If you take good care of them, hearing aids can last for years. But they quit being helpful if they no longer address your degree of hearing loss. Your hearing aids are calibrated to your specific level of hearing loss and much like prescription glasses, should be upgraded if your condition worsens. Assuming they are programmed and fitted correctly, here’s how long you can expect them to last.
Do Hearing Aids Expire?
There’s a shelf life for pretty any product. It could take a couple of weeks for the milk in your refrigerator to expire. Canned products can last anywhere from a few months to several 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.
In general, a set of hearing aids will last anywhere between 2-5 years, although with the technology emerging you might want to upgrade sooner. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will be determined by several possible factors:
- 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 of the ear canal, inside-the-ear models tend to have a shelf life of around five years. Behind-the-ear models commonly last about 6-7 years (largely because they’re able to stay drier and cleaner).
- Construction: Today, hearing aids are made from all types of materials, from silicon to metal to nano-coated plastics, and so on. Some wear-and-tear can be expected in spite of the fact that hearing aids are designed to be durable and ergonomic. If you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be influenced regardless of quality construction.
- Batteries: Most (but not all) hearing aids presently use internal, rechargeable batteries. The kind of battery or power supply your hearing aids use can substantially impact the overall shelf life of various models.
- Care: This should come as no surprise, but the better care for hearing aids, the longer they will last. Performing regular required maintenance and cleaning is vital. Time put into proper care will translate almost directly into increased functional time.
In most circumstances, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an estimate determined by typical usage. But the potential life expectancy of your hearing aids is diminished if they’re not used regularly (leaving them unmaintained on a dusty shelf, as an example, could very well curtail the life expectancy of your hearing devices, specifically if you leave the battery in).
And every so often, hearing aids should be inspected and cleaned professionally. This helps make certain 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, years from now, your hearing aid functionality begins to wane. And it will be time, then, to start searching for a new pair. But in some situations, you may find a new pair worthwhile long before your hearing aids begin to show wear and tear. Here are some of those scenarios:
- Changes in lifestyle: You may, in many cases, have a particular lifestyle in mind when you purchase your hearing aids. But maybe your conditions change, maybe you’ve become more physically active and need a pair that are waterproof, more heavy-duty, 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.
- Changes in your hearing: If your hearing gets considerably worse (or better), the characteristics of your hearing assistance change too. Your hearing aids might no longer be calibrated to efficiently manage your hearing problem. If you want an optimal level of hearing, new hearing aids may be needed.
You can understand why the plan for replacing your hearing aid is difficult to predict. Normally, that 2-5 year range is fairly accurate contingent upon these few variables.