How Long Do Hearing Aids Last?
Are you in the market for hearing aids to help you improve your hearing due to hearing loss? Whether you are brand new to hearing loss or have been dealing with it for a while, you have probably heard of the many benefits of hearing aids. The market can become overwhelming with the large amount of options to choose from, especially with the large price tags that come along with a few of the options.
Hearing loss is one of the most common disabilities, and the market for providing treatment is quite large. When it comes to purchasing your hearing aid set - you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
You’ll want to look for hearing aids that last a long time; that way, you don’t have to keep on spending thousands on each new pair or unnecessary doctor’s visits. Audien Hearing has everything you need to know about what to look for in a long-lasting pair of hearing aids.
What Is a Typical Lifespan for Hearing Aids?
A quick Google search brings up countless manufacturers and clinics that tell you the same thing - hearing aids last five to eight years.
Losing some part of your hearing involves the unpleasant feeling of realizing you need hearing aids. As you start to navigate your new reality with hearing aids, you’ll also want stability for the long run. When purchasing hearing aids, you’ll want a high-quality product that is not only comfortable to wear but also has long battery life.
What You Can Do to Maintain Your Hearing Aid
Like all technology, you must maintain hearing aids properly so that they last their life span. These small devices are designed for daily use, meaning that they won’t have a lot of ‘rest’ time, so maintenance is crucial to keep your hearing aids functioning.
Let's take a look at some easy steps to help maintain the overall health of your hearing aids.
Cleaning Your Hearing Aids Regularly
Hearing aids come in multiple functional styles and designs. Behind-the-ear hearing aids provide more prominent space for battery and processing power. There are also in-ear style hearing aids that are much smaller, more discrete, and made for moderate levels of hearing loss.
Regardless of design, you’ll clean your hearing aids with specialized tools. Most manufacturers will give you the tools to maintain your devices. However, if you don’t have the tools or they weren’t provided, you can order them from your manufacturer. You can even use a toothbrush and a micro cloth to get the job done.
It’s also important to realize that hearing aids aren’t meant to be ‘scrubbed,’ so be sure to apply gentle force when brushing the hearing aids for wiping them down. It’s always a good idea to check with your manufacturer about cleaning agents such as sprays or soaps before cleaning to make sure it’s safe to apply to your hearing aids.
Hearing aids have soft ear tips that you can remove, replace, or clean. This part of your hearing aid interacts directly with your ear canal and easily builds up ear wax. Removing this piece and cleaning it helps to improve your experience with your hearing aids and helps maintain their function.
Where Do You Store Your Hearing Aids?
You should not wear hearing aids all day. Every manufacturer will give you their best practices for their device when it comes to storage and safety. Always be sure they are secure, not under any kind of pressure or in danger of being physically damaged, and that their storage area is free of mold or moisture. One key medical reason you should not wear your hearing aids all day is because they can promote an unhealthy environment in your ear canal which can lead to build-up of wax or even infection.
Secondly, when taking your hearing aids out for activities, be sure to take extra steps to ensure that they are appropriately stored. For instance, if you are going for a run on a hot day and would prefer your hearing aids not to get sticky or sweaty, leave them at home instead.
Charging Your Hearing Aids
One of the modern evolutions of hearing aids is that nearly all manufacturers have switched to rechargeable technology. While it is best to recharge your hearing aids overnight, it is also good to simply charge them anytime they aren’t in your ears. This may seem counterintuitive, however, overcharging will not harm most devices.
Other Factors That Affect Your Hearing Aid Life Span
Here are some other factors to keep in mind when taking care of your hearing aids.
Depreciating Hearing Loss
In the same way that not all hearing loss is the same, not all hearing aids are made the same. Most prescription hearing aids are devices specifically programmed for your exact needs. This means that these devices pick up the frequencies that your hearing loss has made a challenge for you to recognize on your own.
While you can reprogram hearing aids to fit your needs, all hearing aids are designed for certain levels of hearing loss.
For instance, hearing aids designed for discrete use (referred to as invisible hearing aids) are small, compact, and fit inside your ear canal. These hearing aids represent a discrete style of wear that easily goes unnoticed by most people. However, it comes at the cost of processing power and battery life. A naturally smaller case for the technology inside means there is less power under the hood.
For someone who suffers from mild to moderate hearing loss, these discreet hearing aids are a wonderful option. However, if hearing loss continues to depreciate, this style is not suggested for moderately severe to severe hearing loss thresholds.
Advances in Technology
Technology is always moving forward and advancing. While hearing aids are designed to be stable, usable devices for long periods, they eventually become obsolete.
Most providers and manufacturers recommend time-periodic evaluations to ensure that your hearing aids are still accurately programmed and operational. These evaluations are also a good time to ask your healthcare provider or manufacturer about the benefits of switching to newer technology.
The downside to paying thousands of dollars for prescription hearing aids is that their lifespan probably isn’t the best it could be. Whether that is from a default in their build, lack of maintenance, or even just the device becoming technologically obsolete, at some point, you will need to replace your hearing aid.
However, using these easy steps and being sure to follow your manufacturer’s instructions, maintaining hearing aids, and doing your part to extend their life span is an easy skill you can quickly learn.
If you are unsure of the lifespan of your hearing aid, contact your provider or manufacturer to find out. Audien Hearing carries multiple affordable hearing aid options that are rechargeable, comfortable, and will have your hearing better in no time. “No matter how much you pay for hearing aids, there are basics in taking care of them. Always remember that the highest priority is to make sure they are clean, charged, working properly, and that you take care of your ears first and foremost.”
Drew Sutton M.D.
Drew Sutton, MD is a board-certified otolaryngologist. He has extensive experience and training in sinus and respiratory diseases, ear and skull base surgery, and pulmonary disorders. He has served as a Clinical Instructor at Grady Hospital Emory University for more than 12 years.