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 keep working for years. But they are only useful if they still reflect your level of hearing loss. Your hearing aids are calibrated to your particular level of hearing loss and comparable to prescription glasses, need to be updated if your condition worsens. Here’s how long you can anticipate your hearing aids will last assuming they are programed and fitted correctly.

Do Hearing Aids Expire?

There’s a shelf life for pretty any product. It could take a couple of weeks for the milk in your refrigerator to expire. Canned goods can last between a few months to several years. Within the next few years or so, even your new high-def TV will need to be swapped out. So learning that your hearing aids have a shelf life is most likely not very surprising.

2 to 5 years is typically the shelf life for a set of hearing aids, though you may want to replace them sooner with the new technology coming out. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will depend on a number of possible factors:

  • Construction: Materials like nano-coated plastics, silicon, and metal are used to produce modern hearing aids. Some wear-and-tear can be expected despite the fact that hearing aids are designed to be durable and ergonomic. Despite premium construction, if you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be affected.
  • Type: There are two primary 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 as a result of exposure to dirt, sweat, and debris of the ear canal. Behind-the-ear models usually last around 6-7 years (largely because they’re able to stay cleaner and drier).
  • Batteries: Internal, rechargeable batteries are standard with the majority of hearing aids in current use. The shelf life of your hearing aid is dramatically impacted by the type of batteries they use.
  • Care: This should come as no surprise, but the better care you take of your hearing aids, the longer they’ll last. Performing regular required maintenance and cleaning is vital. Time put into proper care will translate almost directly into increased functional time.

In most circumstances, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an approximation determined by typical usage. But neglecting to wear your hearing aids may also diminish their expected usefulness (leaving your hearing aids neglected on a shelf and unmaintained can also diminish the lifespan of your hearing aids).

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

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 performance starts to decline. Then you will have to look for a new pair. But in certain situations, you may find a new pair worthwhile long before your hearing aids begin to show wear and tear. Here are some of those scenarios:

  • Changes in your hearing: If your hearing gets considerably worse (or better), the characteristics of your hearing assistance change as well. Your hearing aids could no longer be adjusted to effectively treat your hearing problem. If you want an optimal level of hearing, new hearing aids might be needed.
  • Changes in lifestyle: You may, in many cases, have a certain lifestyle in mind when you purchase your hearing aids. But perhaps your conditions change, maybe you’ve become more physically active and you need a set that are waterproof, more rugged, 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 see why the plan for updating your hearing devices is difficult to estimate. How many years your hearing aids will fit your needs depends on a handful of factors, but you can normally count on that 2-5 year range.

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