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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 last for years. But they are only useful if they still address your level of hearing loss. As with prescription glasses, your hearing aids are calibrated to your specific hearing loss, which needs to be examined on a regular basis. Here’s how long you can expect your hearing aids to last assuming they are fitted and programmed properly.

Is There an Expiration Time For Hearing Aids?

There’s a shelf life for pretty any product. It could take a couple of weeks for the milk inside your refrigerator to expire. Canned goods can last between several months to a number of years. Within the next few years or so, even your new high-def TV will have to be swapped out. It’s certainly not surprising, then, that your hearing aids also have a shelf life.

In general, a set of hearing aids will last approximately 2-5 years, although with the technology emerging you might want to upgrade sooner. There are several possible factors that will impact the shelf life of your hearing aids:

  • Construction: Nowadays, hearing aids are constructed from all types 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 manufactured to be durable and ergonomic. If you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be affected despite quality construction.
  • Batteries: Most (but not all) hearing aids currently use rechargeable, internal batteries. The shelf life of your hearing aid is substantially impacted by the type of batteries they use.
  • Care: This should come as no surprise, but the better you take care of hearing aids, the longer they will last. This means making certain your hearing aids are cleaned regularly and go through any necessary regular maintenance. You will get added functional time out of your hearing aid in almost direct proportion to time put into care.
  • Type: There are a couple of 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 commonly have a shelf life of around five years. Because they are able to remain dryer and cleaner, behind the ear models usually last 6-7 years.

In most cases, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an estimate determined by typical usage. But the potential longevity of your hearing aids is diminished if they’re not used regularly (leaving them unmaintained in a humid drawer, for example, could very well curtail the life expectancy of your hearing devices, particularly if you leave the battery in place).

Hearing aids should also be inspected and professionally cleaned every now and then. This helps make sure that there is no wax buildup and that they still fit properly.

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 there will be scenarios when it will be practical to purchase a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Some of those situations might include:

  • Changes in lifestyle: You could, in many cases, have a particular 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.
  • 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.
  • Changes in your hearing: You need to 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 benefits. In these cases, a new hearing aid may be necessary for you to hear optimally.

You can understand why it’s hard to predict a timetable for replacing your hearing aids. How many years your hearing aids will last depends on a handful of variables, but you can normally count on that 2-5 year range.

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