If you care for them, hearing aids can last for years. But they quit being useful if they no longer address your degree of hearing loss. Similar to prescription glasses, your hearing aids are programmed to your particular hearing loss, which needs to 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. A few months to several years is the shelf life of canned goods. Within the next few years or so, even your new high-def TV will have to be swapped out. It’s probably not shocking, 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 might want to upgrade sooner. There are a number of possible factors that will effect the shelf life of your hearing aids:
- Batteries: The majority of (but not all) hearing aids presently use internal, rechargeable batteries. The kind of battery or power supply your hearing aids use can dramatically influence the overall shelf life of various models.
- Construction: Materials such as nano-coated plastics, silicon, and metal are used to construct modern hearing aids. Some wear-and-tear can be anticipated in spite of the fact that hearing aids are manufactured to be ergonomic and durable. If you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be impacted regardless of quality construction.
- Care: This shouldn’t be surprising, but the better care you take of your hearing aids, the longer they will last. This means making sure your hearing aids are cleaned regularly and go through any required regular maintenance. Time put into care will translate almost directly into added functional time.
- Type: There are a couple of basic kinds 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 debris, sweat, and dirt of the ear canal. Because they are able to remain dryer and cleaner, behind the ear models commonly last 6-7 years.
In most circumstances, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an estimate determined by typical usage. But failing to wear your hearing aids might also reduce their expected usefulness (leaving them unmaintained on a dusty shelf, as an example, could very well reduce the life expectancy of your hearing devices, specifically if you leave the battery in).
Hearing aids should also be inspected and professionally cleaned every now and then. This helps make certain they still fit properly and don’t have a build-up of wax impeding their ability to function.
Updating Hearing Aids Before They Wear Out
There might come a time when, years from now, your hearing aid performance starts to wane. Then you will need to look for a new pair. But in some cases, you may find that a new pair will be beneficial well before your hearing aids start to show their age. Some of those scenarios might include:
- Changes in your hearing: If your hearing gets considerably worse (or better), the characteristics of your hearing assistance change too. Put simply, your hearing aids will no longer be adjusted to yield the best possible benefits. In these situations, a new hearing aid could be necessary for you to hear optimally.
- 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.
- Changes in lifestyle: You could, in some cases, have a specific 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.
You can see why the timetable for replacing your hearing devices is difficult to predict. 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.