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 properly, can last for years. But they’re only useful if they still address your level of hearing loss. Your hearing aids are calibrated to your specific level of hearing loss and comparable to prescription glasses, need to be upgraded if your situation worsens. If they are programmed and fitted properly, here’s how long you can expect them to last.

Is There an Expiration Time For Hearing Aids?

There’s a shelf life for nearly any product. It could take a couple of weeks for the milk inside your refrigerator to expire. Several months to several years is the shelf life of canned goods. 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.

Generally, a set of hearing aids will last approximately 2-5 years, though with the technology emerging you might want to replace them sooner. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will be based upon several possible factors:

  • Batteries: The majority of (but not all) hearing aids currently use rechargeable, internal batteries. The shelf life of your hearing aid is significantly impacted by the kind of batteries they use.
  • Care: This shouldn’t be surprising, but the better care you take of your hearing aids, the longer they will last. This means making sure your hearing aids are cleaned regularly and have any necessary regular maintenance. You will get added operational time out of your hearing aid in almost direct proportion to the time you put into care.
  • Construction: Materials like nano-coated plastics, silicon, and metal are used to build modern hearing aids. Some wear-and-tear can be expected despite the fact that hearing aids are manufactured to be durable and ergonomic. If you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be affected regardless of quality construction.
  • 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 typically last around 6-7 years (largely because they’re able to stay drier and cleaner).

Usually, the standard usage of your hearing aid defines the real shelf life. But neglecting to wear your hearing aids could also reduce their projected usefulness (putting them unmaintained in a humid drawer, for example, could very well reduce the life expectancy of your hearing devices, especially if you leave the battery in).

And every so often, hearing aids should be examined and cleaned professionally. This helps make certain they still fit properly and don’t have a build-up of wax blocking their ability to function.

Upgrading Hearing Aids Before They Wear Down

There may come a time when, down the road, your hearing aid functionality begins to decline. And it will be time, therefore, to start looking around for a new pair. But there will be scenarios when it will be practical to get a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Some of those situations could include:

  • Your lifestyle changes: You might, in some cases, have a certain lifestyle in mind when you purchase your hearing aids. But maybe your conditions change, maybe you’ve become more active and you need a set that are waterproof, more rugged, or rechargeable.
  • 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.
  • Changes in your hearing: You need to change your hearing aid circumstance if the condition of your hearing changes. Your hearing aids may no longer be adjusted to efficiently treat your hearing issue. If you want an optimal degree of hearing, new hearing aids could be needed.

You can see why it’s difficult to predict a timetable for replacing your hearing aids. Generally, that 2-5 year range is pretty accurate depending on these few factors.

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