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 quit being helpful if they no longer treat your level of hearing loss. As with prescription glasses, your hearing aids are programmed to your specific hearing loss, which needs to be checked on a regular basis. Here’s how long you can anticipate your hearing aids will last assuming they are programed and fitted properly.

Do Hearing Aids Expire?

Just about everything you purchase has a shelf life. With the milk in your fridge, that shelf life might be a few weeks. Canned products can last between a few months to a number of years. Even electronics have a shelf life, your brand new high-def TV will probably need to be upgraded some time within the next few years. It’s certainly not shocking, then, that your hearing aids also have a shelf life.

Typically, a set of hearing aids will last anywhere between 2-5 years, though with the technology coming out you may want to replace them sooner. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will be determined by a number of possible factors:

  • Type: There are a couple of basic kinds 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 as a result of exposure to debris, sweat, and dirt of the ear canal. Behind-the-ear models normally last about 6-7 years (mainly because they’re able to stay drier and cleaner).
  • Batteries: The majority of (but not all) hearing aids presently use internal, rechargeable batteries. The shelf life of your hearing aid is substantially impacted by the type of batteries they use.
  • Construction: Today, hearing aids are constructed from many types of materials, from silicon to metal to nano-coated plastics, and so on. Some wear-and-tear can be expected in spite of the fact that hearing aids are manufactured to be ergonomic and durable. Despite premium construction, if you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be impacted.
  • 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. Time put into care will translate almost directly into increased functional time.

In most situations, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an estimate based on typical usage. But neglecting to wear your hearing aids may also minimize their projected usefulness (leaving them unmaintained on a dusty shelf, for example, could very well reduce the lifespan of your hearing devices, specifically if you leave the battery in).

Hearing aids should also be checked and professionally cleaned every so often. This helps make sure that there is no wax buildup and that they still fit correctly.

It’s a Smart Idea to Replace Your Hearing Aids Before They Wear Out

There may come a time when, years from now, your hearing aid performance starts to wane. Then you will have to shop for a new set. But in some situations, you may find a new pair advantageous long before your hearing aids start to show their age. Some of those scenarios might include:

  • Technology changes: 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.
  • Changes in lifestyle: In some circumstances, your first set of hearing aids might be purchased with a particular lifestyle in mind. But maybe your conditions change, maybe you’ve become more physically active and need a set that are waterproof, more durable, or rechargeable.
  • Your hearing changes: If your hearing gets substantially worse (or better), the dynamics of your hearing aids change as well. Put simply, your hearing aids will no longer be calibrated to yield the best possible results. If you want an optimal degree of hearing, new hearing aids might be required.

You can see why the timetable for updating your hearing devices is difficult to estimate. Usually, that 2-5 year range is fairly accurate dependant upon these few variables.

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