If you take good care of them, hearing aids can last for years. But they stop being useful if they no longer address your level of hearing loss. Your hearing aids are calibrated to your distinct level of hearing loss and similar to prescription glasses, should be upgraded if your condition worsens. Here’s how long you can expect your hearing aids to last assuming they are fitted and programmed properly.
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 might be a few weeks. Canned goods can last between a few months to a number of years. Even electronics have a shelf life, your brand new high-def TV will most likely have to be swapped out some time within the next five years or so. So finding out that your hearing aids have a shelf life is probably not very shocking.
Generally, a pair of hearing aids will last anywhere between 2-5 years, though with the technology coming out you might want to replace them sooner. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will depend on a number of possible factors:
- Batteries: Most (but not all) hearing aids presently use rechargeable, internal batteries. The shelf life of your hearing aid is considerably impacted by the kind of batteries they use.
- Type: There are two basic kinds of hearing aids: inside-the-ear and behind-the-ear. Because they are exposed to the sweat, dirt, and debris of the ear canal, inside-the-ear models normally 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.
- Construction: These days, hearing aids are made out of all kinds of materials, from silicon to metal to nano-coated plastics, and so on. Some wear-and-tear can be expected despite the fact that hearing aids are designed to be ergonomic and durable. If you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be influenced despite quality construction.
- Care: This should come as no surprise, but the better care for hearing aids, the longer they will last. Doing standard required upkeep and cleaning is vital. Time put into proper care will translate almost directly into increased operational time.
In most situations, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an estimation determined by typical usage. But the potential longevity of your hearing aids is diminished 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 now and then, hearing aids should be examined and cleaned professionally. This helps make sure that there is no wax buildup and that they still fit correctly.
Replacing Hearing Aids Before They Wear Out
In the future there might come a time when the functionality of your hearing aids begins to decline. Then you will have to shop for a new set. But there will be scenarios when it will be practical to get a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Some of those scenarios could include:
- Changes in lifestyle: You could, in many cases, have a particular lifestyle in mind when you purchase your hearing aids. But maybe your circumstances change, maybe you’ve become more active and you need a pair that are waterproof, more rugged, or rechargeable.
- Your hearing fluctuates: If your hearing gets considerably worse (or better), the dynamics of your hearing aids change as well. Your hearing aids could no longer be adjusted to efficiently deal with your hearing issue. If you want an optimal degree of hearing, new hearing aids might be needed.
- Technology changes: 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 plan for replacing your hearing aid is difficult to predict. 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.