Hearing aids, if you take care of them properly, can last for years. But they quit being practical if they no longer address your level of hearing loss. As with prescription glasses, your hearing aids are programmed to your particular hearing loss, which needs to be tested on a regular basis. Assuming they are fitted and programmed correctly, here’s how long you can expect them to last.
Do Hearing Aids Expire?
Nearly everything you purchase has a shelf life. It could take a couple of weeks for the milk inside your fridge to expire. Canned products can last between a few months to several years. 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.
2 to 5 years is typically the shelf life for a set of hearing aids, though you might want to upgrade sooner with the new technology coming out. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will be based upon several possible factors:
- Batteries: Rechargeable, internal batteries are standard with the majority of hearing aids in current use. The shelf life of your hearing aid is dramatically influenced by the kind of batteries they use.
- Type: There are a couple of basic 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 due to exposure to debris, sweat, and dirt of the ear canal. Behind-the-ear models normally last about 6-7 years (mainly because they’re able to stay cleaner and drier).
- Construction: These days, hearing aids are constructed from all types of materials, from silicon to metal to nano-coated plastics, and so on. The devices are created 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.
- Care: This should come as no surprise, but the better you take care of hearing aids, the longer they’ll last. Performing standard required upkeep and cleaning is vital. Time put into proper care will translate almost directly into increased functional time.
Generally, the standard usage of your hearing aid defines the actual shelf life. But the potential longevity of your hearing aids is diminished if they’re not worn on a regular basis (putting them unmaintained on a dusty shelf, as an example, may very well curtail the life expectancy of your hearing devices, especially if you leave the battery in place).
Hearing aids should also be inspected and professionally cleaned every now and then. This helps make certain they still fit correctly and don’t have a build-up of wax impeding their ability to work.
Upgrading Hearing Aids Before They Wear Down
In the future there may come a time when the performance of your hearing aids starts to diminish. And it will be time, therefore, to begin looking around for a new pair. But there will be scenarios when it will be practical to get a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Here are some of those scenarios:
- Your lifestyle changes: In many cases, your first pair of hearing aids may be purchased with a particular lifestyle in mind. But perhaps your circumstances change, maybe you’ve become more active and you need a set that are waterproof, more durable, or rechargeable.
- Your hearing changes: If your hearing gets substantially worse (or better), the characteristics of your hearing assistance change also. Your hearing aids might no longer be adjusted to efficiently treat your hearing problem. If you want an optimal level of hearing, new hearing aids might be needed.
- Changes in technology: 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 the plan for replacing your hearing devices is difficult to estimate. How many years your hearing aids will fit your needs depends on a handful of variables, but you can generally count on that 2-5 year range.