HEARING TIPS

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

Hearing aids, if you care for them properly, can last for years. But they quit being helpful if they no longer address your level of hearing loss. Your hearing aids are dialed into your distinct level of hearing loss and comparable to prescription glasses, should be upgraded if your situation worsens. Assuming they are programmed and fitted properly, here’s how long you can anticipate they will last.

Do Hearing Aids Expire?

Almost everything you purchase has a shelf life. It could take a couple of weeks for the milk inside your fridge to expire. Canned goods can last anywhere from 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 discovering that your hearing aids have a shelf life is probably not very surprising.

2 to 5 years is normally the shelf life for a set of hearing aids, although you might want to replace them sooner with the new technology emerging. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will be based upon a number of possible factors:

  • Type: There are two basic kinds 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. Because they are able to stay cleaner and dryer, behind the ear models normally last 6-7 years.
  • Batteries: Most (but not all) hearing aids currently use internal, rechargeable batteries. The type of battery or power supply your hearing aids use can significantly impact the total shelf life of various models.
  • Construction: Today, hearing aids are made from all types of materials, from metal to silicon to nano-coated plastics, and so on. 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 surprise you to know that if you care for your hearing aids, they will last longer. This means ensuring your hearing aids are cleaned on a regular basis and undergo any required regular maintenance. Time put into proper care will translate almost directly into added operational time.

Generally, the standard usage of your hearing aid determines the real shelf life. But the potential life expectancy of your hearing aids is diminished if they’re not used on a regular basis (leaving your hearing aids neglected on a shelf and unmaintained can also diminish the lifespan of your hearing aids).

And every now and then, hearing aids should be inspected and cleaned professionally. This helps make sure that there is no wax buildup and that they still fit correctly.

Upgrading Hearing Aids Before They Wear Down

Years from now there might come a time when the functionality of your hearing aids begins to diminish. And it will be time, then, to start shopping for a new set. But there will be situations when it will be advantageous to buy a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Here are some of those situations:

  • Changes in your hearing: If your hearing gets substantially worse (or better), the dynamics of your hearing aids change too. Your hearing aids might no longer be calibrated to effectively deal with your hearing problem. In these situations, a new hearing aid may be required for you to hear optimally.
  • Technology changes: Every year, hearing aid manufacturers introduce innovative new technologies that make hearing aids more useful in novel ways. 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 some circumstances, your first set of hearing aids may 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 the timetable for replacing your hearing aid is difficult to estimate. Normally, that 2-5 year range is fairly accurate contingent upon these few factors.

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