Hearing aids, if you care for them properly, can last for years. But they are only useful if they still address your level of hearing loss. Similar to prescription glasses, your hearing aids are programmed to your particular hearing loss, which should be checked regularly. Assuming they are fitted and programmed properly, here’s how long you can expect them to last.
Do Hearing Aids Expire?
Just about everything you purchase has a shelf life. With the milk in your fridge, that shelf life may be a few weeks. Canned goods can last anywhere from several months to several years. Even electronic devices have a shelf life, your brand new high-def TV will likely have to be swapped out some time in the next few years. It’s probably not shocking, then, that your hearing aids also have a shelf life.
2 to 5 years is typically the shelf life for a set of hearing aids, though you might want to replace them sooner with the new technology coming out. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will be determined by several possible factors:
- Care: This shouldn’t be surprising, but the better care you take of your hearing aids, the longer they’ll last. This means making certain your hearing aids are cleaned regularly and go through any necessary regular upkeep. Time put into proper care will translate almost directly into increased functional time.
- Construction: Nowadays, hearing aids are constructed from many types of materials, from metal to silicon to nano-coated plastics, and so on. The devices are created 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 influenced regardless of quality construction.
- Batteries: The majority of (but not all) hearing aids currently use internal, rechargeable batteries. The type of battery or power supply your hearing aids use can significantly influence the total shelf life of various models.
- Type: There are two basic kinds of hearing aids: inside-the-ear and behind-the-ear. Because they are subjected to the debris, sweat, and dirt from the ear canal, inside-the-ear models commonly have a shelf life of around five years. Behind-the-ear models usually last around 6-7 years (mainly because they’re able to stay cleaner and drier).
Normally, the standard usage of your hearing aid defines the exact shelf life. But neglecting to wear your hearing aids might also reduce their estimated usefulness (leaving them unmaintained in a humid drawer, for example, may very well curtail the lifespan of your hearing devices, especially if you leave the battery in).
And every now and then, hearing aids should be inspected and cleaned professionally. This helps make certain they still fit correctly and don’t have a build-up of wax impeding their ability to work.
It’s a Good Idea to Switch Out Your Hearing Aids Before They Wear Out
There could come a time when, down the road, your hearing aid effectiveness starts to wane. Then you will need 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. Here are some of those situations:
- Your hearing changes: If your hearing gets substantially worse (or better), the characteristics of your hearing assistance change also. Your hearing aids could no longer be adjusted to successfully treat your hearing issue. In these cases, a new hearing aid may be imperative for you to hear optimally.
- Changes in technology: Every year, hearing aid manufacturers introduce innovative new technologies that make hearing aids more useful in novel ways. 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: In many cases, your first pair of hearing aids may be purchased with a certain 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 understand why the plan for updating your hearing aid is difficult to estimate. Normally, that 2-5 year range is pretty accurate contingent upon these few factors.