Hearing aids, if you care for them properly, 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, need to be updated if your situation worsens. Assuming they are programmed and fitted correctly, here’s how long you can expect them to last.
Do Hearing Aids Expire?
There’s a shelf life for pretty much any product. With the milk in your refrigerator, that shelf life might be several weeks. Canned goods can last between a few months to several years. Even electronics have a shelf life, your brand new high-def TV will probably have to be upgraded some time within the next five years or so. So finding out that your hearing aids have a shelf life is most likely not very shocking.
In general, a set of hearing aids will last approximately 2-5 years, although with the technology coming out you might want to replace them sooner. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will be determined by a number of possible factors:
- Type: There are a couple of primary kinds 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 typically last around 6-7 years (mostly because they’re able to stay drier and cleaner).
- Construction: Today, 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 experience 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 care you take of your hearing aids, the longer they will last. Carrying out regular required maintenance and cleaning is essential. You will get added operational time from your hearing aid in almost direct proportion to the time you put into care.
- Batteries: Rechargeable, internal batteries are standard with the majority of hearing aids in current use. The type of battery or power supply your hearing aids use can substantially influence the total shelf life of various models.
Normally, the typical usage of your hearing aid defines the exact shelf life. But the potential longevity of your hearing aids is diminished if they’re not used on a regular basis (putting them unmaintained on a dusty shelf, for example, could very well reduce the life expectancy of your hearing devices, specifically if you leave the battery in).
And every so often, hearing aids should be inspected and cleaned professionally. This helps make certain that there is no wax buildup and that they still fit properly.
It’s a Good Idea to Upgrade Your Hearing Aids Before They Wear Down
There could come a time when, years from now, your hearing aid effectiveness begins to wane. Then you will need to shop for a new set. But in a few situations, you may find a new pair advantageous well before your hearing aids start to show their age. Some of those scenarios might include:
- 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.
- Your hearing changes: You need to change your hearing aid circumstance if the condition of your hearing changes. Your hearing aids may no longer be adjusted to effectively manage your hearing problem. If you want an optimal level of hearing, new hearing aids might be needed.
- Changes in lifestyle: You could, in many 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.
You can see why it’s difficult to estimate a timetable for replacing your hearing aids. Normally, that 2-5 year range is pretty accurate dependant upon these few factors.