You will still see your eye doctor every year even if you already use eyeglasses. Because your eyes change as time passes. 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 imperative to continue to have your ears assessed much like you would with your eyes.
Unfortunately, many people miss those routine check-ups. Perhaps a visit to their doctor is taking a back seat to enjoying life. Or maybe, work has been especially difficult this year. Or perhaps you’ve just decided not to go back in because you’re so satisfied with your hearing aids. That’s a good thing, right?
Getting your hearing tested
Let’s use Daphne as our fictional stand-in. For quite a while, Daphne has noted some symptoms connected to her hearing. Her TV volume continues to get louder. When she goes out after work to a noisy restaurant, she has trouble following discussions. And so, she goes in to have her hearing tested (because she’s intelligent and she takes care of herself).
Daphne makes sure 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 goes back to her normal routine.
Problem solved? Well, maybe not entirely. It’s great that Daphne went in for a hearing screening and caught her hearing problems early. But for most individuals with hearing impairment, even a minor one, follow-up care becomes almost more important in the long run. Keeping up on regular appointments would be a wise idea for Daphne. But Daphne isn’t alone in avoiding check-ups, based on one study, just 33% of seniors using hearing aids also scheduled routine hearing services.
Why do you need check-ups after you get hearing aids?
Remember when we used the glasses metaphor earlier? Daphne’s hearing won’t become static and stop changing just because she has hearing aids. Her hearing aids will have to be adjusted to account for those changes. Periodic testing helps keep track of any changes in hearing and catch issues early.
And that’s not even the only reason why it might be a good idea to keep regular appointments after you get your hearing aids. Here are some of the most important reasons:
- Hearing aid calibration: While your overall hearing health may remain stable, small changes in your hearing might produce the need for yearly calibration of your hearing aid. Without this calibration, your hearing aids could slowly become less and less effective.
- Hearing deterioration: Even with a hearing aid, your hearing could keep deteriorating. If this deterioration is slow enough, you most likely won’t recognize it’s happening without the aid of a hearing screening. Hearing loss can often be slowed by correctly fine-tuning your hearing aids.
- Your fit may change: Because your ears are always changing, it’s entirely possible that how your hearing aids fit inside of your ears will change. Regular hearing tests can help guarantee that your hearing aids keep fitting the way they’re supposed to.
Hazards and roadblocks
The main concern here is that eventually, the hearing aids Daphne is using will stop working the way they’re intended to, so she’ll get frustrated with them and stop wearing them altogether. Using hearing aids helps slow down hearing loss over time. Your hearing will decline faster if you quit 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, 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 remains protected.