If you care for them, hearing aids can keep working for years. But they stop being helpful if they no longer treat your degree 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 programmed and fitted properly, here’s how long you can anticipate they will last.
Do Hearing Aids Expire?
There’s a shelf life for almost any product. It could take a couple of weeks for the milk inside your fridge to expire. Canned products can last anywhere from a few months to a number of years. Even electronics have a shelf life, your brand new high-def TV will likely have to be upgraded some time in the next five years or so. So learning that your hearing aids have a shelf life is probably not very surprising.
Normally, a set of hearing aids will last anywhere between 2-5 years, although with the technology emerging you may want to replace them sooner. There are a number of possible factors that will impact the shelf life of your hearing aids:
- Care: It shouldn’t surprise you to find out that if you care for your hearing aids, they will last longer. Carrying out regular required upkeep and cleaning is vital. You will get added functional time out of 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. 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. Because they are able to remain dryer and cleaner, behind the ear models commonly last 6-7 years.
- Batteries: Internal, rechargeable batteries are standard with most hearing aids in current use. The shelf life of your hearing aid is dramatically influenced by the kind of batteries they use.
- Construction: Materials like nano-coated plastics, silicon, and metal are used to construct modern hearing aids. Some wear-and-tear can be expected despite 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 affected.
Usually, the standard usage of your hearing aid defines the exact shelf life. But the potential longevity of your hearing aids is diminished if they’re not used on a regular basis (putting them unmaintained on a dusty shelf, as an example, could very well curtail the life expectancy of your hearing devices, particularly if you leave the battery in place).
Hearing aids should also be checked and professionally cleaned every so often. This helps make sure they still fit correctly and don’t have a build-up of wax blocking their ability to function.
It’s a Smart Idea to Replace Your Hearing Aids Before They Wear Out
In the future there may come a time when the efficiency of your hearing aids begins to decline. And it will be time, therefore, to begin looking for a new pair. But there will be situations when it will be advantageous to purchase a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Some of those scenarios might include:
- 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.
- Changes in lifestyle: In some cases, your first set of hearing aids might be purchased with a particular lifestyle in mind. But maybe your circumstances change, maybe you’ve become more physically active and need a pair that are waterproof, more heavy-duty, or rechargeable.
- Your hearing fluctuates: If your hearing gets considerably worse (or better), the dynamics of your hearing assistance change too. Your hearing aids might no longer be adjusted to effectively treat your hearing issue. If you want an optimal level of hearing, new hearing aids could be needed.
You can see why it’s hard to predict a timetable for replacing your hearing aids. Generally, that 2-5 year range is fairly accurate depending on these few factors.