Hearing aids, if you care for them properly, can last for years. But they’re only practical if they still address your degree of hearing loss. As with prescription glasses, your hearing aids are programmed to your specific hearing loss, which should be tested on a regular basis. Assuming they are fitted and programmed properly, here’s how long you can anticipate they will last.
Do Hearing Aids Expire?
Nearly 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 between a few months to a number of years. Within the next few years or so, even your new high-def TV will need to be swapped out. It’s probably not shocking, then, that your hearing aids also have a shelf life.
Typically, a set of hearing aids will last approximately 2-5 years, although with the technology coming out you may want to upgrade sooner. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will be determined by several possible factors:
- Type: There are a couple of primary kinds of hearing aids: inside-the-ear and behind-the-ear. Because they are exposed to the sweat, dirt, and debris from the ear canal, inside-the-ear models tend to have a shelf life of about five years. Behind-the-ear models normally last around 6-7 years (largely because they’re able to stay drier and cleaner).
- Care: It shouldn’t surprise you to find out that if you care for your hearing aids, they will last longer. Carrying out regular required upkeep and cleaning is essential. Time put into care will translate almost directly into increased operational time.
- Batteries: Rechargeable, internal batteries are standard with most hearing aids in current use. The shelf life of your hearing aid is considerably impacted by the kind of batteries they use.
- Construction: Today, hearing aids are made from all types 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 suffer from wear-and-tear along the way. In spite of quality construction, if you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be impacted.
Generally, the standard usage of your hearing aid determines the actual shelf life. But the potential life expectancy of your hearing aids is reduced if they’re not used on a regular basis (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 inspected and cleaned professionally. This helps make sure that there is no wax buildup and that they still fit correctly.
Upgrading Hearing Aids Before They Wear Down
There might come a time when, years from now, your hearing aid performance begins to wane. Then you will have to look for a new set. But in certain cases, you might find that a new pair will be worthwhile long before your hearing aids begin to show their age. Some of those scenarios could include:
- Your lifestyle changes: In many instances, your first set of hearing aids might be obtained with a certain lifestyle in mind. But perhaps your circumstances change, maybe you’ve become more active and you need a set that are waterproof, more rugged, or rechargeable.
- Changes in your hearing: You need to change your hearing aid scenario if the state of your hearing changes. Your hearing aids could no longer be adjusted to effectively deal with your hearing problem. In these cases, a new hearing aid could be imperative for you to hear optimally.
- 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.
You can see why it’s difficult to estimate a timetable for updating your hearing aids. 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.