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 last for years. But they quit being helpful if they no longer treat your level of hearing loss. Similar to prescription glasses, your hearing aids are calibrated to your specific hearing loss, which needs to be examined on a regular basis. Assuming they are fitted and programmed correctly, here’s how long you can anticipate they will last.

Is There an Expiration Time For Hearing Aids?

There’s a shelf life for pretty much any product. It could take a couple of weeks for the milk in your refrigerator to expire. Canned goods can last between a few months to a number of years. Even electronics have a shelf life, your brand new high-def TV will most likely need to be upgraded some time in the next five years or so. It’s probably not shocking, then, that your hearing aids also have a shelf life.

Generally, a pair of hearing aids will last approximately 2-5 years, though with the technology emerging you might want to upgrade sooner. There are a number of possible factors that will effect the shelf life of your hearing aids:

  • Care: This shouldn’t be surprising, but the better care for hearing aids, the longer they will last. This means ensuring your hearing aids are cleaned frequently and have any required regular upkeep. Time put into care will translate almost directly into added operational time.
  • 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 created to be ergonomic and durable, but some materials do experience wear-and-tear along the way. In spite of quality construction, if you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be impacted.
  • Batteries: Internal, rechargeable batteries are standard with most hearing aids in current use. The kind of battery or power supply your hearing aids use can significantly influence the total shelf life of different models.
  • Type: There are two basic types of hearing aids: inside-the-ear and behind-the-ear. Because they are exposed 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 remain cleaner and dryer, behind the ear models typically last 6-7 years.

Normally, the standard usage of your hearing aid defines the exact shelf life. But the potential life expectancy of your hearing aids is diminished if they’re not used regularly (leaving your hearing aids neglected on a shelf and unmaintained can also diminish the lifespan of your hearing aids).

Hearing aids should also be checked and professionally cleaned every so often. This helps make sure they still fit correctly and don’t have a build-up of wax blocking their ability to function.

Replacing Hearing Aids Before They Wear Out

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

  • Your lifestyle changes: In many instances, 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.
  • Your hearing fluctuates: You need to change your hearing aid situation if the condition of your hearing changes. In other words, your hearing aids will no longer be calibrated to yield the best possible results. In these situations, a new hearing aid might be necessary for you to hear optimally.
  • Technology changes: Hearing aids are becoming more useful in novel ways every year. 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.

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

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