If you take good care of them, hearing aids can keep working for years. But they are only helpful if they still address your degree of hearing loss. As with prescription glasses, your hearing aids are programmed to your particular hearing loss, which needs to be tested regularly. Here’s how long you can expect your hearing aids to last assuming they are programed and fitted properly.
Is There an Expiration Time For Hearing Aids?
There’s a shelf life for nearly any product. With the milk in your fridge, that shelf life may be a few weeks. Canned products can last between a few months to a number of years. Even electronics have a shelf life, your brand new high-def TV will likely have to be swapped out some time within the next few years. It’s probably not shocking, then, that your hearing aids also have a shelf life.
2 to 5 years is typically the shelf life for a pair of hearing aids, although you might want to upgrade sooner with the new technology coming out. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will be based upon a number of possible factors:
- Batteries: Internal, rechargeable batteries are standard with the majority of hearing aids in current use. The kind of battery or power supply your hearing aids use can dramatically impact the total shelf life of various models.
- Care: It shouldn’t be surprising to know that if you take good care of your hearing aids, they will last longer. This means ensuring your hearing aids are cleaned regularly and have any necessary regular maintenance. You will get added operational time out of your hearing aid in almost direct proportion to time put into care.
- Construction: Today, hearing aids are made out of many kinds 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 experience wear-and-tear along the way. If you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be affected despite quality construction.
- Type: There are a couple of basic kinds of hearing aids: inside-the-ear and behind-the-ear. Five years or so will be the estimated shelf life of inside-the-ear model hearing aids because of exposure to debris, sweat, and dirt of the ear canal. Because they are able to stay cleaner and dryer, behind the ear models usually last 6-7 years.
Generally, the typical usage of your hearing aid defines the exact shelf life. But failing to wear your hearing aids may also minimize their projected usefulness (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 sure they still fit correctly and don’t have a build-up of wax impeding their ability to work.
Upgrading Hearing Aids Before They Wear Out
There could come a time when, years from now, your hearing aid effectiveness starts to decline. Then you will have to look for a new pair. But in some situations, you may find a new pair worthwhile long before your hearing aids start to show wear and tear. Some of those situations 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 lifestyle changes: You might, in some cases, have a specific lifestyle in mind when you purchase your hearing aids. But perhaps your circumstances change, maybe you’ve become more active and need a pair that are waterproof, more rugged, or rechargeable.
- Changes in your hearing: You should change your hearing aid scenario if the state of your hearing changes. Put simply, your hearing aids will no longer be adjusted to yield the best possible benefits. In these situations, a new hearing aid could be necessary for you to hear optimally.
You can see why the timetable for updating your hearing aid is difficult to predict. 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.