You will still see your eye doctor annually 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 invested in hearing aids, it’s imperative to continue to have your ears tested much like you would with your eyes.
Many individuals, regrettably, skip those yearly appointments. Maybe they’ve been too occupied enjoying their lives to get back in to see the doctor. Or, it could be that your job has been hectic lately. Or perhaps you’ve just decided to not go back in because you’re so satisfied with your hearing aids. That’s a good thing, right?
Scheduling a hearing exam
Let’s take Daphne as an imaginary example. For some time now, Daphne has detected some warning signs with her hearing. Her TV volume is getting louder and louder. When she goes out after work to a loud restaurant, she has difficulty following conversations. And so, she goes in to have her hearing assessed (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 purchases hearing aids, which are then properly fitted and calibrated, and then she goes on with her life.
Problem solved? Well, yes and no. It’s fantastic that Daphne went in for a hearing exam and caught her hearing issues early. But for most people with hearing loss, even a minor one, follow-up care becomes even more vital in the long run. Daphne would be doing herself a favor by going to regular appointments. However, one study revealed that only around 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?
Remember when we used the glasses metaphor earlier? Daphne’s hearing won’t become fixed and stop changing just because she has hearing aids. It’s important to adjust the hearing aids to deal with those changes. Any hearing changes can be identified early with routine monitoring.
And there are other reasons for getting regular hearing assessments after you get hearing aids. Here are some of the most significant reasons:
- Hearing aid calibration: Your hearing changes in slight ways, and while your general hearing may remain consistent, these small changes may require you to get regular hearing examinations. Without this calibration, your hearing aids may slowly become less and less useful.
- Hearing deterioration: Even with a hearing aid, your hearing could continue to deteriorate. Often, this degeneration of your hearing is very gradual and without routine screenings, you probably won’t even recognize it. Hearing loss can frequently be slowed by appropriately fine-tuning your hearing aids.
- Your fit may change: Because your ears are always changing, it’s quite possible that the way your hearing aids fit around and in your ears will change. Making sure your hearing aids continue to fit well is a significant part of your regular exam.
Hazards and hurdles
The problem is, Daphne may, in her frustration, quit using her hearing aids entirely because they’re not working correctly. Over time, hearing loss can be slowed by using hearing aids. If you quit using them, not only can your hearing deteriorate faster, you might not notice it right away.
As far as attaining optimal performance of your hearing aids, and optimal hearing, routine hearing exams are vital. Annual hearing tests or screenings can help you make sure your hearing aids are working as they should and that your hearing stays protected.