Even if you have glasses (the type you put on your face, not the kind you fill with liquid), you still visit your eye doctor annually, right? Because your eyes change as time passes. Nothing in your body is fixed, not your eyes and not, it turns out, your ears either. That’s why, even after you’ve invested in hearing aids, it’s essential to consistently get your ears examined much like you would with your eyes.
Many people, regrettably, miss those annual appointments. Maybe a visit 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 satisfied with your hearing aids that you haven’t had a reason 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. Daphne has been noticing some red flags with her hearing for some time now. Her TV volume is getting louder and louder. She has problems following discussions at after-work happy hours in noisy restaurants. And because she likes to take care of herself, and she’s smart, she schedules a hearing exam.
After having her hearing examined, Daphne does everything she is supposed to: she buys hearing aids, which are then precisely fitted and calibrated, and then she goes on with her life.
Issue solved? Well, not quite. Going in for an exam allowed her to recognize her hearing loss early and that’s excellent. But, over time, follow-up care becomes even more important for individuals with even a small amount of hearing loss. Keeping up on routine appointments would be a smart plan for Daphne. But Daphne isn’t alone in avoiding check-ups, based on one study, just 33% of seniors with hearing aids also maintained routine hearing services.
If you already use 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 has hearing aids. It’s important to adjust the hearing aids to counter those changes. Any hearing changes can be discovered early with periodic monitoring.
And that’s not even the only reason why it might be a good idea to keep regular appointments after you have your hearing aids. Some of the most common reasons to make sure you get to your next check-up include:
- 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. Making certain your hearing aids continue to fit properly is a significant part of your regular check-ups.
- Hearing deterioration: Even with a hearing aid, your hearing may keep deteriorating. Frequently, this deterioration of your hearing is very slow and without regular examinations, you most likely won’t even notice it. Hearing loss can frequently be slowed by appropriately adjusting your hearing aids.
- Hearing aid calibration: Your hearing changes in slight ways, and while your general hearing may remain consistent, these small changes may require you to get regular hearing examinations. Your hearing aid may become less and less efficient if you skip this calibration.
Dangers and hurdles
The problem is, Daphne may, in her frustration, stop using her hearing aids altogether because they’re not working correctly. Using hearing aids helps slow down hearing loss over time. If you stop using them, not only can your hearing diminish faster, you may 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 option in terms of achieving that. Yearly hearing exams or screenings can help you make sure your hearing aids are functioning as they should and that your hearing stays protected.