If you care for them, hearing aids can keep working for years. But they are only practical if they still address your level of hearing loss. Similar to prescription glasses, your hearing aids are calibrated to your specific hearing loss, which needs to be tested regularly. Here’s how long you can anticipate your hearing aids will last assuming they are programed and fitted correctly.
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 goods can last anywhere from several 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 most likely not very shocking.
Normally, a pair of hearing aids will last approximately 2-5 years, although with the technology coming out you might want to upgrade sooner. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will be determined by several possible factors:
- 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 different models.
- Type: There are a couple of primary types of hearing aids: inside-the-ear and behind-the-ear. Because they are subjected to the sweat, dirt, and debris from the ear canal, inside-the-ear models commonly have a shelf life of around five years. Because they are able to remain cleaner and dryer, behind the ear models typically last 6-7 years.
- Care: This shouldn’t be surprising, but the better care you take of your hearing aids, the longer they’ll last. This means ensuring your hearing aids are cleaned regularly and have any required regular maintenance. You will get added functional time out of your hearing aid in almost direct proportion to the time you put into care.
- Construction: Materials such as 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 experience wear-and-tear along the way. If you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be influenced regardless of quality construction.
In most circumstances, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an estimate based on typical usage. But the potential longevity of your hearing aids is diminished if they’re not worn on a regular basis (putting them unmaintained on a dusty shelf, as an example, may very well reduce the lifespan of your hearing devices, particularly if you leave the battery in place).
Hearing aids should also be checked and professionally cleaned every so often. This helps make certain they still fit correctly and don’t have a build-up of wax impeding their ability to function.
Replacing Hearing Aids Before They Wear Out
There might come a time when, down the road, your hearing aid functionality starts to wane. Then you will need to look for a new set. But there will be situations when it will be advantageous to get a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Some of those situations might include:
- 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 benefits. If you want an optimal degree of hearing, new hearing aids may be needed.
- Your lifestyle changes: You might, in some cases, have a certain lifestyle in mind when you purchase your hearing aids. But maybe your conditions change, maybe you’ve become more physically active and you need a pair that are waterproof, more heavy-duty, or rechargeable.
- 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 it’s hard to estimate a timetable for replacing your hearing aids. How many years your hearing aids will last depends on a handful of factors, but you can usually count on that 2-5 year range.