If you take good care of them, hearing aids can keep working for years. But they’re only useful if they still address your degree of hearing loss. Your hearing aids are dialed into your specific level of hearing loss and comparable to prescription glasses, should be updated if your situation worsens. Here’s how long you can anticipate your hearing aids will last if they are programed and fitted correctly.
Is There an Expiration Time For Hearing Aids?
Just about everything you buy has a shelf life. It could take a couple of weeks for the milk in your fridge to expire. Canned goods can last anywhere from a few months to several years. Even electronic devices have a shelf life, your brand new high-def TV will likely need to be swapped out some time within the next few years. It’s certainly not surprising, 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 coming out you may want to upgrade sooner. There are a number of possible factors that will impact the shelf life of your hearing aids:
- Type: There are a couple of basic types of hearing aids: inside-the-ear and behind-the-ear. Because they are subjected to the sweat, dirt, and debris from the ear canal, inside-the-ear models normally have a shelf life of about five years. Behind-the-ear models normally last about 6-7 years (largely because they’re able to stay drier and cleaner).
- 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 designed to be ergonomic and durable, but some materials do experience wear-and-tear along the way. Despite quality construction, if you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be affected.
- Care: This shouldn’t be surprising, but the better care for hearing aids, the longer they will last. Performing standard required maintenance and cleaning is vital. Time put into proper care will translate almost directly into increased operational time.
- Batteries: Rechargeable, internal batteries are standard with most hearing aids in current use. The shelf life of your hearing aid is considerably impacted by the type of batteries they use.
In most circumstances, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an approximation determined by typical usage. But failing to wear your hearing aids may also minimize their estimated usefulness (leaving your hearing aids neglected on a shelf and unmaintained can also diminish the lifespan of your hearing aids).
Hearing aids should also be inspected and professionally cleaned every now and then. This helps make sure they still fit properly and don’t have a build-up of wax blocking their ability to work.
It’s a Good Idea to Replace Your Hearing Aids Before They Wear Out
There could come a time when, down the road, your hearing aid performance starts to decline. And it will be time, therefore, to begin looking for a new set. But there will be scenarios when it will be practical to get a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Here are some of those scenarios:
- Your hearing changes: You need to change your hearing aid scenario if the condition of your hearing changes. Your hearing aids could no longer be calibrated to successfully manage your hearing problem. If you want an optimal level of hearing, new hearing aids may be required.
- Your lifestyle changes: You might, in some cases, have a certain lifestyle in mind when you purchase your hearing aids. But perhaps your circumstances change, maybe you’ve become more active and you need a pair that are waterproof, more durable, or rechargeable.
- Technology changes: 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.
You can see why the timetable for updating your hearing aid is difficult to estimate. How many years your hearing aids will last depends on a handful of variables, but you can usually count on that 2-5 year range.