Do you feel like the performance of your hearing aids has recently declined? Do you find the batteries wearing out unusually fast? If so, it might be time for you to consider replacing your hearing aids.
This article covers the average lifespan of hearing aids, how to extend their lifespan, and when to consider replacing them if certain issues arise.
How long do hearing aids as a device last?
The lifespan of hearing aids can vary significantly based on several factors.
On average, hearing aids are expected to last between 3 to 7 years.
Factors that affect heairng aids lifespan
- Type of Hearing Aid: Behind-the-ear (BTE) styles often have a longer lifespan compared to in-the-ear (ITE) styles due to the placement of electronic components. However, advancements in technology might reduce this difference.
- Quality of Maintenance: Regular cleaning and maintenance can significantly extend the lifespan of hearing aids. Daily cleaning as well as professional cleanings every few months are crucial.
- Technological Advancements: Hearing aid technology evolves rapidly. Older models might become obsolete as new features and better performance are introduced. Many people choose to upgrade their hearing aids to benefit from the latest technology.
- Body's Physiology: Individual factors such as oily skin, excessive earwax production, or heavy sweating can impact the durability of hearing aids and might require more frequent replacements or repairs.
- Changes in Hearing Loss: If a person's hearing loss worsens, they might need more powerful hearing aids. Changing needs and lifestyle adjustments can necessitate new devices.
- Manufacturer Support: Manufacturers might stop producing replacement parts for older hearing aid models after a certain period, making it difficult to repair them.
- Usage Environment: Hearing aids exposed to extreme conditions, such as constant moisture or dust, might have a shorter lifespan.
If there are no issues with the device itself, generally, the more expensive hearing aids you purchase (priced at $1500 or more per piece), and the drier your living environment with less moisture in your ears, and if you use behind-the-ear (BTE) style hearing aids, the longer the expected lifespan of the hearing aids.
With proper management of earwax and moisture, you can expect to use them for up to 6-7 years.
Ways to extend hearing aids lifespan in dailylife
Prolonging the lifespan of your hearing aids in dailylife involves regular care, proper usage, and a few preventive measures.
Here are some tips to help you extend the life of your hearing aids:
Keep Them Dry:
- Moisture is a common enemy of hearing aids. Remove your hearing aids before showering, swimming, or engaging in activities that cause excessive sweating.
- It's also not recommended to wear hearing aids when there is still a lot of moisture left in the ears after showering or swimming. Wait until your ears are thoroughly dried before putting them on.
- Furthermore, it's not possible, nor advisable, to completely eliminate moisture from the ears. Moisture is bound to seep into the hearing aids unavoidably. In such cases, you might consider using a hearing aid dehumidifier overnight to remove accumulated moisture.
- Here is the article that you can recommend before considering hearing aid dryer. You can get every information about hearing aid dryer including the best hearing aid dryers.
- Hearing aids are not only exposed to water but also to dust and foreign particles, which can significantly impact their lifespan.
- Therefore, it's essential to clean your hearing aids daily using a soft, dry cloth.
- Utilize a small brush or a specialized hearing aid cleaning tool to remove wax, debris, and moisture from the device at least two to three times a week.
- Especially for in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids, as particles like earwax come into direct contact with the device, cleaning must be done using specific tools. This is known as hearing aid filters.
- For those curious about this topic, refer to this blog post.
- It's essential not only to maintain the cleanliness of your hearing aids but also to ensure there are no foreign substances in your ears.
- Clean your ears regularly to minimize the amount of earwax that enters the hearing aids. However, it's important to avoid excessive use of cotton swabs in an attempt to remove earwax, as this can lead to injuries inside the ear canal. It's advisable to use cotton swabs gently and not too deeply, ensuring a soft touch while removing earwax and moisture.
Handle with Care:
- Be gentle when handling your hearing aids. Hearing aids are intricate devices with sophisticated electronic circuits packed inside their tiny frames. Unlike smartphones, hearing aids are delicate and can easily be damaged by even the slightest impact that wouldn't affect a smartphone.
