If you care for them, hearing aids can keep working for years. But they quit being useful if they no longer address your degree of hearing loss. Your hearing aids are dialed into your specific level of hearing loss and similar to prescription glasses, should be updated if your condition worsens. Assuming they are fitted and programmed correctly, here’s how long you can anticipate they will last.
Do Hearing Aids Expire?
There’s a shelf life for pretty any product. It could take a couple of weeks for the milk inside your fridge to expire. Canned products can last between a few months to several years. Even electronic devices have a shelf life, your brand new high-def TV will probably need to be swapped out some time within the next few years. So learning that your hearing aids have a shelf life is most likely not very surprising.
2 to 5 years is normally the shelf life for a pair of hearing aids, though you might want to replace them sooner with the new technology emerging. There are a number of possible factors that will impact the shelf life of your hearing aids:
- Batteries: Internal, rechargeable batteries are standard with the majority of hearing aids in current use. The shelf life of your hearing aid is considerably impacted by the type of batteries they use.
- Care: This should come as no surprise, but the better you take care of hearing aids, the longer they will last. Carrying out regular required maintenance and cleaning is vital. Time put into care will translate almost directly into increased functional time.
- Type: There are two basic types 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 about five years. Because they are able to remain dryer and cleaner, behind the ear models normally last 6-7 years.
- Construction: These days, hearing aids are constructed from many kinds 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 experience 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 real shelf life. But failing to wear your hearing aids could also minimize their expected usefulness (leaving them unmaintained on a dusty shelf, for example, could very well curtail the lifespan of your hearing devices, especially if you leave the battery in).
And every so often, hearing aids should be checked and cleaned professionally. This helps make sure they still fit properly and don’t have a build-up of wax blocking their ability to work.
Upgrading Hearing Aids Before They Wear Out
There could come a time when, down the road, your hearing aid functionality starts to decline. Then you will need to shop for a new pair. But in a few situations, you might find a new pair advantageous long before your hearing aids start to show their age. Some of those scenarios might include:
- Changes in lifestyle: You may, in some cases, have a particular lifestyle in mind when you purchase your hearing aids. But perhaps your conditions change, maybe you’ve become more active and need a pair that are waterproof, more durable, 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.
- Your hearing fluctuates: If your hearing gets significantly worse (or better), the characteristics of your hearing assistance change as well. Your hearing aids could no longer be adjusted to efficiently manage your hearing issue. If you want an optimal level of hearing, new hearing aids might be needed.
You can see why the timetable for updating your hearing aid is difficult to predict. Usually, that 2-5 year range is fairly accurate dependant upon these few factors.