Man playing basketball wonders whether he needs new hearing aids to keep up with his active lifestyle.

Hearing aids, if you care for them correctly, can keep working for years. But they’re only helpful if they still reflect your level of hearing loss. Your hearing aids are dialed into your specific level of hearing loss and comparable to prescription glasses, need to be updated if your condition worsens. Here’s how long you can anticipate your hearing aids will last if they are fitted and programmed properly.

Do Hearing Aids Expire?

Almost everything you buy has a shelf life. With the milk in your refrigerator, that shelf life might be several weeks. Several months to several years is the shelf life of canned goods. Even electronic devices have a shelf life, your brand new high-def TV will probably have to be swapped out some time within the next few years. It’s certainly not surprising, then, that your hearing aids also have a shelf life.

Normally, a pair of hearing aids will last approximately 2-5 years, although with the technology emerging you might want to replace them sooner. There are several possible factors that will impact the shelf life of your hearing aids:

  • Type: There are a couple of basic types of hearing aids: inside-the-ear and behind-the-ear. Five years or so will be the expected shelf life of inside-the-ear model hearing aids because of exposure to debris, sweat, and dirt of the ear canal. Because they are able to remain cleaner and dryer, behind the ear models normally last 6-7 years.
  • Care: It shouldn’t be surprising to find out that if you take good care of your hearing aids, they will last longer. Carrying out standard required maintenance and cleaning is crucial. Time put into care will translate almost directly into added functional time.
  • Construction: Materials like nano-coated plastics, silicon, and metal are used to build modern hearing aids. Some wear-and-tear can be expected in spite of the fact that hearing aids are manufactured to be durable and ergonomic. If you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be influenced despite quality construction.
  • Batteries: Most (but not all) hearing aids presently use internal, rechargeable batteries. The shelf life of your hearing aid is significantly influenced by the type of batteries they use.

Generally, the standard usage of your hearing aid determines the exact shelf life. But failing to wear your hearing aids might also minimize their projected usefulness (leaving them unmaintained in a humid drawer, for example, may very well reduce the lifespan of your hearing devices, specifically if you leave the battery in).

And every now and then, hearing aids should be inspected and cleaned professionally. This helps make certain they still fit properly and don’t have a build-up of wax blocking their ability to work.

Upgrading Hearing Aids Before They Wear Down

In the future there could come a time when the functionality of your hearing aids begins to diminish. Then you will need to look for a new set. But there will be situations when it will be advantageous to purchase a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Here are some of those situations:

  • Changes in lifestyle: You may, in many cases, have a certain lifestyle in mind when you purchase your hearing aids. But maybe now your lifestyle changes require you to get hearing aids that are more durable or waterproof or rechargeable.
  • Your hearing fluctuates: If your hearing gets considerably worse (or better), the characteristics of your hearing aids change too. Your hearing aids may no longer be calibrated to efficiently treat your hearing problem. If you want an optimal degree of hearing, new hearing aids could be needed.
  • Changes in technology: Every year, hearing aid manufacturers introduce innovative new technologies that make hearing aids more useful in novel ways. 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 the plan for updating your hearing aid is difficult to estimate. 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.

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