Hearing aids, if you care for them properly, can keep working for years. But they stop being practical if they no longer address your degree of hearing loss. As with prescription glasses, your hearing aids are calibrated to your specific hearing loss, which needs to be examined on a regular basis. Here’s how long you can anticipate your hearing aids will last assuming they are fitted and programmed correctly.
Do Hearing Aids Expire?
There’s a shelf life for pretty much any product. With the milk in your refrigerator, that shelf life may be several weeks. A few months to several years is the shelf life of canned goods. Even electronic devices have a shelf life, your brand new high-def TV will probably need to be upgraded some time within the next few years. So learning that your hearing aids have a shelf life is probably not very surprising.
2 to 5 years is typically the shelf life for a pair of hearing aids, though you may want to upgrade sooner with the new technology coming out. There are several possible factors that will effect the shelf life of your hearing aids:
- Construction: Materials such as nano-coated plastics, silicon, and metal are used to build modern hearing aids. The devices are created 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.
- Batteries: Most (but not all) hearing aids currently use rechargeable, internal batteries. The shelf life of your hearing aid is significantly impacted by the type of batteries they use.
- Care: It shouldn’t be surprising to know that if you care for your hearing aids, they will last longer. Carrying out standard required upkeep and cleaning is crucial. Time put into proper care will translate almost directly into added functional time.
- 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 due to exposure to dirt, sweat, and debris of the ear canal. Behind-the-ear models commonly last around 6-7 years (mainly because they’re able to stay cleaner and drier).
Generally, the typical usage of your hearing aid defines the exact shelf life. But neglecting to wear your hearing aids could also minimize their projected usefulness (putting them unmaintained on a dusty shelf, as an example, could very well reduce the lifespan of your hearing devices, specifically if you leave the battery in place).
And every now and then, hearing aids should be inspected and cleaned professionally. This helps make sure that there is no wax buildup and that they still fit correctly.
It’s a Smart Idea to Switch Out Your Hearing Aids Before They Wear Down
There may come a time when, down the road, your hearing aid effectiveness begins to decline. Then you will have to shop for a new pair. But in a few cases, you might find a new pair beneficial long before your hearing aids begin to show wear and tear. Some of those situations could include:
- Your hearing changes: You need to change your hearing aid scenario if the state of your hearing changes. 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 could be needed.
- Changes in lifestyle: You may, in many cases, have a particular lifestyle in mind when you purchase your hearing aids. But perhaps your conditions change, maybe you’ve become more physically active and you need a pair that are waterproof, more rugged, or rechargeable.
- Technology changes: Hearing aids are becoming more useful in novel ways every year. 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.
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 generally count on that 2-5 year range.