Even if you have glasses (the type you put on your face, not the kind you drink out of), you still visit your eye doctor yearly, right? Because your eyes change over time. Like the rest of your body, your eyes aren’t fixed and neither are your ears. That’s why, much like your eyes, it’s crucial to keep getting your ears examined even after you’ve purchased a nice pair of hearing aids.
Many individuals, unfortunately, neglect those annual appointments. Perhaps they’ve been too busy enjoying their lives to get back in to see your physician. Or perhaps, work has been especially difficult this year. Or perhaps, you’ve just been so pleased with your hearing aids that you haven’t felt the need to go back in. It seems like that would be good, right?
Scheduling a hearing exam
Let’s use Daphne as our fictional stand-in. For quite a while, Daphne has detected some warning signs connected to her hearing. She keeps turning the TV up. When she goes out after work to a noisy restaurant, she has a hard time following conversations. And because she likes to take care of herself, and she’s smart, she schedules a hearing assessment.
Daphne makes certain to follow all of the instructions to manage her hearing impairment: she buys hearing aids, which are then properly fitted and calibrated, and then she gets on with her life.
Problem solved? Well, yes and no. Going in for a screening allowed her to recognize her hearing loss early and that’s excellent. But for most individuals with hearing impairment, even a small one, follow-up care becomes even more vital in the long run. Keeping up on routine appointments would be a wise plan for Daphne. However, one study revealed that only about 33% of senior citizens with hearing aids get routine check-ups so Daphne isn’t by herself.
If you already have hearing aids, why do you need check-ups?
Alright, remember our glasses metaphor? Daphne’s hearing won’t become static and stop changing just because she uses hearing aids. Her hearing aids will have to be fine-tuned to account for those changes. Any hearing changes can be discovered early with periodic monitoring.
And that’s not even the only reason why it may be a smart idea to keep routine appointments once you get your hearing aids. Some of the most prevailing reasons to make sure you make it to your next check-up include:
- Hearing aid calibration: Your hearing changes in slight ways, and while your general hearing may remain consistent, these slight changes could require you to get regular hearing assessments. Your hearing aid may become less and less effective if you avoid this calibration.
- Your fit may change: Because your ears are always changing, it’s very possible that the way your hearing aids fit inside of your ears will shift. Making certain your hearing aids continue to fit properly is a significant part of your regular check-ups.
- Hearing degeneration: Your hearing could continue to deteriorate even if you use hearing aids. Frequently, this degeneration of your hearing is quite gradual and without routine screenings, you probably won’t even notice it. Hearing decline can often be slowed by appropriately fine-tuning your hearing aids.
Dangers and roadblocks
The main challenge here is that eventually, the hearing aids Daphne is using will stop working the way they’re meant to, so she’ll get frustrated with them and stop using them altogether. Wearing hearing aids helps slow hearing loss over time. If you quit using them, not only can your hearing diminish faster, you may not detect it right away.
In terms of achieving optimal performance of your hearing aids, and optimal hearing, routine hearing assessments are essential. Yearly hearing exams or screenings can help you be sure your hearing aids are functioning as they should and that your hearing stays protected.