- Therefore, it's crucial to avoid dropping them or exposing them to physical stress or impact. Particularly, never throw the hearing aids, especially the entire case, onto a table or any surface.
Turn Off When Not in Use:
- Turn off your hearing aids when you're not wearing them, and open the battery compartment or store them in a hearing aid case with a dehumidifier.
- This helps preserve battery life and prevents unnecessary wear and tear. Internal batteries of hearing aids also need rest, just like how we turn off our computers when they're not in use.
- Schedule regular check-ups and cleanings with your audiologist.
- They can professionally clean and inspect your hearing aids, replacing worn-out parts and ensuring they are functioning optimally.
- Furthermore, this is crucial for your overall hearing health. Hearing aids aren't a one-time setup; unfortunately, your hearing is likely to deteriorate over time due to the natural degradation of auditory nerves, especially as you age.
- In such cases, it's essential to periodically adjust the settings of your hearing aids. Proper adjustments can help slow down the progression of deterioration by providing settings tailored to your changing hearing abilities.
Protect from Elements:
- If you're in a dusty or humid environment, consider using protective covers or sleeves for your hearing aids. These accessories can shield your devices from external elements.
Avoid DIY Repairs:
- If you encounter issues with your hearing aids, don't attempt to repair them yourself. Seek assistance from your audiologist or the hearing aid manufacturer's customer support. It's best to visit the place where you purchased the hearing aids or an authorized branch of the specific brand for any adjustments or issues you might have.
- DIY repairs can often cause more harm than good.
Follow Manufacturer's Guidelines:
- Adhere to the manufacturer's guidelines regarding cleaning, maintenance, and battery usage. Each hearing aid model may have specific care instructions, so it's important to follow them closely.
- Defects arising from not following the guidelines are often excluded from coverage, so it's essential to follow guidelines properly!
How do you know when to change the hearing aids?
Common signs that might indicate it's time to consider changing your hearing aids:
- Decreased Performance: If you notice a decline in the effectiveness of your hearing aids, such as difficulty hearing conversations even with adjustments, it might be a sign that your devices are no longer providing adequate amplification. It's time to consider replacing your hearing aids if you can't expect the same performance as before just by adjusting the settings of the hearing aids.
- Frequent Setting Changes/Repairs: If your hearing aids require frequent Setting Changes or repairs and the repair costs are becoming substantial, it might be more economical to invest in new devices, especially if your current ones are out of warranty.
- Changes in Hearing Loss: If your hearing loss has significantly changed and your current hearing aids no longer match your hearing needs, it's time to consider new devices. Hearing aids need to be programmed to your specific hearing loss profile, and if this changes, new devices may be necessary.
- Outdated Technology: Hearing aid technology advances rapidly. If your current devices lack features that could significantly improve your listening experience, upgrading to newer models might be beneficial. Newer technology often includes better noise reduction, connectivity options, and improved speech understanding in various environments.
- Physical Wear and Tear: Over time, the physical components of hearing aids, such as the microphone or speaker, can degrade. If you experience issues like distorted sound or unusual noises, it could indicate that the internal components are wearing out.
- Uncomfortable Fit: Especially for children in their growth years, since their bodies, including ears, continue to grow, they might need to replace their hearing aids earlier than expected due to discomfort in wearing them. If your hearing aids no longer fit comfortably in your ears or if your lifestyle changes, necessitating a different hearing aid style, it might be time for a change. Ill-fitting hearing aids can lead to discomfort and decreased effectiveness.
- Battery Issues: If you have hearing aids with disposable batteries, and you find that the batteries drain unusually fast despite changing them, it could indicate a problem with the devices. For rechargeable hearing aids, if the battery life significantly decreases, it might be time to replace them.
- Manufacturer Support: Hearing aid manufacturers may discontinue support for older models, making it difficult to find replacement parts or receive repairs. If your hearing aids are no longer supported, it might be a good idea to upgrade to a newer model.