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 properly, can keep working for years. But they are only practical if they still reflect your level of hearing loss. As with prescription glasses, your hearing aids are programmed to your specific hearing loss, which should be examined on a regular basis. Here’s how long you can anticipate your hearing aids will last assuming they are fitted and programmed properly.

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 several weeks. Several months to several years is the shelf life of canned products. Even electronics have a shelf life, your brand new high-def TV will likely need to be upgraded some time within the next five years or so. It’s probably not surprising, then, that your hearing aids also have a shelf life.

Generally, a pair of hearing aids will last approximately 2-5 years, although with the technology coming out you might want to upgrade sooner. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will depend on several possible factors:

  • 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 estimated shelf life of inside-the-ear model hearing aids due to exposure to dirt, sweat, and debris of the ear canal. Behind-the-ear models normally last about 6-7 years (mostly because they’re able to stay cleaner and drier).
  • Care: This shouldn’t be surprising, but the better care you take of your hearing aids, the longer they’ll last. Performing standard required upkeep and cleaning is indispensable. You will get added functional time from your hearing aid in almost direct proportion to the time you put into care.
  • Construction: Nowadays, hearing aids are made from all types 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. In spite of quality construction, if you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be impacted.
  • Batteries: The majority of (but not all) hearing aids presently use rechargeable, internal batteries. The shelf life of your hearing aid is dramatically impacted by the type of batteries they use.

Normally, the standard usage of your hearing aid defines the exact shelf life. But the potential longevity of your hearing aids is diminished if they’re not used regularly (leaving them unmaintained on a dusty shelf, as an example, may very well curtail the life expectancy of your hearing devices, especially if you leave the battery in).

And every so often, hearing aids should be examined and cleaned professionally. This helps make certain that there is no wax buildup and that they still fit properly.

It’s a Good Idea to Upgrade Your Hearing Aids Before They Wear Out

Years from now there could come a time when the functionality of your hearing aids starts to diminish. Then you will need to look for a new pair. But there will be situations when it will be advantageous to purchase a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Here are some of those scenarios:

  • Changes in lifestyle: In some cases, your first set of hearing aids might be purchased with a certain lifestyle in mind. But perhaps your conditions change, maybe you’ve become more active and you need a set that are waterproof, more heavy-duty, or rechargeable.
  • Changes in your hearing: You need to change your hearing aid circumstance if the condition of your hearing changes. Essentially, your hearing aids will no longer be calibrated to yield the best possible benefits. If you want an optimal level of hearing, new hearing aids may be required.
  • 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.

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

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