Hearing aids, if you care for them properly, can keep working for years. But they are only practical if they still address your level of hearing loss. As with prescription glasses, your hearing aids are programmed to your particular hearing loss, which should be checked regularly. Assuming they are programmed and fitted correctly, here’s how long you can anticipate they will 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 fridge to expire. Canned products can last between a few months to a number of years. Within the next few years or so, even your new high-def TV will need to be swapped out. So finding out that your hearing aids have a shelf life is probably not very shocking.
In general, a set of hearing aids will last approximately 2-5 years, though with the technology emerging you might want to replace them sooner. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will be determined by a number of possible factors:
- Care: This should come as no surprise, but the better you take care of hearing aids, the longer they will last. Carrying out standard required maintenance and cleaning is indispensable. You will get added functional time from your hearing aid in almost direct proportion to time put into care.
- Type: There are two basic 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 because of exposure to debris, sweat, and dirt of the ear canal. Because they are able to stay dryer and cleaner, behind the ear models normally last 6-7 years.
- Batteries: The majority of (but not all) hearing aids currently use rechargeable, internal batteries. The type of battery or power supply your hearing aids use can significantly impact the overall shelf life of different models.
- Construction: Materials like nano-coated plastics, silicon, and metal are used to produce modern hearing aids. 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 affected regardless of quality construction.
Generally, the standard usage of your hearing aid determines the real shelf life. But the potential longevity of your hearing aids is reduced if they’re not used on a regular basis (leaving them unmaintained in a humid drawer, as an example, may very well reduce the lifespan of your hearing devices, particularly if you leave the battery in place).
And every now and then, hearing aids should be checked and cleaned professionally. 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 Upgrade Your Hearing Aids Before They Wear Out
In the future there could come a time when the functionality of your hearing aids starts to decline. Then you will have to shop for a new set. But in certain cases, you might find a new pair worthwhile long before your hearing aids begin to show their age. Some of those situations could include:
- Changes in technology: 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.
- Changes in your hearing: You should change your hearing aid situation if the condition of your hearing changes. Put simply, your hearing aids will no longer be calibrated to yield the best possible results. In these situations, a new hearing aid might be required for you to hear optimally.
- Changes in lifestyle: You may, in some cases, have a specific lifestyle in mind when you purchase your hearing aids. But maybe your conditions change, maybe you’ve become more active and you need a pair that are waterproof, more durable, or rechargeable.
You can understand why it’s hard to predict a timetable for replacing your hearing aids. Normally, that 2-5 year range is fairly accurate dependant upon these few factors.