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 correctly, can last for years. But they’re only practical if they still address your degree of hearing loss. Your hearing aids are dialed into your particular level of hearing loss and comparable to prescription glasses, need to be upgraded if your condition gets worse. Here’s how long you can expect your hearing aids to last assuming they are fitted and programmed properly.

Do Hearing Aids Expire?

There’s a shelf life for pretty any product. It could take a couple of weeks for the milk inside your refrigerator to expire. A few 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. It’s probably not shocking, then, that your hearing aids also have a shelf life.

Generally, a set of hearing aids will last anywhere between 2-5 years, although with the technology coming out you may want to replace them sooner. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will be determined by a number of possible factors:

  • Type: There are a couple of primary 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. Because they are able to stay cleaner and dryer, behind the ear models typically last 6-7 years.
  • Construction: Materials such as nano-coated plastics, silicon, and metal are used to construct modern hearing aids. The devices are designed to be ergonomic and durable, but some materials do suffer from wear-and-tear along the way. Despite quality construction, if you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be affected.
  • Care: It shouldn’t be surprising to find out that if you take good care of your hearing aids, they will last longer. This means ensuring your hearing aids are cleaned regularly and have any required regular upkeep. Time put into care will translate almost directly into increased functional time.
  • Batteries: Rechargeable, internal batteries are standard with the majority of hearing aids in current use. The shelf life of your hearing aid is significantly influenced by the type of batteries they use.

Usually, the typical usage of your hearing aid determines the actual shelf life. But failing to wear your hearing aids might also diminish their estimated usefulness (leaving them unmaintained on a dusty shelf, as an example, could very well reduce the lifespan of your hearing devices, particularly if you leave the battery in place).

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

Upgrading Hearing Aids Before They Wear Out

There might come a time when, years from now, your hearing aid performance starts to wane. And it will be time, therefore, to begin searching for a new set. But in some situations, you may find that a new pair will be practical long before your hearing aids start to show their age. Some of those situations might include:

  • Technology changes: 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.
  • Your hearing fluctuates: If your hearing gets significantly worse (or better), the dynamics of your hearing aids change too. In other words, your hearing aids will no longer be calibrated to yield the best possible results. In these situations, a new hearing aid could be required for you to hear optimally.
  • Your lifestyle changes: In some circumstances, your first set of hearing aids might be obtained with a particular lifestyle in mind. But maybe now your lifestyle changes require you to get hearing aids that are more durable or waterproof or rechargeable.

You can see why it’s difficult to predict a timetable for replacing your hearing aids. How many years your hearing aids will fit your needs depends on a handful of variables, but you can usually count on that 2-5 year range.

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