Illini Hearing - Champaign and Mahomet, IL

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 keep working for years. But they quit being useful if they no longer treat your degree of hearing loss. As with prescription glasses, your hearing aids are calibrated to your particular hearing loss, which should be checked on a regular basis. Here’s how long you can anticipate your hearing aids will last if 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. Several months to several years is the shelf life of canned products. Within the next few years or so, even your new high-def TV will have to be swapped out. It’s certainly not shocking, then, that your hearing aids also have a shelf life.

Typically, a pair of hearing aids will last anywhere between 2-5 years, although with the technology emerging you might want to upgrade sooner. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will be determined by a number of possible factors:

  • Construction: Materials like nano-coated plastics, silicon, and metal are used to construct modern hearing aids. The devices are created to be ergonomic and durable, but some materials do suffer from wear-and-tear along the way. If you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be influenced despite quality construction.
  • Care: It shouldn’t be surprising to find out that if you care for your hearing aids, they will last longer. This means making sure your hearing aids are cleaned regularly and go through any required regular upkeep. You will get added operational time out of your hearing aid in almost direct proportion to time put into care.
  • Batteries: The majority of (but not all) hearing aids presently use internal, rechargeable batteries. The kind of battery or power supply your hearing aids use can dramatically impact the overall shelf life of different models.
  • Type: There are a couple of primary types of hearing aids: inside-the-ear and behind-the-ear. Because they are exposed to the debris, sweat, and dirt from the ear canal, inside-the-ear models commonly have a shelf life of around five years. Behind-the-ear models typically last about 6-7 years (mostly because they’re able to stay drier and cleaner).

In most cases, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an estimate determined by typical usage. But neglecting to wear your hearing aids might also minimize their expected usefulness (putting them unmaintained on a dusty shelf, as an example, could very well curtail the life expectancy of your hearing devices, specifically if you leave the battery in).

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

It’s a Good Idea to Replace Your Hearing Aids Before They Wear Down

In the future there may come a time when the performance of your hearing aids starts to decline. And it will be time, then, to start looking around for a new set. But there will be scenarios when it will be beneficial to buy a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Some of those situations might include:

  • Changes in technology: Hearing aids are becoming more useful in novel ways every year. 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.
  • Your lifestyle changes: In many cases, your first set of hearing aids may be purchased with a certain lifestyle in mind. But maybe your conditions change, maybe you’ve become more physically active and need a pair that are waterproof, more durable, or rechargeable.
  • Changes in your hearing: If your hearing gets considerably worse (or better), the dynamics of your hearing assistance change as well. Your hearing aids may no longer be adjusted to effectively manage your hearing issue. If you want an optimal level of hearing, new hearing aids may be required.

You can understand why the plan for updating your hearing aid is difficult to estimate. Normally, that 2-5 year range is fairly accurate dependant upon these few variables.

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