How Long Will My Hearing Aids Last?
By, Emily Steffel, AuD
Q: - I just bought a set of hearing aids. How long will they last? Can I do anything to help them last?
A: - The life span of a hearing aid can vary greatly. On average hearing aids are typically replaced about every 4-5 years, with some being replaced as soon as 2-3 years and some not replaced until they are more than 10 years old!
There are a few key reasons a hearing aid may be replaced. First- every hearing aid has a fitting range; a variety of differing degrees of hearing loss that can be well fit within the specific hearing aids. Although hearing aids can be adjusted to a person’s new hearing loss sometimes a hearing aid can no longer be made loud enough to meet the patients newly declined hearing. A size medium shirt fits people of various heights and weights, but if you grow too much or gain too much weight the shirt won’t fit appropriately anymore. Hearing aids are just the same, “grow” too much and you will need to purchase a stronger hearing aid.
Secondly- hearing aids are often replaced because a patient decides they want to go with a new style of hearing aid than they previously had because either their preferences or situation changed (such as began to use oxygen on a daily basis and their behind-the-ear hearing aid is seeming to always be in the way). Or perhaps a newly available hearing aid has a feature that the patient really wants to obtain; Bluetooth streaming and rechargeability are the most recently sought-after features. People do this with cell phones all the time, purchasing the “newest” and “latest and greatest”.
Lastly- hearing aids stop working and need to be repaired but are no longer under warranty. The patient then must decide between spending their money on repairing the old hearing aid versus spending their money on a new hearing aid. Just like if your car needs to be repaired; do you repair it or buy a different car? Everyone has a different threshold for which makes the better financial sense. And sometimes the dog gets a hold of the hearing aid or it gets stepped on or run over... then the hearing aid must be replaced because it is damaged beyond repair.
So, while there are several reasons that a hearing aid may need to be replaced, there are a few things you can do to help your hearing aid last as long as it can:
1. Keep it safe; put in a case at night or anytime it is not in your ear; do not just put it on the table or in a pocket, purse, or tissue.
2. Keep it clean; remove moisture, grime, wax, and dirt as soon as possible. Wipe it off every night before putting it in the case and clean it more thoroughly once a week.
3. Have the hearing aid serviced by your audiologist every 4-6 months to ensure it is getting properly cleaned.
4. Treat the hearing aid with care; take it out and put it in properly, make sure it is fully inserted each time, so it doesn’t fall out and get lost or stepped on.
5. Don’t leave the case or hearing aids where children or pets can reach them; batteries are toxic if swallowed, and neither will treat the hearing aid as gently as they ought.
6. Protect your hearing: anytime you are around loud noise wear hearing protection (ear plugs or earmuffs); it is the best way to help keep your hearing from decreasing faster than it naturally would.