Hearing aids, if you take care of them properly, can last for years. But they quit being helpful if they no longer treat your level of hearing loss. Your hearing aids are calibrated to your distinct level of hearing loss and much like prescription glasses, should be upgraded if your situation worsens. Assuming they are fitted and programmed correctly, 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 refrigerator, that shelf life might be a few weeks. Canned products can last anywhere from several months to several years. Even electronic devices have a shelf life, your brand new high-def TV will probably have to be upgraded some time in the next few years. It’s certainly not shocking, then, that your hearing aids also have a shelf life.
Generally, a set of hearing aids will last approximately 2-5 years, although with the technology emerging you might want to replace them sooner. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will depend on several possible factors:
- Care: This should come as no surprise, but the better you take care of hearing aids, the longer they’ll last. This means ensuring your hearing aids are cleaned regularly and go through any required regular maintenance. Time put into proper care will translate almost directly into added operational time.
- Type: There are two primary types of hearing aids: inside-the-ear and behind-the-ear. Five years or so will be the estimated shelf life of inside-the-ear model hearing aids because of exposure to dirt, sweat, and debris of the ear canal. Behind-the-ear models commonly last about 6-7 years (mainly because they’re able to stay drier and cleaner).
- Batteries: Most (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.
- Construction: These days, hearing aids are made out of many kinds of materials, from metal to silicon to nano-coated plastics, and so on. Some wear-and-tear can be anticipated in spite of the fact that hearing aids are designed to be durable and ergonomic. If you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be affected regardless of quality construction.
Generally, the typical usage of your hearing aid determines the actual shelf life. But the potential longevity of your hearing aids is lessened if they’re not used regularly (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 so often. This helps make sure that there is no wax buildup and that they still fit correctly.
It’s a Good Idea to Switch Out Your Hearing Aids Before They Wear Down
Years from now there might come a time when the efficiency of your hearing aids begins to decline. Then you will need to shop for a new pair. But in certain cases, you may find that a new pair will be advantageous long before your hearing aids begin to show their age. Some of those situations could include:
- Your hearing changes: You should change your hearing aid scenario if the condition of your hearing changes. Your hearing aids might no longer be adjusted to efficiently treat your hearing problem. In these cases, a new hearing aid may be imperative for you to hear optimally.
- Technology changes: Hearing aids are becoming more useful in novel ways every year. 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.
- Changes in lifestyle: In many circumstances, your first set of hearing aids may be purchased 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 predict a timetable for updating your hearing aids. 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.