Hearing aids, if you take care of them properly, can keep working for years. But they quit being helpful if they no longer address your level of hearing loss. Your hearing aids are dialed into your distinct level of hearing loss and much like prescription glasses, need to be upgraded if your condition worsens. Here’s how long you can anticipate your hearing aids will last assuming they are programed and fitted properly.
Do Hearing Aids Expire?
Just about everything you purchase has a shelf life. It could take a couple of weeks for the milk inside your fridge to expire. Canned products can last anywhere from a few 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.
2 to 5 years is generally the shelf life for a set of hearing aids, though you may want to replace them sooner with the new technology coming out. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will be based upon a number of possible factors:
- Construction: Materials such as nano-coated plastics, silicon, and metal are used to produce modern hearing aids. The devices are designed to be ergonomic and durable, but some materials do suffer from wear-and-tear along the way. In spite of premium construction, if you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be affected.
- Batteries: Internal, rechargeable batteries are standard with most hearing aids in current use. The type of battery or power supply your hearing aids use can dramatically impact the total shelf life of various models.
- Type: There are a couple of primary types of hearing aids: inside-the-ear and behind-the-ear. Five years or so will be the estimated shelf life of inside-the-ear model hearing aids due to exposure to debris, sweat, and dirt of the ear canal. Because they are able to stay dryer and cleaner, behind the ear models normally last 6-7 years.
- Care: This should come as no surprise, but the better you take care of hearing aids, the longer they will last. This means ensuring your hearing aids are cleaned frequently and have any required regular upkeep. You will get added functional time out of your hearing aid in almost direct proportion to the time you put into care.
In most cases, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an approximation determined by typical usage. But the potential life expectancy of your hearing aids is lessened if they’re not used on a regular basis (leaving your hearing aids neglected on a shelf and unmaintained can also diminish the lifespan of your hearing aids).
Hearing aids should also be checked and professionally cleaned every now and then. This helps make sure they still fit correctly and don’t have a build-up of wax impeding their ability to work.
Upgrading Hearing Aids Before They Wear Down
Years from now there may come a time when the performance of your hearing aids begins to decline. And it will be time, therefore, to start looking around for a new pair. But in some situations, you might find that a new pair will be advantageous well before your hearing aids start to show their age. Here are some of those situations:
- Changes in technology: Every year, hearing aid manufacturers introduce innovative new technologies that make hearing aids more useful in novel ways. It might be worth investing in a new hearing aid sooner than later if you feel like you would be significantly helped by some of these cutting edge technologies.
- Your lifestyle changes: You may, in many cases, have a specific lifestyle in mind when you purchase your hearing aids. But maybe now your lifestyle changes require you to get hearing aids that are more durable or waterproof or rechargeable.
- Your hearing fluctuates: You should change your hearing aid situation if the condition of your hearing changes. Essentially, your hearing aids will no longer be adjusted to yield the best possible benefits. If you want an optimal degree of hearing, new hearing aids may be required.
You can understand why the timetable for updating your hearing aid is difficult to estimate. How many years your hearing aids will fit your needs depends on a handful of factors, but you can usually count on that 2-5 year range.