If you care for them, hearing aids can last for years. But they stop being practical if they no longer treat your degree of hearing loss. Your hearing aids are calibrated to your specific level of hearing loss and much like prescription glasses, should be updated if your condition gets worse. Here’s how long you can anticipate your hearing aids will last if they are programed and fitted properly.
Is There an Expiration Time For Hearing Aids?
Nearly everything you buy has a shelf life. It could take a couple of weeks for the milk in your refrigerator to expire. A few months to several years is the shelf life of canned products. Within the next few years or so, even your new high-def TV will need to be swapped out. It’s probably not shocking, then, that your hearing aids also have a shelf life.
Generally, a pair of hearing aids will last approximately 2-5 years, although with the technology coming out you might want to upgrade sooner. There are several possible factors that will effect the shelf life of your hearing aids:
- Care: This shouldn’t be surprising, but the better you take care of hearing aids, the longer they’ll last. Performing standard required maintenance and cleaning is crucial. You will get added functional time from your hearing aid in almost direct proportion to time put into care.
- Construction: Nowadays, hearing aids are made out of 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. If you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be affected regardless of quality construction.
- Batteries: Internal, rechargeable batteries are standard with the majority of hearing aids in current use. The shelf life of your hearing aid is dramatically impacted by the type of batteries they use.
- 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. Because they are able to remain cleaner and dryer, behind the ear models normally last 6-7 years.
Usually, the typical usage of your hearing aid determines the actual shelf life. But neglecting to wear your hearing aids could also minimize their expected usefulness (putting them unmaintained on a dusty shelf, as an example, could very well curtail the lifespan of your hearing devices, especially if you leave the battery in).
Hearing aids should also be checked and professionally cleaned every now and then. This helps make sure they still fit properly and don’t have a build-up of wax impeding their ability to function.
Updating Hearing Aids Before They Wear Down
There could come a time when, years from now, your hearing aid performance begins to decline. Then you will have to look for a new pair. But there will be situations when it will be beneficial to get a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Some of those situations could include:
- Your lifestyle changes: You may, in many cases, have a specific lifestyle in mind when you purchase your hearing aids. But maybe your conditions change, maybe you’ve become more physically active and need a set that are waterproof, more rugged, or rechargeable.
- Your hearing changes: If your hearing gets significantly worse (or better), the characteristics of your hearing assistance change too. In other words, your hearing aids will no longer be adjusted to yield the best possible results. If you want an optimal level of hearing, new hearing aids may be required.
- 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.
You can see why it’s hard to estimate a timetable for updating your hearing aids. Normally, that 2-5 year range is fairly accurate dependant upon these few factors.