Hearing aids, if you take care of them correctly, can last for years. But they’re only helpful if they still address your level of hearing loss. Similar to prescription glasses, your hearing aids are calibrated to your specific hearing loss, which needs to be tested regularly. Here’s how long you can expect your hearing aids to last if they are fitted and programmed properly.
Do Hearing Aids Expire?
There’s a shelf life for pretty much any product. With the milk in your refrigerator, that shelf life may be a few weeks. A few months to several years is the shelf life of canned goods. Even electronics have a shelf life, your brand new high-def TV will most likely need to be swapped out some time within the next few years. So learning that your hearing aids have a shelf life is probably not very surprising.
Typically, a pair of hearing aids will last approximately 2-5 years, though with the technology emerging you might want to replace them sooner. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will be determined by a number of possible factors:
- 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 different models.
- Care: This should come as no surprise, but the better care you take of your hearing aids, the longer they’ll last. This means making sure your hearing aids are cleaned on a regular basis and undergo any necessary regular upkeep. You will get added functional time from your hearing aid in almost direct proportion to the time you put into care.
- Construction: These days, hearing aids are constructed from all kinds 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 suffer from wear-and-tear along the way. In spite of quality construction, if you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be impacted.
- Type: There are a couple of primary types of hearing aids: inside-the-ear and behind-the-ear. Five years or so will be the expected shelf life of inside-the-ear model hearing aids as a result of exposure to dirt, sweat, and debris of the ear canal. Because they are able to remain dryer and cleaner, behind the ear models usually last 6-7 years.
Generally, the standard usage of your hearing aid determines the exact shelf life. But failing to wear your hearing aids may also minimize their expected usefulness (putting them unmaintained in a humid drawer, as an example, could very well curtail the life expectancy of your hearing devices, particularly if you leave the battery in place).
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 blocking their ability to work.
It’s a Smart Idea to Replace Your Hearing Aids Before They Wear Down
Years from now there might come a time when the functionality of your hearing aids begins to decline. And it will be time, therefore, to start searching for a new set. But there will be scenarios when it will be practical to purchase a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Some of those situations could include:
- Changes in your hearing: You should change your hearing aid circumstance if the state of your hearing changes. In other words, your hearing aids will no longer be adjusted to yield the best possible benefits. If you want an optimal degree of hearing, new hearing aids could be needed.
- Changes in lifestyle: You may, in some cases, have a particular 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 technology: Hearing aids are becoming more useful in novel ways every year. 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 plan for updating your hearing aid is difficult to estimate. How many years your hearing aids will fit your needs depends on a handful of factors, but you can normally count on that 2-5 year range.