Do Hearing Aids Need to be Replaced?

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

If you take good care of them, hearing aids can last for years. But they are only helpful if they still address your level of hearing loss. Similar to prescription glasses, your hearing aids are programmed to your specific hearing loss, which needs to 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.

Do Hearing Aids Expire?

Nearly everything you buy has a shelf life. It could take a couple of weeks for the milk inside your fridge to expire. 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. So finding out that your hearing aids have a shelf life is most likely not very surprising.

Generally, a pair of hearing aids will last approximately 2-5 years, though with the technology coming out you may want to upgrade sooner. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will be based upon several possible factors:

  • Care: This should come as no surprise, but the better care for hearing aids, the longer they will last. This means making certain your hearing aids are cleaned regularly and have any necessary regular upkeep. Time put into proper care will translate almost directly into increased operational time.
  • Construction: Materials like nano-coated plastics, silicon, and metal are used to build modern hearing aids. Some wear-and-tear can be expected despite 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 impacted regardless of quality construction.
  • Batteries: Most (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.
  • Type: There are two primary types of hearing aids: inside-the-ear and behind-the-ear. Because they are exposed 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 remain cleaner and dryer, behind the ear models usually last 6-7 years.

In most circumstances, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an estimation determined by typical usage. But the potential life expectancy of your hearing aids is lessened if they’re not used regularly (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 certain that there is no wax buildup and that they still fit correctly.

Upgrading Hearing Aids Before They Wear Out

There could come a time when, down the road, your hearing aid functionality begins to decline. And it will be time, therefore, to start shopping for a new pair. But there will be situations when it will be beneficial to buy a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Some of those scenarios might include:

  • Changes in your hearing: If your hearing gets substantially worse (or better), the characteristics of your hearing assistance change too. Put simply, your hearing aids will no longer be adjusted to yield the best possible benefits. In these situations, a new hearing aid might be necessary for you to hear optimally.
  • Changes in technology: 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: You could, in some cases, have a specific lifestyle in mind when you purchase your hearing aids. But maybe now your lifestyle changes require you to get hearing aids that are more durable or waterproof or rechargeable.

You can see why it’s hard to predict a timetable for updating your hearing aids. How many years your hearing aids will fit your needs depends on a handful of variables, but you can generally count on that 2-5 year range.