If you take good care of them, hearing aids can keep working for years. But they stop being useful if they no longer address your level of hearing loss. Similar to prescription glasses, your hearing aids are calibrated to your specific hearing loss, which should be examined on a regular basis. If 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 much any product. With the milk in your fridge, that shelf life may be a few weeks. A few months to several years is the shelf life of canned products. Even electronic devices have a shelf life, your brand new high-def TV will most likely have to be upgraded some time within the next few years. So finding out that your hearing aids have a shelf life is most likely not very shocking.
2 to 5 years is generally the shelf life for a set of hearing aids, although you might want to upgrade sooner with the new technology emerging. There are several possible factors that will impact the shelf life of your hearing aids:
- Batteries: Rechargeable, internal batteries are standard with most hearing aids in current use. The type of battery or power supply your hearing aids use can dramatically influence the overall shelf life of various models.
- Construction: Materials like nano-coated plastics, silicon, and metal are used to construct modern hearing aids. Some wear-and-tear can be anticipated despite the fact that hearing aids are manufactured to be durable and ergonomic. If you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be affected despite quality construction.
- Care: It shouldn’t be surprising to know that if you care for your hearing aids, they will last longer. This means making certain your hearing aids are cleaned regularly and undergo any required regular upkeep. Time put into proper care will translate almost directly into increased operational time.
- 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 because of exposure to dirt, sweat, and debris of the ear canal. Because they are able to remain dryer and cleaner, behind the ear models typically last 6-7 years.
Normally, the typical usage of your hearing aid defines the actual shelf life. But the potential longevity of your hearing aids is lessened if they’re not used regularly (leaving them unmaintained on a dusty shelf, for example, could very well curtail the lifespan of your hearing devices, particularly if you leave the battery in place).
And every so often, hearing aids should be examined and cleaned professionally. This helps make sure that there is no wax buildup and that they still fit properly.
Updating Hearing Aids Before They Wear Out
There might come a time when, years from now, your hearing aid effectiveness starts to decline. And it will be time, therefore, to start looking for a new pair. But there will be scenarios when it will be practical to get a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Here are a few of those scenarios:
- Your lifestyle changes: In many circumstances, your first pair of hearing aids might be purchased with a certain lifestyle in mind. But perhaps your conditions change, maybe you’ve become more active and you need a set that are waterproof, more rugged, or rechargeable.
- Changes in technology: 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.
- Changes in your hearing: You need to change your hearing aid situation if the state of your hearing changes. Your hearing aids might no longer be calibrated to effectively manage your hearing issue. If you want an optimal degree of hearing, new hearing aids may be needed.
You can see why it’s hard to predict a timetable for replacing your hearing aids. How many years your hearing aids will fit your needs depends on a handful of factors, but you can normally count on that 2-5 year range.