If you care for them, hearing aids can keep working for years. But they quit being helpful if they no longer treat your level 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 properly, here’s how long you can anticipate they will last.
Is There an Expiration Time For Hearing Aids?
There’s a shelf life for pretty any product. With the milk in your refrigerator, that shelf life may be a few weeks. A few months to several years is the shelf life of canned goods. Within the next few years or so, even your new high-def TV will need to be swapped out. So finding out that your hearing aids have a shelf life is probably not very surprising.
In general, a set of hearing aids will last approximately 2-5 years, though with the technology emerging you may want to upgrade sooner. There are a number of possible factors that will impact the shelf life of your hearing aids:
- Batteries: Most (but not all) hearing aids currently use rechargeable, internal batteries. The shelf life of your hearing aid is significantly impacted by the kind of batteries they use.
- Care: This should come as no surprise, but the better you take care of hearing aids, the longer they’ll last. Performing standard required maintenance and cleaning is vital. You will get added functional time out of your hearing aid in almost direct proportion to the time you put into care.
- 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 due to exposure to dirt, sweat, and debris of the ear canal. Because they are able to remain dryer and cleaner, behind the ear models typically last 6-7 years.
- Construction: Materials like nano-coated plastics, silicon, and metal are used to construct 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 affected despite quality construction.
Usually, the standard usage of your hearing aid determines the real shelf life. But failing to wear your hearing aids may also diminish their projected usefulness (leaving them unmaintained on a dusty shelf, for example, may very well curtail the life expectancy of your hearing devices, especially if you leave the battery in place).
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 function.
Upgrading Hearing Aids Before They Wear Out
Years from now there could come a time when the efficiency of your hearing aids starts to diminish. And it will be time, therefore, to begin searching for a new set. But there will be situations when it will be beneficial to get a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Some of those scenarios might include:
- 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 changes: If your hearing gets significantly worse (or better), the dynamics of your hearing aids change also. Put simply, your hearing aids will no longer be adjusted to yield the best possible results. In these situations, a new hearing aid might be required for you to hear optimally.
- Your lifestyle changes: You may, in some cases, have a specific 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.
You can see why the plan for updating your hearing aid is difficult to predict. How many years your hearing aids will fit your needs depends on a handful of variables, but you can generally count on that 2-5 year range.