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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 quit being useful if they no longer treat your degree of hearing loss. Your hearing aids are calibrated to your specific level of hearing loss and comparable to prescription glasses, should be updated if your condition gets worse. If they are fitted and programmed correctly, here’s how long you can anticipate they will last.

Do Hearing Aids Expire?

Almost everything you buy 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 goods. Even electronic devices have a shelf life, your brand new high-def TV will likely need to be upgraded some time in the next few years. So learning that your hearing aids have a shelf life is most likely not very surprising.

2 to 5 years is normally the shelf life for a pair of hearing aids, though you may 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:

  • Construction: Nowadays, hearing aids are made out of many kinds of materials, from metal to silicon to nano-coated plastics, and so on. Some wear-and-tear can be expected 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 affected despite quality construction.
  • Care: This should come as no surprise, but the better you take care of hearing aids, the longer they’ll last. This means ensuring your hearing aids are cleaned on a regular basis and go through any required regular upkeep. Time put into proper care will translate almost directly into added operational time.
  • Batteries: Most (but not all) hearing aids presently 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.
  • Type: There are a couple of basic kinds 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 because of exposure to debris, sweat, and dirt of the ear canal. Behind-the-ear models commonly last around 6-7 years (mainly because they’re able to stay drier and cleaner).

In most cases, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an estimation determined by typical usage. But neglecting to wear your hearing aids could also reduce their projected usefulness (leaving your hearing aids neglected on a shelf and unmaintained can also diminish the lifespan of your hearing aids).

And every so often, hearing aids should be checked and cleaned professionally. This helps make sure they still fit properly and don’t have a build-up of wax blocking their ability to function.

It’s a Smart Idea to Replace Your Hearing Aids Before They Wear Down

There may come a time when, years from now, your hearing aid effectiveness starts to decline. And it will be time, then, to start searching for a new set. But there will be situations 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 situations:

  • Changes in your hearing: You should change your hearing aid scenario if the state of your hearing changes. Your hearing aids may no longer be calibrated to effectively treat your hearing issue. If you want an optimal level of hearing, new hearing aids may be needed.
  • Technology changes: Hearing aids are becoming more useful in novel ways every year. 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.
  • Your lifestyle changes: In many instances, your first set of hearing aids might be purchased 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.

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

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