If you take good care of them, hearing aids can keep working for years. But they are only useful if they still reflect your level of hearing loss. Similar to prescription glasses, your hearing aids are calibrated to your specific hearing loss, which should be tested on a regular basis. Here’s how long you can anticipate your hearing aids will last assuming they are fitted and programmed properly.
Is There an Expiration Time For Hearing Aids?
Nearly everything you buy has a shelf life. With the milk in your fridge, that shelf life might be several weeks. Canned products can last anywhere from a few months to several years. Within the next few years or so, even your new high-def TV will need to be swapped out. So discovering that your hearing aids have a shelf life is probably not very surprising.
Typically, a set of hearing aids will last approximately 2-5 years, although with the technology emerging you might want to replace them sooner. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will be determined by 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 significantly influence the overall shelf life of different models.
- Construction: Materials like 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 suffer from wear-and-tear along the way. If you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be influenced regardless of quality construction.
- Care: This should come as no surprise, but the better you take care of hearing aids, the longer they will last. This means making sure your hearing aids are cleaned regularly and undergo any necessary regular upkeep. Time put into proper care will translate almost directly into increased operational time.
- Type: There are two primary kinds 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 tend to have a shelf life of around five years. Behind-the-ear models typically last about 6-7 years (mostly because they’re able to stay drier and cleaner).
In most circumstances, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an estimation determined by typical usage. But the potential life expectancy of your hearing aids is lessened if they’re not worn on a regular basis (leaving your hearing aids neglected on a shelf and unmaintained can also diminish the lifespan of your hearing aids).
Hearing aids should also be inspected and professionally cleaned every so often. This helps make sure they still fit correctly and don’t have a build-up of wax blocking their ability to function.
It’s a Smart Idea to Upgrade Your Hearing Aids Before They Wear Out
There might come a time when, years from now, your hearing aid functionality begins to decline. And it will be time, therefore, to begin searching 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. Here are some of those situations:
- Changes in lifestyle: In some cases, your first pair of hearing aids may be obtained with a certain lifestyle in mind. But maybe now your lifestyle changes require you to get hearing aids that are more durable or waterproof or rechargeable.
- Changes in technology: 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 your hearing: If your hearing gets substantially worse (or better), the characteristics of your hearing aids change too. Put simply, your hearing aids will no longer be calibrated to yield the best possible results. If you want an optimal level of hearing, new hearing aids might be required.
You can see why the timetable for updating your hearing devices is difficult to predict. Normally, that 2-5 year range is pretty accurate contingent upon these few variables.