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HEARING TIPS

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

Hearing aids, if you take care of them correctly, can last for years. But they quit being useful if they no longer address your degree of hearing loss. As with prescription glasses, your hearing aids are programmed to your particular hearing loss, which should be checked on a regular basis. Assuming they are fitted and programmed correctly, here’s how long you can expect them to last.

Do Hearing Aids Expire?

There’s a shelf life for almost any product. With the milk in your fridge, that shelf life might be several weeks. A few 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 likely need to be swapped out some time within the next five years or so. It’s certainly not surprising, then, that your hearing aids also have a shelf life.

2 to 5 years is generally the shelf life for a set of hearing aids, however you may want to upgrade sooner with the new technology coming out. There are a number of possible factors that will effect the shelf life of your hearing aids:

  • Construction: These days, hearing aids are constructed 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 suffer from wear-and-tear along the way. Despite premium construction, if you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be affected.
  • Type: There are a couple of primary types 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 tend to have a shelf life of around five years. Behind-the-ear models typically last around 6-7 years (largely because they’re able to stay cleaner and drier).
  • Care: This should come as no surprise, but the better care for hearing aids, the longer they will last. This means ensuring your hearing aids are cleaned regularly and have any required regular upkeep. You will get added functional time from your hearing aid in almost direct proportion to time put into care.
  • Batteries: Rechargeable, internal batteries are standard with the majority of hearing aids in current use. The shelf life of your hearing aid is dramatically influenced by the type of batteries they use.

In most circumstances, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an approximation determined by typical usage. But neglecting to wear your hearing aids may also diminish their projected 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 checked and professionally cleaned every now and then. This helps make sure that there is no wax buildup and that they still fit properly.

Upgrading Hearing Aids Before They Wear Down

Years from now there may come a time when the functionality of your hearing aids starts to decline. Then you will have to shop for a new pair. But there will be scenarios when it will be advantageous to get a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Some of those situations could include:

  • Your lifestyle changes: In some instances, your first pair of hearing aids might be obtained with a certain lifestyle in mind. But maybe now your lifestyle changes require you to get hearing aids that are more durable or waterproof or rechargeable.
  • 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 hearing fluctuates: If your hearing gets substantially worse (or better), the dynamics of your hearing aids change too. Your hearing aids might no longer be adjusted to successfully treat your hearing issue. If you want an optimal level of hearing, new hearing aids may be needed.

You can understand why it’s difficult to estimate a timetable for updating your hearing aids. Generally, that 2-5 year range is fairly accurate depending on these few variables.

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