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

Hearing aids, if you care for them correctly, can keep working for years. But they are only practical if they still address your level of hearing loss. Your hearing aids are calibrated to your distinct level of hearing loss and comparable to prescription glasses, should be updated if your situation gets worse. Assuming they are programmed and fitted properly, here’s how long you can anticipate they will last.

Do Hearing Aids Expire?

Just about everything you buy has a shelf life. With the milk in your refrigerator, that shelf life might be several weeks. Canned products can last between a few months to a number of years. Within the next few years or so, even your new high-def TV will have to be swapped out. So finding out 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 may want to upgrade sooner with the new technology emerging. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will be determined by a number of possible factors:

  • 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 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 due to exposure to debris, sweat, and dirt of the ear canal. Behind-the-ear models usually last around 6-7 years (mostly because they’re able to stay drier and cleaner).
  • Batteries: Rechargeable, internal batteries are standard with the majority of hearing aids in current use. The kind of battery or power supply your hearing aids use can dramatically impact the total shelf life of different models.
  • Construction: Materials like nano-coated plastics, silicon, and metal are used to produce modern hearing aids. Some wear-and-tear can be anticipated in spite of the fact that hearing aids are designed to be durable and ergonomic. In spite of premium construction, if you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be impacted.

In most cases, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an estimate determined by typical usage. But the potential life expectancy of your hearing aids is lessened if they’re not worn on a regular basis (leaving them unmaintained on a dusty shelf, for example, may very well curtail the lifespan of your hearing devices, specifically if you leave the battery in place).

And every now and then, hearing aids should be checked and cleaned professionally. This helps make sure they still fit correctly and don’t have a build-up of wax impeding their ability to work.

Upgrading Hearing Aids Before They Wear Down

There might come a time when, down the road, your hearing aid functionality starts to wane. Then you will have to shop for a new set. But there will be scenarios when it will be advantageous to purchase a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Here are a few of those situations:

  • Changes in your hearing: You should change your hearing aid situation if the condition of your hearing changes. Essentially, your hearing aids will no longer be adjusted to yield the best possible results. In these situations, a new hearing aid could be required for you to hear optimally.
  • Technology changes: Hearing aids are becoming more useful in novel ways every year. 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 lifestyle changes: In some instances, your first pair of hearing aids might be purchased with a certain lifestyle in mind. But perhaps your conditions change, maybe you’ve become more active and need a set that are waterproof, more rugged, or rechargeable.

You can understand why the timetable for updating your hearing aid is difficult to predict. Normally, that 2-5 year range is pretty accurate dependant upon these few factors.

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