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

Hearing aids, if you take care of them correctly, can keep working for years. But they stop being practical if they no longer treat your degree of hearing loss. Your hearing aids are calibrated to your particular level of hearing loss and comparable to prescription glasses, should be upgraded if your situation worsens. Here’s how long you can anticipate your hearing aids will last assuming they are fitted and programmed correctly.

Is There an Expiration Time For Hearing Aids?

Almost everything you buy has a shelf life. It could take a couple of weeks for the milk inside your fridge to expire. Canned products can last between several months to a number of years. Within the next few years or so, even your new high-def TV will need to be swapped out. So discovering that your hearing aids have a shelf life is probably not very surprising.

2 to 5 years is normally the shelf life for a set of hearing aids, however you might want to upgrade sooner with the new technology coming out. There are a number of possible factors that will effect the shelf life of your hearing aids:

  • Care: It shouldn’t surprise you to find out that if you take good care of your hearing aids, they will last longer. Performing regular required upkeep and cleaning is vital. You will get added functional time from your hearing aid in almost direct proportion to the time you put into care.
  • Batteries: The majority of (but not all) hearing aids currently use internal, rechargeable batteries. The shelf life of your hearing aid is considerably influenced by the kind of batteries they use.
  • 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 from the ear canal, inside-the-ear models commonly have a shelf life of around five years. Behind-the-ear models usually last around 6-7 years (mainly because they’re able to stay drier and cleaner).
  • Construction: Materials like nano-coated plastics, silicon, and metal are used to build modern hearing aids. 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 defines the actual shelf life. But the potential life expectancy of your hearing aids is reduced if they’re not worn on a regular basis (leaving your hearing aids neglected on a shelf and unmaintained can also diminish the lifespan of your hearing aids).

And every now and then, hearing aids should be inspected and cleaned professionally. This helps make sure that there is no wax buildup and that they still fit correctly.

It’s a Good Idea to Switch Out Your Hearing Aids Before They Wear Down

There might come a time when, down the road, your hearing aid effectiveness starts to decline. Then you will have to shop for a new set. But in certain situations, you may find a new pair beneficial long before your hearing aids begin to show wear and tear. Here are some of those situations:

  • 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 considerably worse (or better), the dynamics of your hearing aids change as well. Your hearing aids might no longer be adjusted to efficiently manage your hearing problem. If you want an optimal level of hearing, new hearing aids might be needed.
  • Your lifestyle changes: In some cases, your first set of hearing aids might be obtained 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.

You can see why it’s difficult to estimate a timetable for updating your hearing aids. How many years your hearing aids will fit your needs depends on a handful of factors, but you can generally count on that 2-5 year range.

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