Hearing Health Blog

Man playing basketball wonders whether he needs new hearing aids to keep up with his active lifestyle.

Hearing aids, if you take care of them properly, can keep working for years. But they stop being useful if they no longer address your level of hearing loss. As with prescription glasses, your hearing aids are calibrated to your specific hearing loss, which needs to be checked on a regular basis. Here’s how long you can anticipate your hearing aids will last assuming they are fitted and programmed properly.

Do Hearing Aids Expire?

Nearly everything you buy has a shelf life. With the milk in your refrigerator, that shelf life might be a few weeks. A few 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 need to be swapped out. So discovering that your hearing aids have a shelf life is probably not very shocking.

2 to 5 years is typically the shelf life for a pair of hearing aids, though you may want to replace them sooner with the new technology coming out. There are a number of possible factors that will effect the shelf life of your hearing aids:

  • Type: There are a couple of basic types of hearing aids: inside-the-ear and behind-the-ear. Five years or so will be the expected shelf life of inside-the-ear model hearing aids as a result of exposure to dirt, sweat, and debris of the ear canal. Because they are able to remain cleaner and dryer, behind the ear models usually last 6-7 years.
  • Construction: Nowadays, hearing aids are constructed from all types of materials, from metal to silicon to nano-coated plastics, and so on. Some wear-and-tear can be expected despite the fact that hearing aids are manufactured to be ergonomic and durable. If you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be influenced regardless of quality construction.
  • Batteries: Internal, rechargeable batteries are standard with the majority of hearing aids in current use. The shelf life of your hearing aid is significantly influenced by the kind of batteries they use.
  • Care: It shouldn’t surprise you to find out that if you take good care of your hearing aids, they will last longer. This means making certain your hearing aids are cleaned regularly and have any required regular upkeep. You will get added functional time from your hearing aid in almost direct proportion to the time you put into care.

Usually, the standard usage of your hearing aid determines the real shelf life. But the potential longevity of your hearing aids is lessened if they’re not worn regularly (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 so often. This helps make certain that there is no wax buildup and that they still fit properly.

Updating Hearing Aids Before They Wear Out

In the future there could come a time when the functionality of your hearing aids begins to diminish. And it will be time, then, to start looking for a new set. But there will be situations when it will be practical to buy a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Some of those scenarios could include:

  • Your hearing changes: You need to change your hearing aid situation if the condition of your hearing changes. Your hearing aids might no longer be calibrated to efficiently treat your hearing issue. If you want an optimal level of hearing, new hearing aids may be required.
  • Your lifestyle changes: In some instances, your first pair of hearing aids might be obtained with a certain 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: Hearing aids are becoming more useful in novel ways every year. 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 understand why the plan for updating your hearing devices is difficult to estimate. Normally, that 2-5 year range is fairly accurate dependant upon these few variables.

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