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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’re only helpful if they still reflect your level of hearing loss. Similar to prescription glasses, your hearing aids are programmed to your specific hearing loss, which needs to be tested regularly. Here’s how long you can anticipate your hearing aids will last assuming they are fitted and programmed correctly.

Do Hearing Aids Expire?

Nearly everything you purchase has a shelf life. It could take a couple of weeks for the milk inside your fridge to expire. Canned products can last anywhere from a few months to a number of years. Within the next few years or so, even your new high-def TV will need to be swapped out. So learning that your hearing aids have a shelf life is probably not very surprising.

Typically, a pair of hearing aids will last anywhere between 2-5 years, though with the technology coming out you may want to replace them sooner. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will be determined by a number of possible factors:

  • Construction: Nowadays, hearing aids are made out of many kinds of materials, from metal to silicon to nano-coated plastics, and so on. The devices are designed to be ergonomic and durable, but some materials do experience wear-and-tear along the way. If you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be influenced regardless of quality construction.
  • Batteries: Rechargeable, internal batteries are standard with most hearing aids in current use. The shelf life of your hearing aid is considerably influenced by the kind of batteries they use.
  • Care: It shouldn’t surprise you to know that if you care for your hearing aids, they will last longer. Carrying out regular required upkeep and cleaning is indispensable. Time put into proper care will translate almost directly into added operational time.
  • Type: There are two 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 normally last about 6-7 years (mainly because they’re able to stay drier and cleaner).

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 reduced if they’re not used regularly (putting them unmaintained in a humid drawer, as an example, could very well curtail the lifespan of your hearing devices, specifically if you leave the battery in place).

Hearing aids should also be inspected and professionally cleaned every so often. This helps make sure they still fit correctly and don’t have a build-up of wax blocking their ability to function.

It’s a Smart Idea to Replace Your Hearing Aids Before They Wear Out

In the future there could come a time when the performance of your hearing aids begins to decline. Then you will have to shop for a new set. But there will be scenarios when it will be beneficial to purchase a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Here are some of those situations:

  • Your hearing fluctuates: You need to change your hearing aid circumstance if the state of your hearing changes. Your hearing aids might no longer be adjusted to successfully manage your hearing issue. In these cases, 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. 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.
  • Changes in lifestyle: In some cases, your first set of hearing aids might be obtained with a certain lifestyle in mind. 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 difficult to predict a timetable for updating your hearing aids. Generally, that 2-5 year range is fairly accurate depending on these few variables.

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