You will still visit your eye doctor every year even if you already wear eyeglasses. Because, as time goes by, your eyes change. Nothing in your body is static, not your eyes and not, it turns out, your ears either. That’s why, even after you’ve invested in hearing aids, it’s important to continue to get your ears checked just like you would with your eyes.
Regrettably, many individuals skip those regular check-ups. Perhaps a trip to their doctor is taking a back seat to enjoying life. Or perhaps, work has been particularly stressful 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. That should be a good thing, right?
Scheduling a hearing test
Let’s use Daphne as our imaginary stand-in. For some time now, Daphne has detected some warning signs with her hearing. Her TV volume continues to get louder. When she goes out after work to a noisy restaurant, she has trouble following conversations. And so, she goes in to get her hearing checked (because she’s smart and she takes care of herself).
Daphne makes sure 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 gets on with her life.
Problem solved? Well, maybe not entirely. Going in for a screening allowed her to catch her hearing loss early and that’s great. But for most individuals with hearing impairment, even a minor one, follow-up care becomes even more significant in the long run. Maintaining regular appointments would be a wise plan for Daphne. But Daphne’s not alone in neglected check-ups, according to one study, just 33% of senior citizens with hearing aids also maintained routine hearing services.
Why do you need hearing exams after you get hearing aids?
Alright, remember our glasses metaphor? Daphne’s hearing won’t become static and stop changing just because she has hearing aids. Her hearing aids will need to be fine-tuned to counter those changes. Any hearing changes can be detected early with regular monitoring.
And there are other reasons for getting routine hearing exams after you get hearing aids. Some of the most common reasons to make sure you make it to your next appointment include:
- 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. Making sure your hearing aids continue to fit well is a significant part of your regular check-ups.
- Hearing aid calibration: Your hearing changes in slight ways, and while your general hearing may remain consistent, these small changes could require you to get regular hearing tests. Your hearing aid could become less and less efficient if you skip this calibration.
- Hearing deterioration: Even with a hearing aid, your hearing may continue to deteriorate. Frequently, this deterioration of your hearing is very slow and without regular screenings, you most likely won’t even recognize it. Hearing loss can often be slowed by correctly fine-tuning your hearing aids.
Dangers and hurdles
The problem is, Daphne could, in her frustration, quit using her hearing aids entirely because they’re not functioning properly. Over time, hearing loss can be slowed by wearing hearing aids. Your hearing will decline faster if you stop using your hearing aids and you probably won’t even detect it.
As far as achieving optimal performance of your hearing aids, and optimal hearing, routine hearing exams are vital. Annual hearing tests or screenings can help you be sure your hearing aids are working as they should and that your hearing stays protected.