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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 useful if they still reflect your degree of hearing loss. Similar to prescription glasses, your hearing aids are calibrated to your particular hearing loss, which needs to be tested on a regular basis. Assuming they are programmed and fitted correctly, here’s how long you can expect them to last.

Is There an Expiration Time For Hearing Aids?

There’s a shelf life for pretty much any product. With the milk in your fridge, that shelf life may be a few weeks. Canned products can last anywhere from a few months to several years. Within the next few years or so, even your new high-def TV will have to be swapped out. So learning that your hearing aids have a shelf life is probably not very shocking.

2 to 5 years is typically the shelf life for a pair of hearing aids, though you may want to upgrade sooner with the new technology emerging. There are several possible factors that will effect the shelf life of your hearing aids:

  • Construction: Materials such as nano-coated plastics, silicon, and metal are used to produce modern hearing aids. The devices are designed to be ergonomic and durable, but some materials do experience wear-and-tear along the way. Despite premium 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 kind of battery or power supply your hearing aids use can significantly influence the total shelf life of various models.
  • Type: There are a couple of primary kinds of hearing aids: inside-the-ear and behind-the-ear. Because they are subjected to the debris, sweat, and dirt of the ear canal, inside-the-ear models normally have a shelf life of about five years. Behind-the-ear models usually last about 6-7 years (mainly because they’re able to stay drier and cleaner).
  • 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 have any required regular maintenance. Time put into care will translate almost directly into added operational time.

Normally, the typical usage of your hearing aid defines the real shelf life. But failing to wear your hearing aids might also reduce their estimated 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 inspected and professionally cleaned every now and then. This helps make certain they still fit correctly and don’t have a build-up of wax impeding their ability to function.

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

There may come a time when, years from now, your hearing aid performance begins to wane. Then you will need to shop for a new pair. But in certain cases, you may find that a new pair will be worthwhile well before your hearing aids begin to show their age. Here are some of those situations:

  • Changes in lifestyle: You may, 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.
  • 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 hearing changes: You need to change your hearing aid situation if the condition of your hearing changes. Essentially, your hearing aids will no longer be adjusted to yield the best possible results. In these cases, a new hearing aid may be imperative for you to hear optimally.

You can understand why the plan for updating your hearing devices is difficult to predict. 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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