If you care for them, hearing aids can last for years. But they’re only practical if they still reflect your degree of hearing loss. As with prescription glasses, your hearing aids are programmed to your particular hearing loss, which should be tested regularly. Here’s how long you can expect your hearing aids to last if they are programed and fitted correctly.
Is There an Expiration Time For Hearing Aids?
Almost everything you purchase has a shelf life. With the milk in your refrigerator, that shelf life may be several weeks. Canned goods can last between a few months to a number of years. Even electronic devices have a shelf life, your brand new high-def TV will probably have to be upgraded some time within the next few years. It’s certainly not shocking, then, that your hearing aids also have a shelf life.
2 to 5 years is typically the shelf life for a set of hearing aids, although you might want to upgrade sooner with the new technology emerging. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will depend on a number of possible factors:
- Type: There are two basic kinds 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 due to exposure to debris, sweat, and dirt of the ear canal. Behind-the-ear models commonly last around 6-7 years (largely because they’re able to stay cleaner and drier).
- Care: This shouldn’t be surprising, but the better you take care of hearing aids, the longer they’ll last. This means ensuring your hearing aids are cleaned on a regular basis and undergo any necessary regular upkeep. You will get added operational time from your hearing aid in almost direct proportion to time put into care.
- Batteries: The majority of (but not all) hearing aids presently use internal, rechargeable batteries. The kind of battery or power supply your hearing aids use can dramatically impact the total shelf life of different models.
- Construction: Today, hearing aids are made out of many kinds of materials, from metal to silicon to nano-coated plastics, and so on. The devices are created 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 impacted regardless of quality construction.
In most situations, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an estimate determined by typical usage. But the potential longevity of your hearing aids is lessened if they’re not used 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 they still fit properly and don’t have a build-up of wax impeding their ability to function.
It’s a Smart Idea to Upgrade Your Hearing Aids Before They Wear Out
Years from now there may come a time when the functionality of your hearing aids begins to decline. Then you will need to shop for a new pair. But there will be scenarios when it will be beneficial to buy a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Some of those scenarios might 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.
- Your hearing changes: You should change your hearing aid situation if the state of your hearing changes. Your hearing aids might no longer be adjusted to efficiently manage your hearing problem. If you want an optimal degree of hearing, new hearing aids could be needed.
- Your lifestyle changes: In some cases, your first set of hearing aids may be obtained with a certain lifestyle in mind. 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 the timetable for updating your hearing aid is difficult to estimate. How many years your hearing aids will fit your needs depends on a handful of factors, but you can generally count on that 2-5 year range.