Hearing aids, if you care for them correctly, can keep working for years. But they are only useful if they still reflect 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 situation gets worse. Here’s how long you can expect your hearing aids to last if they are fitted and programmed properly.
Is There an Expiration Time For Hearing Aids?
Nearly everything you purchase has a shelf life. With the milk in your refrigerator, that shelf life might be several weeks. Canned goods can last between several months to several years. Within the next few years or so, even your new high-def TV will need to be swapped out. So finding out that your hearing aids have a shelf life is probably not very surprising.
2 to 5 years is typically the shelf life for a set of hearing aids, although you might want to upgrade sooner with the new technology emerging. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will be based upon a number of possible factors:
- Care: This should come as no surprise, but the better care you take of your hearing aids, the longer they will last. Doing regular required upkeep and cleaning is vital. Time put into proper care will translate almost directly into added functional time.
- Type: There are a couple of primary types of hearing aids: inside-the-ear and behind-the-ear. Because they are exposed to the sweat, dirt, and debris from the ear canal, inside-the-ear models tend to have a shelf life of about five years. Because they are able to stay cleaner and dryer, behind the ear models normally last 6-7 years.
- Batteries: Most (but not all) hearing aids presently use internal, rechargeable batteries. The type of battery or power supply your hearing aids use can dramatically impact the overall shelf life of various models.
- Construction: Materials such as nano-coated plastics, silicon, and metal are used to construct modern hearing aids. The devices are designed to be ergonomic and durable, but some materials do suffer from wear-and-tear along the way. If you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be affected regardless of quality construction.
In most circumstances, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an estimation determined by typical usage. But the potential longevity of your hearing aids is reduced if they’re not worn regularly (leaving them unmaintained on a dusty shelf, as an example, may very well reduce the lifespan of your hearing devices, especially if you leave the battery in).
Hearing aids should also be checked and professionally cleaned every now and then. This helps make sure that there is no wax buildup and that they still fit correctly.
Upgrading Hearing Aids Before They Wear Down
Years from now there could come a time when the functionality of your hearing aids starts to decline. And it will be time, then, to begin shopping for a new pair. But there will be situations when it will be practical to buy a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Some of those situations could include:
- Your lifestyle changes: You might, in some 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.
- Changes in your hearing: You need to change your hearing aid scenario if the state of your hearing changes. Your hearing aids may no longer be calibrated to effectively treat your hearing problem. If you want an optimal degree of hearing, new hearing aids might be required.
- 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.
You can see why it’s hard to predict a timetable for replacing your hearing aids. Usually, that 2-5 year range is fairly accurate contingent upon these few variables.