Hearing aids, if you care for them properly, can last for years. But they stop being practical if they no longer treat your level of hearing loss. Your hearing aids are calibrated to your particular level of hearing loss and similar to prescription glasses, should be upgraded if your situation gets worse. 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 almost any product. It could take a couple of weeks for the milk inside your refrigerator to expire. A few months to several years is the shelf life of canned products. Even electronic devices have a shelf life, your brand new high-def TV will most likely have to be upgraded some time within the next five years or so. It’s certainly not surprising, then, that your hearing aids also have a shelf life.
2 to 5 years is generally the shelf life for a pair of hearing aids, although you might want to replace them sooner with the new technology coming out. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will be based upon several possible factors:
- Care: It shouldn’t surprise you to find out that if you take good care of your hearing aids, they will last longer. Doing standard required maintenance and cleaning is vital. Time put into care will translate almost directly into added operational time.
- Construction: Today, hearing aids are constructed from many 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 manufactured to be ergonomic and durable. In spite of quality construction, if you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be impacted.
- Batteries: Most (but not all) hearing aids currently use internal, rechargeable batteries. The shelf life of your hearing aid is dramatically impacted by the type of batteries they use.
- Type: There are two primary types 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 as a result of exposure to debris, sweat, and dirt of the ear canal. Behind-the-ear models typically last about 6-7 years (mostly because they’re able to stay cleaner and drier).
Generally, the typical usage of your hearing aid determines the actual shelf life. But the potential longevity of your hearing aids is lessened if they’re not worn on a regular basis (leaving them unmaintained in a humid drawer, for example, may very well curtail the life expectancy of your hearing devices, particularly if you leave the battery in place).
And every now and then, hearing aids should be examined and cleaned professionally. This helps make sure they still fit properly and don’t have a build-up of wax impeding their ability to work.
It’s a Smart Idea to Replace Your Hearing Aids Before They Wear Out
There might come a time when, years from now, your hearing aid functionality begins to decline. Then you will need to shop for a new set. But in some cases, you might find that a new pair will be practical well before your hearing aids begin to show wear and tear. Here are some of those situations:
- Your hearing fluctuates: You need to change your hearing aid circumstance if the condition of your hearing changes. Your hearing aids might no longer be calibrated to effectively deal with your hearing issue. In these cases, a new hearing aid might be imperative for you to hear optimally.
- Changes in lifestyle: In many circumstances, your first set of hearing aids may be purchased with a particular 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: 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 timetable for replacing your hearing devices is difficult to predict. How many years your hearing aids will last depends on a handful of variables, but you can normally count on that 2-5 year range.