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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 are only useful if they still address your level of hearing loss. Your hearing aids are dialed into your particular level of hearing loss and similar to prescription glasses, should be updated if your condition gets worse. Assuming they are fitted and programmed correctly, here’s how long you can expect them to last.

Is There an Expiration Time For Hearing Aids?

Almost everything you purchase has a shelf life. With the milk in your refrigerator, that shelf life may be several weeks. Several months to several years is the shelf life of canned products. Within the next few years or so, even your new high-def TV will need 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 pair of hearing aids, however you might want to replace them sooner with the new technology coming out. There are several possible factors that will impact the shelf life of your hearing aids:

  • Batteries: Rechargeable, internal batteries are standard with the majority of hearing aids in current use. The shelf life of your hearing aid is significantly influenced by the type of batteries they use.
  • Construction: Nowadays, hearing aids are constructed from many types of materials, from metal to silicon to nano-coated plastics, and so on. The devices are designed to be ergonomic and durable, but some materials do experience wear-and-tear along the way. Despite premium construction, if you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be impacted.
  • Type: There are two primary types of hearing aids: inside-the-ear and behind-the-ear. Because they are subjected to the sweat, dirt, and debris from the ear canal, inside-the-ear models normally have a shelf life of about five years. Because they are able to stay cleaner and dryer, behind the ear models usually last 6-7 years.
  • Care: This should come as no surprise, but the better care you take of your hearing aids, the longer they’ll last. Doing regular required upkeep and cleaning is essential. Time put into proper care will translate almost directly into added functional time.

In most situations, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an estimation based on typical usage. But the potential life expectancy of your hearing aids is diminished if they’re not worn on a regular basis (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 certain they still fit properly and don’t have a build-up of wax blocking their ability to function.

Upgrading Hearing Aids Before They Wear Down

Years from now there might come a time when the efficiency of your hearing aids begins to diminish. And it will be time, then, to start looking around for a new set. But in certain situations, you might find a new pair beneficial long before your hearing aids begin to show wear and tear. Some of those situations could include:

  • 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.
  • Changes in your hearing: If your hearing gets significantly worse (or better), the characteristics of your hearing aids change too. Essentially, your hearing aids will no longer be calibrated to yield the best possible results. In these situations, a new hearing aid might be required for you to hear optimally.
  • Changes in lifestyle: In some circumstances, your first set of hearing aids may be purchased with a certain lifestyle in mind. But maybe your conditions change, maybe you’ve become more physically active and need a pair that are waterproof, more durable, or rechargeable.

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

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