If you take good care of them, hearing aids can last for years. But they are only practical if they still reflect your degree of hearing loss. As with prescription glasses, your hearing aids are programmed to your particular hearing loss, which should be tested regularly. If they are fitted and programmed properly, here’s how long you can anticipate they will last.
Is There an Expiration Time For Hearing Aids?
Almost 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 need to be swapped out. It’s probably not shocking, then, that your hearing aids also have a shelf life.
2 to 5 years is generally the shelf life for a set of hearing aids, however you may want to replace them sooner with the new technology coming out. There are a number of possible factors that will impact the shelf life of your hearing aids:
- Type: There are a couple of primary types 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 as a result of exposure to debris, sweat, and dirt of the ear canal. Behind-the-ear models typically last about 6-7 years (mostly because they’re able to stay drier and cleaner).
- Construction: Materials like nano-coated plastics, silicon, and metal are used to produce modern hearing aids. Some wear-and-tear can be expected in spite of the fact that hearing aids are designed to be durable and ergonomic. In spite of quality construction, if you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be impacted.
- Batteries: Internal, rechargeable batteries are standard with the majority of hearing aids in current use. The kind of battery or power supply your hearing aids use can significantly impact the total shelf life of different models.
- Care: This shouldn’t be surprising, but the better you take care of hearing aids, the longer they’ll last. Doing regular required maintenance and cleaning is vital. Time put into care will translate almost directly into increased functional time.
Normally, the typical usage of your hearing aid determines the exact shelf life. But neglecting to wear your hearing aids could also diminish their projected usefulness (leaving your hearing aids neglected on a shelf and unmaintained can also diminish the lifespan of your hearing aids).
Hearing aids should also be checked and professionally cleaned every so often. This helps make certain that there is no wax buildup and that they still fit correctly.
It’s a Good Idea to Switch Out Your Hearing Aids Before They Wear Out
There could come a time when, down the road, your hearing aid effectiveness begins to decline. And it will be time, therefore, to begin looking for a new set. But there will be situations when it will be advantageous to get a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Here are a few of those situations:
- Changes in your hearing: You need to change your hearing aid situation if the condition of your hearing changes. Your hearing aids might no longer be calibrated to effectively deal with your hearing issue. In these cases, a new hearing aid could be required for you to hear optimally.
- Changes in technology: 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 lifestyle changes: In some cases, your first pair of hearing aids might 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.
You can see why the timetable for updating your hearing devices is difficult to estimate. Normally, that 2-5 year range is pretty accurate dependant upon these few variables.