If you care for them, hearing aids can keep working for years. But they stop being helpful if they no longer treat your degree of hearing loss. Your hearing aids are calibrated to your distinct level of hearing loss and similar to prescription glasses, need to be upgraded if your situation gets worse. Assuming they are programmed and fitted properly, here’s how long you can expect them to last.
Do Hearing Aids Expire?
Just about everything you purchase has a shelf life. It could take a couple of weeks for the milk in your fridge to expire. Canned products can last anywhere from several months to several 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 set of hearing aids will last approximately 2-5 years, though with the technology coming out you might want to upgrade sooner. There are a number of possible factors that will effect the shelf life of your hearing aids:
- Construction: Materials like nano-coated plastics, silicon, and metal are used to produce modern hearing aids. The devices are created to be ergonomic and durable, but some materials do suffer from wear-and-tear along the way. In spite of premium construction, if you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be impacted.
- Care: This should come as no surprise, but the better care for hearing aids, the longer they will last. This means ensuring your hearing aids are cleaned on a regular basis and go through any required regular maintenance. Time put into proper care will translate almost directly into increased operational time.
- Batteries: Internal, rechargeable batteries are standard with most hearing aids in current use. The type of battery or power supply your hearing aids use can significantly impact the overall shelf life of various models.
- Type: There are two basic 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 normally have a shelf life of about five years. Behind-the-ear models usually last around 6-7 years (largely because they’re able to stay cleaner and drier).
In most cases, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an estimation determined by typical usage. But the potential longevity of your hearing aids is lessened if they’re not used regularly (putting them unmaintained in a humid drawer, for example, may very well reduce the lifespan of your hearing devices, especially if you leave the battery in).
Hearing aids should also be inspected and professionally cleaned every now and then. This helps make certain that there is no wax buildup and that they still fit properly.
It’s a Good Idea to Replace Your Hearing Aids Before They Wear Out
Years from now there may come a time when the performance of your hearing aids begins to decline. Then you will have to look for a new pair. But there will be situations when it will be beneficial to purchase a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Some of those scenarios could include:
- Technology changes: 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 lifestyle: You might, in many cases, have a specific lifestyle in mind when you purchase your hearing aids. But maybe now your lifestyle changes require you to get hearing aids that are more durable or waterproof or rechargeable.
- Your hearing fluctuates: You need to change your hearing aid situation if the state of your hearing changes. Your hearing aids could no longer be adjusted to effectively treat your hearing issue. In these situations, a new hearing aid might be necessary for you to hear optimally.
You can see why it’s hard to predict a timetable for replacing your hearing aids. How many years your hearing aids will last depends on a handful of variables, but you can usually count on that 2-5 year range.