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

If you take good care of them, hearing aids can last for years. But they are only practical if they still reflect your degree of hearing loss. As with prescription glasses, your hearing aids are calibrated to your particular hearing loss, which needs to be examined on a regular basis. Assuming they are programmed and fitted correctly, here’s how long you can anticipate they will last.

Do Hearing Aids Expire?

Almost everything you purchase has a shelf life. With the milk in your refrigerator, that shelf life might be several weeks. A few months to several years is the shelf life of canned products. Even electronics have a shelf life, your brand new high-def TV will likely have to be upgraded some time in the next few years. It’s probably not surprising, then, that your hearing aids also have a shelf life.

In general, a pair of hearing aids will last approximately 2-5 years, though with the technology coming out you might want to replace them sooner. There are a number of possible factors that will impact the shelf life of your hearing aids:

  • Type: There are two 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 normally last around 6-7 years (largely because they’re able to stay drier and cleaner).
  • 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 frequently and undergo any necessary regular upkeep. You will get added functional time from your hearing aid in almost direct proportion to the time you put into care.
  • Construction: Today, hearing aids are made from all kinds of materials, from metal to silicon to nano-coated plastics, and so on. Some wear-and-tear can be expected in spite of the fact that hearing aids are designed to be ergonomic and durable. Despite 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 type of battery or power supply your hearing aids use can dramatically impact the total shelf life of various models.

Generally, the standard usage of your hearing aid defines the real shelf life. But the potential longevity of your hearing aids is diminished if they’re not used regularly (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 sure that there is no wax buildup and that they still fit properly.

It’s a Smart Idea to Upgrade Your Hearing Aids Before They Wear Down

There could come a time when, years from now, your hearing aid performance begins to decline. And it will be time, then, to start looking around for a new pair. But in some situations, you may find that a new pair will be beneficial well before your hearing aids start to show their age. Some of those scenarios might include:

  • Your lifestyle changes: You could, in some cases, have a particular lifestyle in mind when you purchase your hearing aids. But maybe now your lifestyle changes require you to get hearing aids that are more durable or waterproof or rechargeable.
  • Your hearing changes: You should change your hearing aid scenario if the condition of your hearing changes. Your hearing aids may no longer be adjusted to effectively treat your hearing issue. If you want an optimal level of hearing, new hearing aids could be required.
  • 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.

You can understand why the plan for replacing your hearing devices is difficult to predict. Generally, that 2-5 year range is fairly accurate depending on these few factors.

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