HEARING TIPS

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 keep working for years. But they quit being useful if they no longer treat your level of hearing loss. Similar to prescription glasses, your hearing aids are programmed to your specific hearing loss, which needs to be checked on a regular basis. Here’s how long you can expect your hearing aids to last if they are programed and fitted properly.

Do Hearing Aids Expire?

Nearly everything you purchase has a shelf life. It could take a couple of weeks for the milk in your fridge to expire. Canned products can last between a few months to several years. 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 most likely not very surprising.

Typically, a set of hearing aids will last approximately 2-5 years, although 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 a couple of basic kinds 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 as a result of exposure to debris, sweat, and dirt of the ear canal. Behind-the-ear models commonly last around 6-7 years (largely because they’re able to stay drier and cleaner).
  • Batteries: Internal, rechargeable batteries are standard with the majority of hearing aids in current use. The shelf life of your hearing aid is considerably impacted by the type of batteries they use.
  • 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. In spite of premium construction, if you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be affected.
  • Care: It shouldn’t surprise you to know that if you take good care of your hearing aids, they will last longer. Doing regular required maintenance and cleaning is essential. You will get added operational time out of your hearing aid in almost direct proportion to the time you put into care.

In most situations, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an approximation determined by typical usage. But neglecting to wear your hearing aids could also diminish their projected usefulness (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 properly and don’t have a build-up of wax blocking their ability to work.

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

Years from now there may come a time when the performance of your hearing aids begins to diminish. Then you will need to look for a new pair. But there will be situations when it will be practical to buy a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Some of those situations 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 fluctuates: You need to change your hearing aid situation if the condition of your hearing changes. Put simply, your hearing aids will no longer be calibrated to yield the best possible results. In these cases, a new hearing aid could be required for you to hear optimally.
  • Changes in lifestyle: In some circumstances, your first pair of hearing aids might be obtained with a particular lifestyle in mind. But perhaps your circumstances change, maybe you’ve become more physically active and need a pair that are waterproof, more rugged, or rechargeable.

You can see why the timetable for updating your hearing aid is difficult to predict. How many years your hearing aids will fit your needs depends on a handful of factors, but you can generally count on that 2-5 year range.

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