Hearing aids, if you take care of them correctly, can keep working for years. But they are only practical if they still address your level of hearing loss. Your hearing aids are dialed into your particular level of hearing loss and comparable to prescription glasses, should be upgraded if your condition worsens. Here’s how long you can anticipate your hearing aids will last assuming they are programed and fitted correctly.
Is There an Expiration Time For Hearing Aids?
Just about everything you buy has a shelf life. It could take a couple of weeks for the milk inside your fridge to expire. Canned products can last between several months to a number of years. Within the next few years or so, even your new high-def TV will have to be swapped out. It’s probably not shocking, then, that your hearing aids also have a shelf life.
Generally, a pair of hearing aids will last anywhere between 2-5 years, although with the technology coming out you may want to upgrade sooner. There are a number of possible factors that will effect the shelf life of your hearing aids:
- Care: This should come as no surprise, but the better care for hearing aids, the longer they will last. This means making sure your hearing aids are cleaned on a regular basis and undergo any required regular upkeep. You will get added functional time out of your hearing aid in almost direct proportion to time put into care.
- Type: There are a couple of basic kinds of hearing aids: inside-the-ear and behind-the-ear. Five years or so will be the expected shelf life of inside-the-ear model hearing aids because of exposure to dirt, sweat, and debris of the ear canal. Behind-the-ear models typically last about 6-7 years (mainly because they’re able to stay drier and cleaner).
- Construction: Materials such as nano-coated plastics, silicon, and metal are used to construct modern hearing aids. The devices are created to be ergonomic and durable, but some materials do suffer from wear-and-tear along the way. Despite premium construction, if you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be affected.
- Batteries: Internal, rechargeable batteries are standard with the majority of hearing aids in current use. The type of battery or power supply your hearing aids use can substantially influence the overall shelf life of various models.
Normally, the typical usage of your hearing aid defines the actual shelf life. But failing to wear your hearing aids may also minimize their expected usefulness (leaving them unmaintained on a dusty shelf, as an example, may very well curtail the life expectancy of your hearing devices, especially if you leave the battery in place).
And every so often, hearing aids should be checked and cleaned professionally. This helps make sure they still fit correctly and don’t have a build-up of wax blocking their ability to work.
Replacing Hearing Aids Before They Wear Down
Years from now there could come a time when the performance of your hearing aids starts to decline. Then you will have to shop for a new set. But there will be situations when it will be beneficial to get a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Some of those scenarios could include:
- Technology changes: Hearing aids are becoming more useful in novel ways every year. If one of these cutting edge technologies looks like it’s going to help you significantly, it could be worth investing in a new pair of devices sooner rather than later.
- Your lifestyle changes: You could, in some cases, have a specific lifestyle in mind when you purchase your hearing aids. But maybe your conditions change, maybe you’ve become more physically active and need a set that are waterproof, more rugged, or rechargeable.
- Changes in your hearing: You need to change your hearing aid scenario if the state of your hearing changes. Essentially, your hearing aids will no longer be calibrated to yield the best possible results. If you want an optimal level of hearing, new hearing aids might be needed.
You can understand why the timetable for updating your hearing aid is difficult to estimate. Usually, that 2-5 year range is pretty accurate depending on these few variables.