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How long your hearing aids will last depend on two major factors – the shelf life of your hearing aid as well as upgrades that you’ll have to make on account of other reasons.
On average, the lifespan of a hearing aid is anywhere between three to seven years, sometimes even longer. The shelf life of a hearing aid varies depending on the style, model, how often it’s cleaned and maintained, as well as how much wear and tear it experiences.
While the shelf life of in-ear models is around four to five years, behind-the-ear models usually last longer, about six to seven years. This has to do with how the device is built. In-ear devices are exposed to more moisture, dirt, ear wax, and higher temperatures while behind-the-ear hearing aids are housed in a compartment behind your ear. Still, BTE hearing aids are more likely to fall off your ear unlike in-ear models – especially in the era of COVID-19. Each time you put on, adjust, or take off your mask, you risk flinging your hearing aid off and potentially losing it. The time frames mentioned here are based on general observations, and of course, other factors may increase or decrease a hearing aid’s lifespan.
As we age, tiny cells in our inner ear that are responsible for producing sound gradually stop working well for some of us. In such cases, hearing progressively worsens with age. If you were initially fitted with hearing aids and your device seems to no longer work well, then it may be to time to visit an audiologist and get fitted with a hearing aid that’s more suited to more severe forms of hearing loss.
2. Changes in life situation
Job, family, or living situation-related factors may cause your hearing levels to fluctuate. For e.g., a new job with a lot of conference calls and meetings, a teaching job, or a job in noisy environments like at restaurants or construction sites…any of these situations can mean a change in your hearing requirements.
3. Changes in preferences
Let’s say you’re currently wearing a bulkier model, a bigger behind-the-ear hearing aid for instance, and you’re beginning to feel self-conscious about it. Then you could always switch over to in-the-canal hearing aids that are virtually invisible to the people around you. This way you’ll feel more confident when it comes to participating in social situations.
The above applies to any other feature. You might decide that it’s time to switch over to a hearing aid with a “remote care” feature through which our audiologists can fine-tune your device from miles away, without you having to step out the door.
4. Changes in technology
Hearing aids are getting smarter every day. Whether it’s devices powered by machine learning that evolve with user input or apps that provide tinnitus relief, you don’t want to hang on to the same hearing aid for too long and miss out on nifty features that can boost your quality of life.
Of course, it’s understandable that switching hearing aids every few years is not economically viable and so it’s wise to consider hearing aids that come with “add ons” that can easily be integrated into your existing model. For e.g., many hearing care providers can add a feature to your device that increases the loudness of the sound you hear when you have your face mask on, since masks make speech sound garbled to a hearing aid user, in addition to reducing volume by up to 15dB.
We hope you’ve found this information helpful! What other questions would you like our audiologists to answer? Tell us in the comments below!