According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, approximately one in three Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 has some form of hearing loss. With such a high number of individuals relying on hearing aids to enhance their sense of sound, it’s important to be aware of how to tell when it’s time for a device upgrade.
Factors That Affect Hearing Aid Life
While most hearing aids have an average lifespan of approximately three to seven years, numerous factors can affect their usability, ranging from how well they are maintained to which types are used.
Exposure to moisture over a long period of time can detract from the length of life for many hearing aids. Common sources of moisture include earwax, excessive sweat, and water. Whereas accumulated moisture in the ear is oftentimes inevitable, certain cleaning precautions can be taken to prevent any damage caused by exposure.
Wiping your hearing aids daily with a soft, dry cloth can eliminate any debris accumulated from daily usage. Natural oils produced by moisture can clog controls, so it’s essential to clean all areas of your hearing device thoroughly. Dials, switches, tubings, and earmolds should be carefully inspected for dust, dirt, and ear wax and cleaned accordingly.
Regularly visiting your audiologist for routine check-ups and cleanings can enhance the longevity of your hearing aids. By having a hearing professional check and replace parts such as earmold tubing, battery doors, and microphone covers, product malfunction will be less likely to damage the life of your device.
While all hearing aids provide the same function of making sounds louder, different styles can affect how long they last. Those with mild to moderate hearing loss may opt for a device that rests completely in-the-canal (CIC), which is estimated to have a shorter lifespan as opposed to the behind-the-ear (BTE) style. Other types may involve receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aids, which hold similar lifespans as BTE devices.
What to Look for in a Hearing Aid
When treating your hearing loss, the audiologist will work with you to determine the type of hearing aids that best work for you. Knowing which type will provide the best value for your investment begins with an understanding of what you can expect for the life of your device.
How to gauge how long a hearing aid will last
Generally, behind-the-ear (BTE) styles that sit in the ear canal, such as completely-in-the-canal (CIC) types. Whereas BTE styles have a lifespan of between five and six years, devices that rest in the ear canal tend to last between four and five years. Rechargeable hearing aids also typically have a lifespan of about four to five years. There are instances of patients wearing the same aids for six or seven years, or even over ten years; those repair costs and improvements in technology may suggest that newer aids would be more appropriate.
What makes a hearing aid last longer than others?
Variables affecting the lifespan of hearing aids include how often you care for them, how well they are built, and how much wear and tear is caused by prolonged usage. However, people with hearing loss should also be aware of any changes in hearing that may occur, as the current hearing aids may need to be adjusted or re-programmed.
Signs a Hearing Aid Update Is Needed
When wearing your hearing aids, it’s crucial to pay attention to any changes that may occur to your hearing. Whether minute or profound, any change should be discussed with your audiologist to make sure your devices still meet your hearing needs.
Changes in hearing
Just like our eyesight, hearing aid prescriptions change over time. If you notice your current hearing aids aren’t amplifying sound in the way you’re used to, you may be experiencing changes in your hearing. To ensure that you stay on top of any changes in your hearing, it’s advised that you consult your audiologist if you experience the following:
- Having difficulty understanding conversations in noisy environments
- Frequently needing to turn up the volume on the radio, TV, or phone
- Hearing voice sounds and background noise as muffled
Lengthening the Life of Your Hearing Aid
Regardless of the type of hearing loss you have, you’ll want to invest in hearing aids that work for the length of time they are intended to. If performed regularly, the following maintenance tips can ensure the value of your hearing aids last for the long term:
- Clean your hearing aids daily
- Store your hearing aids in a safe place
- Avoid soaking your hearing aids
- Clean your ears twice a month
- As always, follow the recommendations of your audiologist for maintenance
Let Us Find You a Perfect Hearing Aid
If you’re experiencing a change in hearing or believe you may be due for a hearing aid update, it’s important to start by getting your hearing tested. At Associated Hearing Professionals, our audiologists provide superior expertise in determining the source of your hearing aid troubles. Schedule an appointment today for your hearing aid update.