When choosing a new pair of hearing aids, it’s important to think about how long the devices will last. It’s similar to purchasing a car, where the mileage might be different for each car model.
Many of today’s high-quality hearing aids have a lifespan of three to seven years. It’s important to take into consideration the fact that even if two different people get the same hearing aids, they can last for very different lengths of time.
What Influences How Long Hearing Aids can Last?
There are at least nine circumstances that can affect the lifespan of hearing aids:
1. The components that are used to produce the hearing devices
Even though hearing aids are designed and built to be sturdy, hearing aids are constructed out of metal, plastic, silicon, and many other components that can eventually wear down. Most modern hearing aids feature a protective nano-coating that repels dust, liquid, and moisture. It should still be treated with a lot of care to protect them from any physical and internal damage to the electronic components.
2. Advancements in technology
Old hearing aid models can become obsolete. Between five to 10 years, hearing aids manufacturers might stop producing replacement pieces for certain devices, making repairs to earlier models very difficult or unattainable. Software that is used to program hearing aids gets updated over time, and ultimately becomes antiquated. This creates huge obstacles to reprogramming old hearing aid models. Advancements in hearing aid technology move very quickly. Technology that was considered top-of-the-line six to seven years ago would be considered outdated today. Many people who get hearing aids, seek to benefit from the latest technology that will be available in four to five years.
3. The style of the hearing aids
Generally speaking, behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids have a longer lifespan than in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids. This is because more of the electronic parts rest inside the ear canal, which is a damp environment. The latest advancements in nanocoatings for internal and external units might be able to improve the durability of these hearing aid styles.
4. The frequency of cleaning
The majority of people would never go months without cleaning their body, face, or hair. Unfortunately, most hearing aid users forget or don’t think about the effects of exposure to outdoor environments. Dust, moisture, oil, and sweat, caused by high humidity and sunlight can clog up your hearing aids. In addition to all of that, your earwax can also block up your hearing aids. Some hearing aid users only get their devices cleaned by a professional twice a year. This damages the hearing aids and can cut their lifespan. To lengthen their lifespan, it is recommended that they are cleaned as directed by your hearing instrument specialist and professionally cleaned by your hearing instrument specialist every six months.
5. The frequency of maintenance
Most hearing aids feature parts that can be readily replaced. These include dome earpieces, earmold tubing, and wax guards. These are replaced by your hearing healthcare provider during regular maintenance visits. Other hearing aid parts can also be replaced, such as the battery doors, earmolds, external speakers, and covers for the microphone. It’s important to take care of your hearing aids so that they can last longer.
6. Where the hearing aids are worn
Hearing aids that stay in damp or dusty environments, may malfunction. If you have concerns about the environments that you frequent with your hearing aids, talk to your hearing instrument specialist for guidance. They may recommend that you use a sleeve to preserve the hearing aids or schedule more professional cleanings to prolong the life of your hearing aids.
7. How the hearing aids are stored
How you Store your hearing aids, when they are not being worn, can also affect a hearing aid’s lifespan. Hearing aids that use disposable batteries should be stored while the battery door is open, and placed inside a dehumidifier. This will help remove moisture and keep your devices dry, which will extend its lifespan. Discuss storage units and dehumidifier options with your hearing instrument specialist.
The lithium batteries in rechargeable hearing aids last for four to five years. It’s like the battery life of your smartphone - the longer you own the device the shorter the lifespan becomes. If your battery is draining faster than normal, talk to your hearing instrument specialist about replacing your lithium batteries or getting new hearing aids.
8. A person’s body physiology
In some cases, bodily fluids can significantly affect the metal and plastic parts of hearing aids and usually discolor or diminish those parts quicker than others. Some people produce a lot of earwax, oil, or sweat, which can affect the hearing aids' lifespan. If you experience any of these issues, mention them to your hearing healthcare provider when choosing your hearing aids.
9. A person’s individual hearing needs
The changes in what you personally need for your hearing health may also affect how long your hearing aids last. In some cases, after many years, your hearing loss may become so progressive to the point where you may need a more powerful device. Your individual lifestyle might change and you may need a hearing aid that has more - or less - features.
If you, or a loved one, need hearing aids, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation. If you need additional information or advice on how to clean and maintain your hearing aids, contact us.