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

If you care for them, hearing aids can last for years. But they quit being helpful if they no longer address your level of hearing loss. As with prescription glasses, your hearing aids are programmed to your particular hearing loss, which should be tested regularly. Here’s how long you can expect your hearing aids to last if they are programed and fitted correctly.

Is There an Expiration Time For Hearing Aids?

Just about everything you buy has a shelf life. With the milk in your refrigerator, that shelf life might be a few weeks. 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 have to be swapped out. So finding out that your hearing aids have a shelf life is probably not very surprising.

Generally, a pair of hearing aids will last approximately 2-5 years, although with the technology coming out you might want to replace them sooner. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will depend on a number of possible factors:

  • 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 because of exposure to dirt, sweat, and debris of the ear canal. Behind-the-ear models usually last about 6-7 years (largely because they’re able to stay cleaner and drier).
  • Construction: These days, hearing aids are made out of 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 premium construction, if you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be affected.
  • 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 significantly impact the total shelf life of various models.
  • Care: This should come as no surprise, but the better care for hearing aids, the longer they’ll last. Carrying out regular required maintenance and cleaning is crucial. Time put into proper care will translate almost directly into added operational time.

In most cases, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an estimate determined by typical usage. But neglecting to wear your hearing aids could also minimize their estimated usefulness (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 certain 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 begins to decline. Then you will need to look for a new pair. But in some situations, you may find that a new pair will be beneficial long before your hearing aids start to show their age. Some of those situations might include:

  • Your hearing fluctuates: You should change your hearing aid scenario if the state of your hearing changes. Your hearing aids may no longer be adjusted to successfully deal with your hearing problem. In these situations, a new hearing aid might be necessary for you to hear optimally.
  • Changes in technology: Every year, hearing aid manufacturers introduce innovative new technologies that make hearing aids more useful in novel ways. If one of these cutting edge technologies looks like it’s going to help you significantly, it could be worth investing in a new pair of devices sooner rather than later.
  • Changes in lifestyle: In some instances, your first pair of hearing aids might be obtained with a certain lifestyle in mind. But maybe your circumstances change, maybe you’ve become more physically active and need a pair that are waterproof, more durable, or rechargeable.

You can see why it’s difficult to estimate a timetable for updating your hearing aids. How many years your hearing aids will last depends on a handful of variables, but you can generally count on that 2-5 year range.

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