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 keep working for years. But they stop being helpful if they no longer treat your level of hearing loss. Your hearing aids are dialed into your particular level of hearing loss and similar to prescription glasses, should be updated if your situation worsens. If they are programmed and fitted properly, here’s how long you can anticipate they will last.

Is There an Expiration Time For Hearing Aids?

Almost everything you purchase has a shelf life. With the milk in your refrigerator, that shelf life may be a few weeks. Canned goods can last between several months to a number of years. Within the next few years or so, even your new high-def TV will have to be swapped out. So learning that your hearing aids have a shelf life is probably not very surprising.

2 to 5 years is generally the shelf life for a set of hearing aids, although you may want to upgrade sooner with the new technology emerging. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will depend on several possible factors:

  • Care: This should come as no surprise, but the better you take care of hearing aids, the longer they will last. This means making certain your hearing aids are cleaned on a regular basis and undergo any required regular maintenance. You will get added functional time out of your hearing aid in almost direct proportion to time put into care.
  • Batteries: Rechargeable, internal batteries are standard with most hearing aids in current use. The shelf life of your hearing aid is dramatically impacted by the kind of batteries they use.
  • Type: There are a couple of primary kinds of hearing aids: inside-the-ear and behind-the-ear. Because they are subjected to the debris, sweat, and dirt of the ear canal, inside-the-ear models commonly have a shelf life of around five years. Because they are able to stay cleaner and dryer, behind the ear models commonly last 6-7 years.
  • Construction: Today, hearing aids are made from all types of materials, from metal to silicon to nano-coated plastics, and so on. Some wear-and-tear can be anticipated despite the fact that hearing aids are manufactured to be ergonomic and durable. If you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be affected despite quality construction.

In most cases, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an approximation based on typical usage. But the potential longevity of your hearing aids is diminished if they’re not worn regularly (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 examined and cleaned professionally. This helps make certain they still fit correctly and don’t have a build-up of wax blocking their ability to work.

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

Years from now there might come a time when the efficiency of your hearing aids begins to decline. Then you will have to look for a new pair. But there will be situations when it will be beneficial to get a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Some of those scenarios might include:

  • 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.
  • Your hearing changes: If your hearing gets substantially worse (or better), the dynamics of your hearing aids change as well. Your hearing aids might no longer be calibrated to efficiently manage your hearing problem. In these cases, a new hearing aid may be imperative for you to hear optimally.
  • Your lifestyle changes: In many cases, your first set of hearing aids might be obtained with a certain lifestyle in mind. But perhaps your conditions change, maybe you’ve become more active and you need a set that are waterproof, more heavy-duty, or rechargeable.

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

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