If you take good care of them, hearing aids can keep working for years. But they are only useful if they still address your level 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 situation gets worse. Here’s how long you can expect your hearing aids to last if they are programed and fitted correctly.
Is There an Expiration Time For Hearing Aids?
Nearly everything you purchase has a shelf life. With the milk in your refrigerator, that shelf life might be several weeks. 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 have to be swapped out. It’s certainly not shocking, then, that your hearing aids also have a shelf life.
Typically, a set of hearing aids will last approximately 2-5 years, though with the technology emerging you might want to replace them sooner. There are a number of possible factors that will effect the shelf life of your hearing aids:
- Care: It shouldn’t be surprising to know that if you take good care of your hearing aids, they will last longer. Doing regular required maintenance and cleaning is indispensable. Time put into proper care will translate almost directly into increased operational time.
- Batteries: Internal, rechargeable batteries are standard with most hearing aids in current use. The shelf life of your hearing aid is significantly impacted by the type of batteries they use.
- Construction: These days, hearing aids are constructed from all types of materials, from metal to silicon to nano-coated plastics, and so on. Some wear-and-tear can be expected in spite of the fact that hearing aids are designed to be ergonomic and durable. If you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be impacted regardless of quality construction.
- Type: There are two 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 because of exposure to debris, sweat, and dirt of the ear canal. Behind-the-ear models commonly last about 6-7 years (mainly because they’re able to stay cleaner and drier).
Normally, the standard usage of your hearing aid defines the actual shelf life. But failing to wear your hearing aids may also diminish their estimated usefulness (leaving your hearing aids neglected on a shelf and unmaintained can also diminish the lifespan of your hearing aids).
And every now and then, hearing aids should be inspected and cleaned professionally. This helps make sure they still fit correctly and don’t have a build-up of wax blocking their ability to function.
Upgrading Hearing Aids Before They Wear Out
There may come a time when, down the road, your hearing aid effectiveness starts to decline. And it will be time, then, to begin looking around for a new pair. But there will be situations when it will be beneficial to buy a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Some of those scenarios could include:
- Your lifestyle changes: In some cases, your first set of hearing aids may be purchased with a certain lifestyle in mind. But maybe now your lifestyle changes require you to get hearing aids that are more durable or waterproof or rechargeable.
- Your hearing changes: If your hearing gets considerably worse (or better), the characteristics of your hearing assistance change as well. Your hearing aids could no longer be calibrated to successfully treat your hearing problem. If you want an optimal level of hearing, new hearing aids could be needed.
- 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 timetable for replacing your hearing aid is difficult to estimate. How many years your hearing aids will last depends on a handful of factors, but you can normally count on that 2-5 year range.