If you care for them, hearing aids can last for years. But they are only helpful if they still address your degree of hearing loss. Similar to prescription glasses, your hearing aids are programmed to your specific hearing loss, which should be tested regularly. If they are programmed and fitted correctly, here’s how long you can expect them to last.
Is There an Expiration Time For Hearing Aids?
There’s a shelf life for almost 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. Even electronic devices have a shelf life, your brand new high-def TV will probably need to be upgraded some time within the next few years. So learning that your hearing aids have a shelf life is probably not very shocking.
2 to 5 years is normally the shelf life for a pair of hearing aids, though you might want to replace them sooner with the new technology emerging. There are several possible factors that will impact the shelf life of your hearing aids:
- Construction: These days, hearing aids are made from many types of materials, from silicon to metal to nano-coated plastics, and so on. The devices are designed to be ergonomic and durable, but some materials do suffer from wear-and-tear along the way. Despite quality construction, if you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be impacted.
- Care: It shouldn’t be surprising to find out that if you care for your hearing aids, they will last longer. This means ensuring your hearing aids are cleaned on a regular basis and go through any necessary regular upkeep. Time put into proper care will translate almost directly into increased operational time.
- Type: There are two primary kinds of hearing aids: inside-the-ear and behind-the-ear. Because they are subjected to the debris, sweat, and dirt from 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 drier and cleaner).
- Batteries: The majority of (but not all) hearing aids presently use internal, rechargeable batteries. The type of battery or power supply your hearing aids use can substantially influence the total shelf life of different models.
Usually, the standard usage of your hearing aid determines the actual 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).
And every so often, hearing aids should be inspected and cleaned professionally. This helps make certain they still fit correctly and don’t have a build-up of wax blocking their ability to function.
Upgrading Hearing Aids Before They Wear Out
There could come a time when, down the road, your hearing aid performance begins to decline. And it will be time, then, to begin looking around for a new pair. But in a few situations, you might find a new pair beneficial long before your hearing aids start to show their age. Some of those scenarios might include:
- Your lifestyle changes: In many circumstances, your first pair of hearing aids may 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.
- Changes in your hearing: You need to change your hearing aid scenario if the state of your hearing changes. Your hearing aids might no longer be calibrated to effectively treat your hearing problem. In these cases, a new hearing aid might be necessary for you to hear optimally.
- Changes in technology: Every year, hearing aid manufacturers introduce innovative new technologies that make hearing aids more useful in novel ways. 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 see why the timetable for updating your hearing aid is difficult to predict. Generally, that 2-5 year range is pretty accurate depending on these few factors.