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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 last for years. But they’re only practical if they still address your degree of hearing loss. As with prescription glasses, your hearing aids are calibrated to your particular hearing loss, which needs to be tested regularly. Assuming they are programmed and fitted properly, here’s how long you can anticipate they will last.

Is There an Expiration Time For Hearing Aids?

There’s a shelf life for pretty much any product. With the milk in your refrigerator, that shelf life may be a few weeks. A few months to several years is the shelf life of canned goods. Within the next few years or so, even your new high-def TV will need 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, however you may want to replace them sooner with the new technology emerging. But the shelf life of your hearing aids will depend on several possible factors:

  • Batteries: Most (but not all) hearing aids currently use rechargeable, internal batteries. The type of battery or power supply your hearing aids use can significantly influence the overall shelf life of different models.
  • Type: There are a couple of basic types 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 commonly have a shelf life of around five years. Behind-the-ear models usually last around 6-7 years (mainly because they’re able to stay drier and cleaner).
  • Care: This should come as no surprise, but the better care for hearing aids, the longer they’ll last. Doing standard required maintenance and cleaning is vital. You will get added functional time from your hearing aid in almost direct proportion to the time you put into care.
  • Construction: These days, 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. In spite of premium construction, if you’re prone to dropping your hearing aids, their longevity will be affected.

In most cases, the shelf life of your hearing aid is an approximation based on typical usage. But failing to wear your hearing aids could also minimize their projected usefulness (putting them unmaintained on a dusty shelf, for example, may very well reduce the lifespan of your hearing devices, particularly if you leave the battery in).

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

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

There may come a time when, down the road, your hearing aid functionality starts to wane. Then you will have to shop for a new pair. But there will be scenarios when it will be advantageous to get a more modern hearing aid before your current one shows signs of wear. Here are some of those situations:

  • 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.
  • Your hearing changes: You should change your hearing aid scenario if the state of your hearing changes. In other words, your hearing aids will no longer be adjusted to yield the best possible results. If you want an optimal degree of hearing, new hearing aids could be required.
  • Your lifestyle changes: You might, in many cases, have a particular lifestyle in mind when you purchase your hearing aids. But perhaps your circumstances change, maybe you’ve become more active and you need a set that are waterproof, more rugged, or rechargeable.

You can see why the timetable for updating your hearing devices is difficult to estimate. Normally, that 2-5 year range is pretty accurate contingent upon these few factors.