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

Hearing aids, if you care for them correctly, can keep working for years. But they stop being practical if they no longer treat your level of hearing loss. Similar to prescription glasses, your hearing aids are calibrated to your particular hearing loss, which should be examined regularly. Assuming they are programmed and fitted correctly, here’s how long you can expect them to last.

Is There an Expiration Time For Hearing Aids?

Just about everything you purchase has a shelf life. With the milk in your fridge, that shelf life might be a few weeks. Several months to several years is the shelf life of canned products. Even electronic devices have a shelf life, your brand new high-def TV will most likely have to be swapped out some time in the next few years. It’s probably not shocking, then, that your hearing aids also have a shelf life.

Generally, a pair of hearing aids will last anywhere between 2-5 years, though with the technology emerging you may 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 you take of your hearing aids, the longer they’ll last. Carrying out standard required maintenance and cleaning is essential. Time put into proper care will translate almost directly into added operational time.
  • 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. Behind-the-ear models normally last around 6-7 years (largely because they’re able to stay cleaner and drier).
  • Construction: Materials such as 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 quality construction, if you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be impacted.
  • Batteries: The majority of (but not all) hearing aids presently use rechargeable, internal batteries. The type of battery or power supply your hearing aids use can significantly influence the overall shelf life of various models.

In most cases, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an approximation determined by typical usage. But failing to wear your hearing aids may also diminish their projected usefulness (putting them unmaintained in a humid drawer, as an example, could very well reduce the life expectancy of your hearing devices, specifically if you leave the battery in place).

Hearing aids should also be inspected and professionally cleaned every now and then. This helps make certain they still fit properly and don’t have a build-up of wax impeding their ability to work.

Updating Hearing Aids Before They Wear Out

There may come a time when, down the road, your hearing aid effectiveness starts to decline. Then you will have to shop 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 scenarios might include:

  • Changes in your hearing: You need to change your hearing aid situation if the state of your hearing changes. In other words, your hearing aids will no longer be adjusted to yield the best possible benefits. If you want an optimal level of hearing, new hearing aids may be required.
  • Technology changes: 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 lifestyle: In many circumstances, your first set of hearing aids might be obtained with a certain lifestyle in mind. But maybe your circumstances change, maybe you’ve become more physically active and need a set that are waterproof, more rugged, or rechargeable.

You can understand why it’s difficult to estimate a timetable for replacing your hearing aids. Generally, that 2-5 year range is pretty accurate dependant upon these few variables.

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