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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 keep working for years. But they are only helpful if they still reflect your degree of hearing loss. Your hearing aids are calibrated to your particular level of hearing loss and much like prescription glasses, should be updated if your situation worsens. Assuming they are programmed and fitted correctly, here’s how long you can expect them to last.

Do Hearing Aids Expire?

There’s a shelf life for almost any product. It could take a couple of weeks for the milk in your refrigerator to expire. Canned goods can last anywhere from several months to a number of years. Within the next few years or so, even your new high-def TV will need to be swapped out. It’s certainly not surprising, then, that your hearing aids also have a shelf life.

In general, a pair of hearing aids will last approximately 2-5 years, although with the technology coming out you might want to replace them sooner. There are several possible factors that will impact the shelf life of your hearing aids:

  • 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 upkeep and cleaning is essential. You will get added operational time from your hearing aid in almost direct proportion to the time you put into care.
  • Batteries: Most (but not all) hearing aids presently use internal, rechargeable batteries. The shelf life of your hearing aid is dramatically influenced by the kind 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 experience wear-and-tear along the way. If you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be affected despite quality construction.
  • Type: There are a couple of basic types 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 due to exposure to debris, sweat, and dirt of the ear canal. Because they are able to remain cleaner and dryer, behind the ear models usually last 6-7 years.

Generally, the standard usage of your hearing aid defines the real shelf life. But failing to wear your hearing aids may also reduce their estimated usefulness (leaving your hearing aids neglected on a shelf and unmaintained can also diminish the lifespan of your hearing aids).

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

Updating Hearing Aids Before They Wear Out

There might come a time when, down the road, your hearing aid effectiveness begins to wane. And it will be time, therefore, to begin searching for a new pair. But there will be scenarios when it will be practical to buy a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Here are a few of those scenarios:

  • Changes in your hearing: If your hearing gets substantially worse (or better), the characteristics of your hearing aids change also. Your hearing aids might no longer be calibrated to effectively manage your hearing issue. If you want an optimal degree of hearing, new hearing aids may be needed.
  • 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.
  • Changes in lifestyle: You could, in some cases, have a certain 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.

You can see why the plan for updating your hearing devices is difficult to predict. How many years your hearing aids will last depends on a handful of variables, but you can usually count on that 2-5 year range.

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