If you take good care of them, hearing aids can keep working for years. But they are only practical if they still address your level of hearing loss. Your hearing aids are calibrated to your particular level of hearing loss and comparable to prescription glasses, should be upgraded if your situation worsens. Here’s how long you can anticipate your hearing aids will last assuming they are programed and fitted correctly.
Is There an Expiration Time For Hearing Aids?
Nearly everything you buy has a shelf life. With the milk in your fridge, that shelf life may be a few weeks. Canned goods can last between a few months to a number of years. Within the next few years or so, even your new high-def TV will have to be swapped out. So learning that your hearing aids have a shelf life is most likely not very shocking.
2 to 5 years is normally the shelf life for a pair of hearing aids, though you may want to upgrade sooner with the new technology coming out. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will depend on several possible factors:
- Care: This shouldn’t be surprising, but the better care you take of your hearing aids, the longer they will last. Performing standard required upkeep and cleaning is vital. Time put into care will translate almost directly into increased operational time.
- Batteries: The majority of (but not all) hearing aids presently use rechargeable, internal batteries. The shelf life of your hearing aid is considerably impacted by the kind of batteries they use.
- Type: There are a couple of basic kinds of hearing aids: inside-the-ear and behind-the-ear. Because they are exposed to the debris, sweat, and dirt of the ear canal, inside-the-ear models normally have a shelf life of about five years. Because they are able to remain cleaner and dryer, behind the ear models usually last 6-7 years.
- Construction: These days, hearing aids are constructed from many 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 experience wear-and-tear along the way. In spite of premium construction, if you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be affected.
Generally, the typical usage of your hearing aid defines the actual shelf life. But the potential life expectancy of your hearing aids is diminished if they’re not used on a regular basis (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 checked and cleaned professionally. This helps make sure they still fit properly and don’t have a build-up of wax blocking their ability to work.
It’s a Good Idea to Replace Your Hearing Aids Before They Wear Down
There might come a time when, years from now, your hearing aid effectiveness starts to wane. Then you will have to shop for a new pair. But there will be scenarios when it will be advantageous to buy a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Some of those situations could include:
- Changes in your hearing: If your hearing gets substantially worse (or better), the characteristics of your hearing assistance change too. Put simply, your hearing aids will no longer be calibrated to yield the best possible benefits. If you want an optimal degree of hearing, new hearing aids may be required.
- Changes in technology: Every year, hearing aid manufacturers introduce innovative new technologies that make hearing aids more useful in novel ways. 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.
- Your lifestyle changes: In many circumstances, your first pair of hearing aids might be purchased with a particular lifestyle in mind. But perhaps your conditions change, maybe you’ve become more physically active and you need a set that are waterproof, more rugged, or rechargeable.
You can see why it’s hard to estimate a timetable for replacing your hearing aids. How many years your hearing aids will last depends on a handful of variables, but you can normally count on that 2-5 year range.