If you take good care of them, hearing aids can keep working for years. But they’re only practical if they still address your level of hearing loss. Your hearing aids are dialed into your specific level of hearing loss and comparable to prescription glasses, should be updated if your condition gets worse. Assuming they are programmed and fitted properly, here’s how long you can expect them to last.
Is There an Expiration Time For Hearing Aids?
There’s a shelf life for pretty any product. With the milk in your refrigerator, that shelf life may be a few weeks. A few months to several years is the shelf life of canned products. Even electronics have a shelf life, your brand new high-def TV will likely need to be upgraded some time in the next few years. It’s probably not surprising, then, that your hearing aids also have a shelf life.
Typically, a pair of hearing aids will last anywhere between 2-5 years, though with the technology emerging you may want to replace them sooner. There are several possible factors that will effect the shelf life of your hearing aids:
- Type: There are two primary 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 commonly have a shelf life of about five years. Behind-the-ear models typically last about 6-7 years (largely because they’re able to stay cleaner and drier).
- Batteries: Most (but not all) hearing aids presently use internal, rechargeable batteries. The shelf life of your hearing aid is substantially impacted by the type of batteries they use.
- Construction: These days, hearing aids are constructed from many kinds of materials, from metal to silicon to nano-coated plastics, and so on. Some wear-and-tear can be anticipated despite 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 despite quality construction.
- Care: This shouldn’t be surprising, but the better care for hearing aids, the longer they’ll last. Carrying out regular required maintenance and cleaning is vital. Time put into proper care will translate almost directly into added operational time.
Generally, the typical usage of your hearing aid defines the exact shelf life. But the potential longevity of your hearing aids is diminished if they’re not worn on a regular basis (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 that there is no wax buildup and that they still fit correctly.
It’s a Smart Idea to Replace Your Hearing Aids Before They Wear Down
In the future there may come a time when the functionality of your hearing aids begins to decline. And it will be time, then, to start shopping for a new pair. But in a few cases, you might find that a new pair will be worthwhile long before your hearing aids start to show wear and tear. Here are some of those situations:
- Your lifestyle changes: In some circumstances, your first set 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.
- Your hearing changes: If your hearing gets substantially worse (or better), the characteristics of your hearing assistance change also. In other words, your hearing aids will no longer be adjusted to yield the best possible results. If you want an optimal degree of hearing, new hearing aids might be required.
- 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 understand why the plan for updating your hearing aid is difficult to estimate. Generally, that 2-5 year range is pretty accurate depending on these few variables.