If you care for them, hearing aids can last for years. But they quit being useful if they no longer address your degree of hearing loss. Your hearing aids are dialed into your particular level of hearing loss and similar to prescription glasses, need to be upgraded if your situation gets worse. Here’s how long you can expect your hearing aids to last if they are fitted and programmed correctly.
Is There an Expiration Time For Hearing Aids?
Almost everything you purchase has a shelf life. With the milk in your fridge, that shelf life might be several weeks. A few months to several years is the shelf life of canned goods. Even electronics have a shelf life, your brand new high-def TV will probably have to be swapped out some time in the next five years or so. So finding out that your hearing aids have a shelf life is probably not very surprising.
Normally, a set of hearing aids will last approximately 2-5 years, though with the technology coming out you might want to upgrade sooner. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will be based upon a number of possible factors:
- Care: This shouldn’t be surprising, but the better care for hearing aids, the longer they will last. Doing regular required maintenance and cleaning is vital. Time put into proper care will translate almost directly into added operational time.
- Construction: Today, hearing aids are constructed from all kinds of materials, from silicon to metal to nano-coated plastics, and so on. The devices are created to be ergonomic and durable, but some materials do experience wear-and-tear along the way. If you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be affected despite quality construction.
- Type: There are a couple of primary kinds of hearing aids: inside-the-ear and behind-the-ear. Because they are exposed to the sweat, dirt, and debris of the ear canal, inside-the-ear models normally have a shelf life of about five years. Because they are able to stay cleaner and dryer, behind the ear models typically last 6-7 years.
- Batteries: The majority of (but not all) hearing aids presently use rechargeable, internal batteries. The type of battery or power supply your hearing aids use can substantially impact the overall shelf life of various models.
In most situations, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an estimation based on typical usage. But neglecting to wear your hearing aids may also diminish their expected usefulness (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 checked and cleaned professionally. This helps make certain they still fit correctly and don’t have a build-up of wax blocking their ability to function.
Upgrading Hearing Aids Before They Wear Down
There might come a time when, down the road, your hearing aid functionality begins to decline. Then you will need to shop for a new pair. But there will be scenarios when it will be beneficial to get a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Some of those scenarios might include:
- 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 hearing changes: If your hearing gets substantially worse (or better), the characteristics of your hearing aids change also. In other words, your hearing aids will no longer be adjusted to yield the best possible results. In these situations, a new hearing aid could be required for you to hear optimally.
- Changes in lifestyle: In many cases, your first set of hearing aids might be obtained with a particular lifestyle in mind. But maybe now your lifestyle changes require you to get hearing aids that are more durable or waterproof or rechargeable.
You can see why it’s difficult to estimate a timetable for replacing your hearing aids. Usually, that 2-5 year range is pretty accurate contingent upon these few variables.