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 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 checked even after you’ve purchased a nice pair of hearing aids.
Regrettably, many people miss those regular check-ups. Perhaps they’ve been too occupied enjoying their lives to get back in to see your physician. Or perhaps, work has been especially stressful this year. Or maybe, you’ve just been so satisfied with your hearing aids that you haven’t felt the need to go back in. That’s a good thing, right?
Getting your hearing tested
Let’s use Daphne as our imaginary stand-in. Daphne has been observing some red flags related to her hearing for a while now. She keeps increasing the volume on her TV. She has problems following conversations at after-work happy hours in noisy restaurants. And because she likes to take care of herself, and she’s intelligent, she schedules a hearing test.
After getting her hearing checked, Daphne does everything she’s supposed to: she purchases hearing aids, which are then precisely fitted and calibrated, and then she goes on with her life.
Issue 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 loss, even a minor one, follow-up care becomes even more significant in the long run. Daphne would be doing herself a favor by keeping regular appointments. But Daphne’s not alone in neglected check-ups, according to one study, just 33% of seniors with hearing aids also scheduled routine hearing services.
If you already use hearing aids, why do you need check-ups?
Okay, remember our glasses metaphor? Daphne’s hearing won’t become static and stop changing just because she has hearing aids. It’s essential to adjust the hearing aids to counter those changes. Regular testing helps track any changes in hearing and catch problems early.
And that isn’t even the only reason why it may be a smart idea to keep regular appointments once you have your hearing aids. Here are some of the most important reasons:
- Hearing aid calibration: Your hearing changes in small ways, and while your general hearing may remain stable, these slight changes may require you to get regular hearing assessments. Without this calibration, your hearing aids could slowly become less and less reliable.
- Hearing degeneration: Even with a hearing aid, your hearing could keep deteriorating. If this degeneration is slow enough, you probably won’t notice it’s happening without the help of a hearing screening. Proper adjustments to your hearing aids can often slow hearing declines.
- Your fit may change: Because your ears are always changing, it’s very possible that how your hearing aids fit around and in your ears will change. Routine hearing tests can help guarantee that your hearing aids continue to fit the way they’re designed to.
Dangers and hurdles
The main concern here is that eventually, the hearing aids Daphne is using will stop working the way they’re supposed to, so she’ll get frustrated with them and stop using them entirely. Using hearing aids helps slow hearing loss over time. If you stop wearing them, not only can your hearing diminish faster, you may not detect it right away.
If you want your hearing aids to keep working at an optimal level, regular check-ups are going to be your best bet in terms of achieving that. Annual hearing tests or screenings can help you make sure your hearing aids are working as they should and that your hearing remains protected.