Hearing aids, if you care for them correctly, can last for years. But they are only practical if they still address your degree of hearing loss. As with prescription glasses, your hearing aids are calibrated to your specific hearing loss, which needs to be examined regularly. Here’s how long you can anticipate your hearing aids will last assuming they are programed and fitted properly.
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 a few weeks. Canned products 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 learning that your hearing aids have a shelf life is probably not very surprising.
2 to 5 years is generally the shelf life for a set of hearing aids, however 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 a number of possible factors:
- Care: This shouldn’t be surprising, but the better care for hearing aids, the longer they’ll last. Doing regular required maintenance and cleaning is essential. You will get added operational time from your hearing aid in almost direct proportion to the time you put into care.
- Construction: Today, hearing aids are made out of all kinds of materials, from silicon to metal 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. In spite of quality construction, if you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be impacted.
- Batteries: The majority of (but not all) hearing aids currently use internal, rechargeable batteries. The shelf life of your hearing aid is significantly impacted by the type of batteries they use.
- Type: There are two primary kinds of hearing aids: inside-the-ear and behind-the-ear. Because they are subjected to the debris, sweat, and dirt 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.
In most cases, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an approximation based on typical usage. But the potential longevity of your hearing aids is lessened if they’re not worn on a regular basis (putting them unmaintained on a dusty shelf, for example, could very well curtail the life expectancy of your hearing devices, particularly 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 properly.
It’s a Smart Idea to Upgrade Your Hearing Aids Before They Wear Out
There may come a time when, years from now, your hearing aid effectiveness starts to wane. And it will be time, therefore, to start searching for a new pair. But in a few situations, you might find that a new pair will be advantageous well before your hearing aids start to show wear and tear. Here are a few of those situations:
- Changes in lifestyle: In some circumstances, your first set 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.
- Your hearing fluctuates: If your hearing gets considerably worse (or better), the dynamics of your hearing aids change also. Put simply, your hearing aids will no longer be adjusted to yield the best possible results. If you want an optimal degree of hearing, new hearing aids could be needed.
- 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 estimate a timetable for replacing your hearing aids. Generally, that 2-5 year range is pretty accurate dependant upon these few variables.