The importance of regular hearing assessments: Educating patients on preventive care

Ring the alarm – hear it and answer it

For some patients, hearing test appointments are like that first alarm you never get out of bed for. It nags them routinely, but it never makes it far past the back of their mind. As hearing instrument practitioners, it’s our job to remind the patient that the thought only counts if they act on it.

The importance of regular hearing assessments
Taking care of your health means taking care of your hearing – even if it doesn’t appear to need treatment yet. If the latter remains a roadblock for the individual, we’re here to provide a couple of extra reasons you can use to inspire some action.

Redefine your regular

As with most assessment plans, what works best depends on the patient’s age and overall health foundation. However, everyone should have a hearing practitioner or audiologist test their hearing at least once every three to five years. Individuals over 60 years of age, those with relevant underlying medical conditions, or patients with a family history of hearing loss should get tested once a year. That being said, yearly assessments are always a good idea for tracking adjustments and making changes promptly as necessary.

Time to intervene

When time plays as much of a role as it does in hearing health, regular testing is essential to its longevity. Hearing loss doesn’t always make a dramatic entrance – sometimes, it sneaks in through the back door, developing slowly over time and making it difficult to notice the changes.

Consistent hearing checks allow patients to make adjustments as needed and provide the hearing practitioner with data to compare your assessments with year over year. Collecting this history offers invaluable information as it alerts the professional to how rapidly a patient’s hearing is changing and highlights potential problem points like wax-buildup or noise-induced hearing loss. Setting the patient up for early detection and intervention sets them up for successful future appointments.

Conversation demands a listener

Contrary to popular belief, saving what may feel like a seemingly unnecessary appointment isn’t saving the patient any effort – it’s just reassigning it. When left undetected and untreated, hearing loss leads to a breakdown in communication, merely redirecting those affected to develop social behaviours that cope with the social distress rather than the illness.

These adjustments can present as reduced participation in social events or tuning out in group conversations, leading to reduced social activity, isolation and poor self-esteem. Hearing assessments and providing solutions help remove the frustration of asking loved ones to repeat themselves by treating the cause rather than the symptom.

Consider this

Some people merely lack the awareness that one way or another, they will be seeing you. With that in mind, remind them that the more times you take a test, the less of a test it feels like, and a consultation they don’t think they need is far better than the opposite.

In fact, work is more enjoyable for everyone when appointments have fewer alarm bells ringing through them, and we’re all about having A HIP hop hooray kind of day. So have some fun with it – reconnect with your inner camp counsellor and spread the word to make your patient jump out of bed after that too-early alarm and make the appointment.

AHIP is not and shall not be liable for any of the views expressed by the authors or advertisers on the Signal Blogs. The authors’ opinions and the advertisers’ content do not necessarily reflect AHIP’s views.