Hearing aids, if you care for them properly, can keep working for years. But they’re only practical if they still address your level of hearing loss. Your hearing aids are calibrated to your distinct level of hearing loss and comparable to prescription glasses, need to be updated if your situation gets worse. Assuming they are fitted and programmed properly, here’s how long you can anticipate they will last.
Do Hearing Aids Expire?
Nearly everything you purchase has a shelf life. It could take a couple of weeks for the milk in your refrigerator to expire. Several months to several years is the shelf life of canned products. Within the next few years or so, even your new high-def TV will have to be swapped out. It’s probably not shocking, then, that your hearing aids also have a shelf life.
2 to 5 years is normally the shelf life for a pair of hearing aids, although you might want to replace them sooner with the new technology emerging. There are a number of possible factors that will effect the shelf life of your hearing aids:
- Batteries: The majority of (but not all) hearing aids presently use rechargeable, internal batteries. The kind of battery or power supply your hearing aids use can significantly impact the overall shelf life of various models.
- Care: It shouldn’t surprise you to know that if you take good care of your hearing aids, they will last longer. This means ensuring your hearing aids are cleaned frequently and undergo any necessary regular maintenance. You will get added functional time from your hearing aid in almost direct proportion to the time you put into care.
- Type: There are two primary types of hearing aids: inside-the-ear and behind-the-ear. Because they are subjected to the sweat, dirt, and debris of the ear canal, inside-the-ear models commonly have a shelf life of around five years. Behind-the-ear models commonly last around 6-7 years (mostly because they’re able to stay cleaner and drier).
- Construction: Nowadays, hearing aids are made from many 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 suffer from wear-and-tear along the way. If you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be impacted despite quality construction.
Generally, the standard usage of your hearing aid determines the real shelf life. But failing to wear your hearing aids might also diminish their estimated 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 now and then. This helps make sure they still fit correctly and don’t have a build-up of wax impeding their ability to work.
It’s a Good Idea to Switch Out Your Hearing Aids Before They Wear Down
There could come a time when, down the road, your hearing aid functionality starts to decline. Then you will need to look for a new pair. But there will be scenarios when it will be beneficial to purchase a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Some of those situations might include:
- Changes in your hearing: If your hearing gets substantially worse (or better), the dynamics of your hearing aids change too. Your hearing aids may no longer be calibrated to effectively treat your hearing issue. In these cases, a new hearing aid may be imperative for you to hear optimally.
- Your lifestyle changes: In some cases, your first pair of hearing aids might be obtained with a particular lifestyle in mind. But maybe now your lifestyle changes require you to get hearing aids that are more durable or waterproof or rechargeable.
- 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.
You can see why it’s hard to estimate a timetable for updating your hearing aids. How many years your hearing aids will last depends on a handful of factors, but you can generally count on that 2-5 year range.