You will still see your eye doctor annually even if you already use eyeglasses. Because, over time, your eyes change. Nothing in your body is static, not your eyes and not, it turns out, your ears either. That’s why, just as it is with your eyes, it’s crucial to keep having your ears checked even after you’ve invested in a nice pair of hearing aids.
Many people, unfortunately, skip those annual appointments. Maybe they’ve been too busy enjoying their lives to get back in to see your physician. Or, it may be that your job has been hectic lately. Or maybe you’ve just decided not to go back in because you’re so happy with your hearing aids. That’s a good thing, right?
Scheduling a hearing exam
Let’s take Daphne as an imaginary example. Daphne has been noticing some red flags associated with her hearing for a while now. Her TV volume continues to get louder. When she goes out after work to a loud restaurant, she has trouble following discussions. And because she enjoys taking care of herself, and she’s smart, she schedules a hearing exam.
After getting her hearing tested, Daphne does everything she’s supposed to: she purchases hearing aids, which are then properly fitted and calibrated, and then she gets on with her life.
Issue solved? Well, maybe not entirely. It’s great that Daphne went in for a hearing screening and discovered her hearing problems early. But, in the long run, follow-up care becomes even more important for individuals with even minor hearing loss. Daphne would be doing herself a favor by going to regular appointments. However, one study revealed that only around 33% of seniors with hearing aids get regular check-ups so Daphne isn’t by herself.
If you already use hearing aids, why do you need regular hearing exams?
Alright, remember our glasses metaphor? Daphne’s hearing won’t become fixed and stop changing just because she has hearing aids. It’s necessary to fine-tune the hearing aids to counter those changes. Any hearing changes can be identified early with routine monitoring.
And there are other reasons for having regular hearing exams 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 overall hearing may remain consistent, these slight changes could require you to get regular hearing examinations. Your hearing aid may become less and less reliable if you skip this calibration.
- Hearing degeneration: Your hearing may continue to worsen even if you use hearing aids. If this deterioration is slow enough, you probably won’t realize it’s happening without the help of a hearing test. Proper adjustments to your hearing aids can often slow hearing declines.
- Your fit may change: It’s possible that there will be a shift in the way your hearing aids fit as your ears are always changing. Regular hearing tests can help ensure that your hearing aids continue to fit the way they’re supposed to.
Dangers and roadblocks
The greatest concern here is that eventually, the hearing aids Daphne is wearing will quit working the way they’re intended to, so she’ll get frustrated with them and stop using them entirely. Over time, hearing loss can be slowed by wearing hearing aids. If you stop using them, not only can your hearing diminish faster, you may not detect it right away.
As far as achieving optimal performance of your hearing aids, and optimal hearing, routine hearing exams are essential. Protect your hearing and make sure your hearing aids are effectively working by getting routine screenings.