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 stop being useful if they no longer address your degree of hearing loss. Your hearing aids are dialed into your specific level of hearing loss and similar to prescription glasses, should be upgraded if your condition gets worse. 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?

Nearly everything you buy has a shelf life. With the milk in your fridge, that shelf life might be several weeks. Several months to several years is the shelf life of canned goods. Within the next few years or so, even your new high-def TV will have to be swapped out. It’s probably not shocking, then, that your hearing aids also have a shelf life.

2 to 5 years is typically the shelf life for a set of hearing aids, although you might want to upgrade sooner with the new technology coming out. 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 frequently and go through any required regular upkeep. Time put into proper care will translate almost directly into added operational time.
  • Construction: Today, hearing aids are made from all kinds of materials, from silicon to metal 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 affected.
  • Batteries: Rechargeable, internal batteries are standard with the majority of hearing aids in current use. The shelf life of your hearing aid is considerably influenced by the kind of batteries they use.
  • Type: There are a couple of basic kinds of hearing aids: inside-the-ear and behind-the-ear. Because they are subjected to the debris, sweat, and dirt from the ear canal, inside-the-ear models normally have a shelf life of about five years. Behind-the-ear models normally last about 6-7 years (largely 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 the potential life expectancy of your hearing aids is diminished if they’re not worn on a regular basis (putting them unmaintained in a humid drawer, for example, may very well curtail the lifespan of your hearing devices, especially if you leave the battery in).

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

Replacing Hearing Aids Before They Wear Down

In the future there could come a time when the efficiency of your hearing aids starts to diminish. Then you will have to look for a new set. But there will be scenarios when it will be practical to purchase a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Some of those situations could include:

  • Changes in lifestyle: You may, in some cases, have a particular lifestyle in mind when you purchase your hearing aids. But maybe now your lifestyle changes require you to get hearing aids that are more durable or waterproof or rechargeable.
  • 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.
  • Changes in your hearing: You need to change your hearing aid situation if the condition of your hearing changes. Your hearing aids could no longer be adjusted to effectively manage your hearing issue. In these situations, a new hearing aid might be necessary for you to hear optimally.

You can see why the plan for replacing your hearing aid is difficult to predict. Normally, that 2-5 year range is fairly accurate depending on these few variables.

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