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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 properly, can keep working for years. But they are only practical if they still reflect your degree of hearing loss. Your hearing aids are calibrated to your specific level of hearing loss and much like prescription glasses, should be upgraded if your situation gets worse. If they are fitted and programmed properly, here’s how long you can expect them to last.

Is There an Expiration Time For Hearing Aids?

Nearly everything you purchase has a shelf life. It could take a couple of weeks for the milk in your refrigerator to expire. 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. It’s probably not surprising, then, that your hearing aids also have a shelf life.

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

  • Type: There are two basic types 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 debris, sweat, and dirt of the ear canal. Behind-the-ear models typically last about 6-7 years (mostly because they’re able to stay drier and cleaner).
  • Batteries: Rechargeable, internal batteries are standard with most hearing aids in current use. The shelf life of your hearing aid is significantly impacted by the type of batteries they use.
  • Care: It shouldn’t be surprising to find out that if you take good care of your hearing aids, they will last longer. Doing standard required maintenance and cleaning is crucial. Time put into care will translate almost directly into added operational time.
  • Construction: Today, hearing aids are made from all types of materials, from silicon to metal to nano-coated plastics, and so on. Some wear-and-tear can be anticipated in spite of the fact that hearing aids are manufactured to be ergonomic and durable. If you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be affected regardless of quality construction.

In most cases, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an approximation determined by typical usage. But the potential life expectancy of your hearing aids is reduced if they’re not worn on a regular basis (putting them unmaintained in a humid drawer, as an example, may very well curtail the lifespan of your hearing devices, specifically if you leave the battery in).

And every so often, hearing aids should be checked and cleaned professionally. This helps make certain they still fit correctly and don’t have a build-up of wax impeding their ability to work.

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

There could come a time when, down the road, your hearing aid performance starts to decline. Then you will have to look for a new set. But in certain situations, you may find a new pair advantageous long before your hearing aids begin to show their age. Here are some of those situations:

  • Your hearing changes: If your hearing gets considerably worse (or better), the dynamics of your hearing aids change also. Your hearing aids may no longer be calibrated to effectively deal with your hearing issue. If you want an optimal degree of hearing, new hearing aids could be needed.
  • Your lifestyle changes: In many 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 need a set that are waterproof, more rugged, or rechargeable.
  • Technology changes: Every year, hearing aid manufacturers introduce innovative new technologies that make hearing aids more useful in novel ways. It might be worth investing in a new hearing aid sooner than later if you feel like you would be significantly helped by some of these cutting edge technologies.

You can understand why the timetable for replacing your hearing devices is difficult to predict. How many years your hearing aids will last depends on a handful of factors, but you can usually count on that 2-5 year range.

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