Hearing aids, if you take care of them properly, can keep working for years. But they are only useful if they still 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 situation worsens. If they are programmed and fitted correctly, here’s how long you can anticipate they will last.
Do Hearing Aids Expire?
Nearly everything you purchase has a shelf life. With the milk in your fridge, that shelf life may be a few weeks. Canned products can last between a few months to several years. Within the next few years or so, even your new high-def TV will need to be swapped out. It’s certainly not surprising, then, that your hearing aids also have a shelf life.
2 to 5 years is typically the shelf life for a set of hearing aids, though 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 a number of possible factors:
- Construction: Materials such as nano-coated plastics, silicon, and metal are used to build 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 regardless of quality construction.
- Care: It shouldn’t surprise you to know that if you care for your hearing aids, they will last longer. Doing regular required maintenance and cleaning is indispensable. Time put into care will translate almost directly into increased functional time.
- Type: There are two primary types of hearing aids: inside-the-ear and behind-the-ear. Because they are exposed to the debris, sweat, and dirt from the ear canal, inside-the-ear models commonly have a shelf life of around five years. Because they are able to stay cleaner and dryer, behind the ear models typically last 6-7 years.
- Batteries: Internal, rechargeable batteries are standard with the majority of hearing aids in current use. The shelf life of your hearing aid is substantially influenced by the kind of batteries they use.
In most cases, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an estimation based on typical usage. But the potential life expectancy of your hearing aids is diminished if they’re not worn regularly (leaving your hearing aids neglected on a shelf and unmaintained can also diminish the lifespan of your hearing aids).
Hearing aids should also be inspected and professionally cleaned every now and then. This helps make certain they still fit properly and don’t have a build-up of wax impeding their ability to work.
Updating Hearing Aids Before They Wear Down
Years from now there may come a time when the functionality of your hearing aids begins to decline. Then you will need to look for a new pair. But in some cases, you might find that a new pair will be advantageous well before your hearing aids start to show wear and tear. Here are some of those scenarios:
- Your lifestyle changes: You might, in some cases, have a particular 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.
- Technology changes: 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.
- Changes in your hearing: If your hearing gets substantially worse (or better), the dynamics of your hearing assistance change also. In other words, your hearing aids will no longer be adjusted to yield the best possible results. In these cases, a new hearing aid could be necessary for you to hear optimally.
You can understand why the timetable for replacing your hearing aid is difficult to predict. How many years your hearing aids will last depends on a handful of variables, but you can usually count on that 2-5 year range.