Hearing aids, if you care for them correctly, can last for years. But they’re only helpful if they still address your degree of hearing loss. As with prescription glasses, your hearing aids are calibrated to your particular hearing loss, which needs to be tested regularly. Here’s how long you can anticipate your hearing aids will last assuming they are fitted and programmed properly.
Do Hearing Aids Expire?
Almost everything you buy has a shelf life. It could take a couple of weeks for the milk inside your refrigerator to expire. Canned goods can last between a few months to several years. Even electronic devices have a shelf life, your brand new high-def TV will most likely have to be swapped out some time within the next five years or so. It’s certainly not shocking, then, that your hearing aids also have a shelf life.
In general, a pair of hearing aids will last anywhere between 2-5 years, although with the technology emerging you might want to replace them sooner. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will be based upon several possible factors:
- Type: There are two basic types 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 due to exposure to debris, sweat, and dirt of the ear canal. Behind-the-ear models commonly last about 6-7 years (mostly because they’re able to stay cleaner and drier).
- Batteries: The majority of (but not all) hearing aids presently use internal, rechargeable batteries. The type of battery or power supply your hearing aids use can significantly influence the overall shelf life of various models.
- Care: This shouldn’t be surprising, but the better you take care of hearing aids, the longer they will last. Performing regular required maintenance and cleaning is essential. You will get added functional time out of your hearing aid in almost direct proportion to the time you put into care.
- Construction: Today, hearing aids are made from many kinds of materials, from metal to silicon to nano-coated plastics, and so on. Some wear-and-tear can be anticipated despite the fact that hearing aids are manufactured to be durable and ergonomic. If you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be influenced despite quality construction.
Generally, the standard usage of your hearing aid defines the real shelf life. But the potential longevity of your hearing aids is diminished if they’re not used regularly (leaving your hearing aids neglected on a shelf and unmaintained can also diminish the lifespan of your hearing aids).
And every so often, hearing aids should be inspected and cleaned professionally. This helps make sure that there is no wax buildup and that they still fit correctly.
Updating Hearing Aids Before They Wear Down
There may come a time when, years from now, your hearing aid effectiveness starts to wane. Then you will have to shop for a new pair. But in some situations, you may find that a new pair will be worthwhile long before your hearing aids start to show wear and tear. Here are a few of those scenarios:
- Changes in technology: Hearing aids are becoming more useful in novel ways every year. 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: In some instances, your first set of hearing aids may be obtained with a particular lifestyle in mind. But perhaps your conditions change, maybe you’ve become more physically active and you need a set that are waterproof, more heavy-duty, or rechargeable.
- Your hearing fluctuates: You need to 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 level of hearing, new hearing aids may be needed.
You can understand why it’s difficult to estimate a timetable for replacing your hearing aids. Generally, that 2-5 year range is fairly accurate depending on these few variables.