aids continue to fit the way they’re supposed to.
Dangers and hurdles
The greatest concern 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.
As far as attaining efficient performance of your hearing aids, and optimal hearing, regular hearing exams are essential. Annual hearing assessments or screenings can help you make sure your hearing aids are working as they should and that your hearing remains protected.