Even if you use glasses (the type you put on your face, not the kind you drink out of), you still see your eye doctor yearly, right? Because your eyes change over time. Nothing in your body is fixed, not your eyes and not, it turns out, your ears either. That’s why, just as it is with your eyes, it’s essential to keep getting your ears examined even after you’ve invested in a nice pair of hearing aids.
Unfortunately, many individuals skip those routine check-ups. Maybe they’ve been too busy enjoying their lives to get back in to see the doctor. Or perhaps, work has been especially difficult this year. Or perhaps you’ve simply decided not to go back in because you’re so satisfied with your hearing aids. That should be a good thing, right?
Getting your hearing assessed
Let’s use Daphne as our fictional stand-in. Daphne has been noticing some red flags related to her hearing for some time now. Her TV volume is getting louder and louder. When she goes out after work to a noisy restaurant, she has difficulty following conversations. And so, she goes in to have her hearing assessed (because she’s intelligent 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 goes on with her life.
Problem solved? Well, not quite. Going in for an exam allowed her to recognize her hearing loss early and that’s excellent. But for most individuals with hearing loss, even a minor one, follow-up care becomes even more significant in the long run. Maintaining routine appointments would be a smart idea for Daphne. However, one study found that only around 33% of senior citizens with hearing aids get regular check-ups so Daphne isn’t alone.
If you already use hearing aids, why do you need check-ups?
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 fine-tune the hearing aids to deal with those changes. Any hearing changes can be identified early with routine monitoring.
And that’s not 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 make sure you make it to your next appointment include:
- 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. Routine check-ups can help ensure that your hearing aids keep fitting the way they’re designed to.
- Hearing aid calibration: Your hearing changes in small 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 could slowly become less and less useful.
- Hearing deterioration: Even with a hearing aid, your hearing may keep deteriorating. If this deterioration is slow enough, you probably won’t recognize it’s happening without the assistance of a hearing test. Proper adjustments to your hearing aids can often slow hearing declines.
Hazards and roadblocks
The issue is, Daphne could, in her frustration, quit using her hearing aids entirely because they’re not functioning correctly. Over time, hearing loss can be slowed by wearing hearing aids. If you stop using 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, regular exams are going to be your best bet in terms of attaining that. Yearly hearing exams or screenings can help you ensure your hearing aids are functioning as they should and that your hearing remains protected.