Hearing aids are becoming smaller and more efficient than ever before. Advances in hearing aid technology have also made these helpful devices more durable and cost-efficient.
At the same time, hearing aids can be extensive, so potential buyers often wonder what kind of value they’ll get for their money. This guide will tell you what you need to know about how long hearing aids last.
How Long Hearing Aids Last
Hearing aids typically last three to seven years, but this may vary based on factors like the type, environment, usage, and the user’s lifestyle. In-the-ear hearing aids typically last four or five years, whereas behind-the-ear hearing aids last five or six years.
Factors That Impact the Lifespan of Hearing Aids
Hearing aids are small electronic devices with intricate electronic components. The lifespan of all electronic devices is shaped by consumer behavior, technology, and environment. The following factors affect the lifespan of hearing aids.
|Construction||Hearing aids are made of plastic, silicone, metal, and polymers. Durability will vary depending on the cost and quality of the materials, but even the most advanced components will degrade with time. New hearing aids are equipped with a protective nanocoating to withstand greater impact.|
|Maintenance||To increase the life of your hearing aids, regularly clean them and replace parts like tubing, earmolds, and wax guards. You should also periodically take them to a hearing aid specialist for professional maintenance, following the schedule recommended by the manufacturer.|
|Storage||Store the listening device in a clean and dry area to lower the risk of malfunction. Exposure to sweat and extreme temperatures can affect hearing aid performance. When not in use for longer periods, take out the battery and store hearing aids in a dehumidifying unit to absorb moisture.|
|Environment||Damp or dusty environments can damage your device. If you can’t avoid extreme environmental conditions, use a protective sleeve and take your devices in for professional maintenance more often.|
|Type||Hearing aid style can impact life expectancy. For instance, behind-the-ear hearing aids have a longer lifespan than in-the-ear devices because they sit outside the ear canal away from sweat and earwax. In-the-ear devices obstruct the ear canal, making them more prone to wax buildup.|
|User’s physiology||Oil, moisture, and earwax can affect the device, so hearing aids have a shorter life expectancy when their users have oily skin or are prone to sweating and earwax buildup. Ask your hearing professional about models with a protective coating to repel sweat and oil if this is an issue.|
|Technological obsolescence||Hearing aid technology is constantly advancing, so it may be increasingly difficult to find replacement parts for old hearing aids, leaving you no choice but to purchase the newest hearing aids with the latest technology. Progressive hearing loss: If your hearing loss worsens, your current hearing aids might no longer be adequate, and you will need to purchase a more powerful device. Get a hearing test every six months to see if your hearing loss is getting worse.|
Care and Maintenance
Routine maintenance is the best way to extend the life of your hearing aids. Here are some essential tips:
- Clean hearing aids daily: Wipe down your hearing aid’s interior and exterior parts using a soft, dry cloth. It is best to use a cleaning kit to get to hard-to-reach areas.
- Replace parts as needed: Replace earmolds, wax guards, tubing, and wax filters as they wear out. Look for discoloration and tears.
- Store in a clean, dry place: When you aren’t using your hearing aids, store them in a dry space shielded from moisture and dust. Use a dehumidifying unit to absorb moisture.
- Professional cleaning: In addition to regular cleaning at home, you should take your devices to a hearing care professional for expert cleaning every three to four months.
Increasing Battery Life
Hearing aid batteries typically last three to seven days, but how you handle them can dramatically impact the life span.
- Start with the oldest package: If you have more than one set of batteries, open the oldest one at first. The longer the batteries are stored, the shorter will be their shelf life.
- Store in a dry space at room temperature: Extreme temperatures and moisture can reduce battery life. Store the batteries in a clean and dry area. Do not store them in the refrigerator or near the windows.
- Leave the plastic tab alone until it’s time to use the battery: Each battery has a plastic tab on top to keep it fresh. Remove the plastic tab only when you are ready to use that battery. The battery is activated when you remove the tab.
- Follow the five-minute rule: After removing the plastic tab, wait five minutes before inserting the battery. Peeling off the tab activates the battery. Waiting five minutes for the battery to fully activate extends the battery life by two to three days.
- Handle with clean hands: Dust and dirt reduce the lifespans of batteries and hearing aids. So always clean and dry your hands before touching hearing aid batteries.
- Leave the battery compartment open: Keep the battery door open to keep it dry when the hearing aid is not in use. This will also prevent battery draining and corrosion.
- Remove batteries when not in use: Remove the batteries when you are sleeping or otherwise not using your hearing aids for extended periods. This will help avoid corrosion and moisture buildup.
When to Get Your Hearing Aids Repaired
Contact the hearing aid specialist if you notice any of the following:
- Volume control doesn’t work: Most hearing aids have a manual volume control button. If you cannot adjust the volume even after replacing the batteries, it may indicate an internal problem.
- Physical defects: Dropping hearing aids onto hard surfaces can result in scratches and cracks. If you notice any physical defect, take the device to a hearing care professional.
- Whistling sound: A whistling sound or feedback could signify an incorrectly fitted hearing aid, the presence of earwax, or a malfunction. If you notice a whistling sound from your hearing aid, remove the device, clean it thoroughly, and fit it again. If the problem persists, contact your hearing aid vendor.
- No sound from hearing aids: If your device isn’t producing sound, that does not necessarily mean it’s dead. Before contacting your hearing aid specialist, check the volume button to ensure it is not turned all the way down. Replace the battery and clean the mold and the tubing. If these solutions don’t work, take it in for service.
- Reduced quality: Poor audio quality or faulty output from hearing aids could mean that they need to be reprogrammed. However, it could also mean your hearing loss has worsened, so you may need another hearing test and new hearing aids. Visit a hearing professional for fine-tuning and reprogramming of the hearing aid.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the average lifespan of a hearing aid?
The average life of a hearing aid is five years, but the longevity of hearing aids varies greatly among devices and users. Some can last more than a decade, while others will need to be replaced after two or three years.
What causes hearing aids to stop working?
Exposure to dust, moisture, earwax, and extreme temperatures can cause hearing aids to stop working. Basic troubleshooting techniques for hearing aids include replacing batteries, cleaning mold and tubing, and adjusting the volume control button. If none of these steps work, you may need a new hearing aid.
How often do hearing aids need to be adjusted?
If you have age-related hearing loss or some other form of progressive hearing impairment, you should get your hearing aid preprogrammed every six months to a year for best results.
How do I know if I need hearing aids?
Many hearing aid manufacturers offer a free hearing test online to check if you would benefit from a device. However, you still need an in-person test to diagnose hearing loss.
Hearing aids typically last three to seven years depending on factors like type, quality, environment, and usage. You can extend the longevity of your hearing aid by adopting best practices for routine cleaning and maintenance.
Learn the basic troubleshooting techniques and consult a hearing aid specialist every three to four months for regular cleaning and examination.