Hearing Health Blog

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

Hearing aids, if you care for them properly, can last for years. But they stop being practical if they no longer address your level of hearing loss. As with prescription glasses, your hearing aids are programmed to your specific hearing loss, which should be examined regularly. Assuming they are fitted and programmed correctly, here’s how long you can anticipate they will last.

Do Hearing Aids Expire?

There’s a shelf life for almost any product. With the milk in your refrigerator, that shelf life might be a few weeks. Canned goods can last between several 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, although you might want to upgrade sooner with the new technology coming out. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will be based upon several possible factors:

  • Care: It shouldn’t surprise you to find out that if you care for your hearing aids, they will last longer. Doing regular required maintenance and cleaning is crucial. You will get added functional time from your hearing aid in almost direct proportion to time put into care.
  • 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 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.
  • Batteries: Rechargeable, internal batteries are standard with the majority of hearing aids in current use. The shelf life of your hearing aid is dramatically influenced by the kind of batteries they use.
  • Construction: Nowadays, hearing aids are made from many types of materials, from silicon to metal to nano-coated plastics, and so on. Some wear-and-tear can be expected despite the fact that hearing aids are manufactured to be durable and ergonomic. In spite of quality construction, if you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be affected.

In most circumstances, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an approximation 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 checked and professionally cleaned every now and then. This helps make sure that there is no wax buildup and that they still fit properly.

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

There could come a time when, years from now, your hearing aid functionality starts to decline. Then you will have to shop for a new set. But there will be scenarios when it will be practical to buy a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Some of those scenarios could include:

  • Your hearing changes: You should change your hearing aid scenario if the state of your hearing changes. Your hearing aids might no longer be calibrated to successfully deal with your hearing problem. If you want an optimal degree of hearing, new hearing aids might be required.
  • Changes in lifestyle: You may, in some cases, have a particular lifestyle in mind when you purchase your hearing aids. But perhaps your conditions change, maybe you’ve become more active and need a set that are waterproof, more durable, or rechargeable.
  • 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.

You can understand why it’s hard 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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