If you care for them, hearing aids can last for years. But they quit being useful if they no longer address your degree of hearing loss. Your hearing aids are calibrated to your particular level of hearing loss and similar to prescription glasses, should be upgraded if your condition worsens. Here’s how long you can anticipate your hearing aids will last if they are programed and fitted properly.
Do Hearing Aids Expire?
There’s a shelf life for almost any product. With the milk in your refrigerator, that shelf life might be a few weeks. Canned goods can last anywhere from several months to a number of years. Even electronic devices have a shelf life, your brand new high-def TV will most likely need to be upgraded some time in the next five years or so. So finding out that your hearing aids have a shelf life is probably not very surprising.
2 to 5 years is generally the shelf life for a pair of hearing aids, though you might want to replace them sooner with the new technology emerging. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will depend on several possible factors:
- Batteries: Internal, rechargeable batteries are standard with the majority of hearing aids in current use. The type of battery or power supply your hearing aids use can dramatically impact the total shelf life of different models.
- Construction: Materials such as nano-coated plastics, silicon, and metal are used to build modern hearing aids. The devices are designed to be ergonomic and durable, but some materials do suffer from wear-and-tear along the way. In spite of premium construction, if you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be impacted.
- Type: There are two 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 commonly have a shelf life of about five years. Behind-the-ear models typically last around 6-7 years (mostly because they’re able to stay cleaner and drier).
- Care: This shouldn’t be surprising, but the better you take care of hearing aids, the longer they will last. Doing regular required maintenance and cleaning is crucial. Time put into care will translate almost directly into increased functional time.
In most cases, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an estimate based on typical usage. But failing to wear your hearing aids might also minimize their expected usefulness (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 checked and professionally cleaned every so often. This helps make certain they still fit correctly and don’t have a build-up of wax impeding their ability to work.
It’s a Smart Idea to Replace Your Hearing Aids Before They Wear Out
Years from now there could come a time when the performance of your hearing aids starts to diminish. Then you will need to shop for a new pair. But in certain cases, you might find that a new pair will be worthwhile well before your hearing aids start to show wear and tear. Here are a few of those scenarios:
- Changes in your hearing: If your hearing gets significantly worse (or better), the characteristics of your hearing assistance change too. Essentially, your hearing aids will no longer be adjusted to yield the best possible results. In these cases, a new hearing aid could be necessary 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.
- Changes in lifestyle: You may, in many cases, have a certain 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 understand why the timetable for updating your hearing aid is difficult to estimate. Normally, that 2-5 year range is fairly accurate contingent upon these few factors.