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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 take care of them properly, can keep working for years. But they stop being helpful if they no longer treat your degree of hearing loss. Your hearing aids are dialed into your specific level of hearing loss and similar to prescription glasses, need to be upgraded if your situation gets worse. Here’s how long you can expect your hearing aids to last if they are programed and fitted properly.

Is There an Expiration Time For Hearing Aids?

Almost everything you buy has a shelf life. With the milk in your fridge, that shelf life might be several weeks. A few 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 have to be upgraded some time within the next few years. So finding out that your hearing aids have a shelf life is most likely not very surprising.

2 to 5 years is typically the shelf life for a pair of hearing aids, however you might want to upgrade sooner with the new technology coming out. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will be determined by several possible factors:

  • Type: There are a couple of basic kinds of hearing aids: inside-the-ear and behind-the-ear. Because they are subjected to the debris, sweat, and dirt from the ear canal, inside-the-ear models normally have a shelf life of around five years. Behind-the-ear models commonly last about 6-7 years (mostly because they’re able to stay cleaner and drier).
  • Care: This shouldn’t be surprising, but the better you take care of hearing aids, the longer they’ll last. This means ensuring your hearing aids are cleaned frequently and go through any necessary regular upkeep. Time put into care will translate almost directly into added functional time.
  • Construction: These days, hearing aids are made out of all kinds of materials, from metal to silicon 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. Despite quality construction, if you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be impacted.
  • Batteries: Internal, rechargeable batteries are standard with the majority of hearing aids in current use. The shelf life of your hearing aid is dramatically impacted by the kind of batteries they use.

In most cases, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an estimation based on typical usage. But neglecting to wear your hearing aids may also reduce their projected 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 checked and professionally cleaned every so often. This helps make sure that there is no wax buildup and that they still fit properly.

Updating Hearing Aids Before They Wear Out

In the future there could come a time when the functionality of your hearing aids starts to decline. And it will be time, then, to begin searching for a new pair. 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. Some of those scenarios could include:

  • Changes in your hearing: You need to change your hearing aid circumstance if the state of your hearing changes. In other words, your hearing aids will no longer be adjusted to yield the best possible benefits. If you want an optimal level of hearing, new hearing aids might be required.
  • 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.
  • Changes in lifestyle: You might, in many cases, have a certain lifestyle in mind when you purchase your hearing aids. But maybe your conditions change, maybe you’ve become more active and need a pair that are waterproof, more heavy-duty, or rechargeable.

You can see why it’s difficult to predict a timetable for replacing your hearing aids. Usually, that 2-5 year range is fairly accurate dependant upon these few variables.

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