Hearing Health Blog

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

Hearing aids, if you care for them properly, can last for years. But they stop being useful if they no longer treat your level of hearing loss. As with prescription glasses, your hearing aids are calibrated to your particular hearing loss, which should be examined on a regular basis. If they are programmed and fitted properly, here’s how long you can expect them to last.

Is There an Expiration Time For Hearing Aids?

Almost everything you buy has a shelf life. With the milk in your refrigerator, that shelf life may be a few weeks. Canned products can last anywhere from a few months to several years. Even electronics have a shelf life, your brand new high-def TV will likely have to be upgraded some time within the next five years or so. It’s certainly not shocking, then, that your hearing aids also have a shelf life.

In general, a set of hearing aids will last anywhere between 2-5 years, though with the technology coming out you might want to upgrade sooner. There are a number of possible factors that will impact the shelf life of your hearing aids:

  • Care: This should come as no surprise, but the better care you take of your hearing aids, the longer they will last. This means making certain your hearing aids are cleaned on a regular basis and have any required regular upkeep. Time put into proper care will translate almost directly into increased operational time.
  • Type: There are two primary kinds of hearing aids: inside-the-ear and behind-the-ear. Five years or so will be the estimated shelf life of inside-the-ear model hearing aids because of exposure to dirt, sweat, and debris of the ear canal. Because they are able to stay dryer and cleaner, behind the ear models commonly last 6-7 years.
  • Construction: Materials such as nano-coated plastics, silicon, and metal are used to produce modern hearing aids. Some wear-and-tear can be anticipated in spite of the fact that hearing aids are designed to be durable and ergonomic. If you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be influenced regardless of quality construction.
  • Batteries: The majority of (but not all) hearing aids currently use rechargeable, internal batteries. The type of battery or power supply your hearing aids use can dramatically influence the overall shelf life of various models.

In most situations, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an approximation determined by typical usage. But neglecting to wear your hearing aids might 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 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

There could come a time when, down the road, your hearing aid performance begins to decline. And it will be time, therefore, to start looking around for a new pair. But in certain cases, you may find that a new pair will be practical long before your hearing aids begin to show wear and tear. Here are some of those scenarios:

  • 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.
  • Your lifestyle changes: In many circumstances, your first pair of hearing aids might be obtained with a particular lifestyle in mind. But perhaps your conditions change, maybe you’ve become more physically active and you need a set that are waterproof, more heavy-duty, or rechargeable.
  • Your hearing fluctuates: You should change your hearing aid situation if the condition of your hearing changes. Put simply, your hearing aids will no longer be adjusted to yield the best possible results. In these cases, a new hearing aid could be necessary for you to hear optimally.

You can understand why it’s hard to predict a timetable for updating your hearing aids. Normally, that 2-5 year range is pretty accurate depending on these few factors.

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