How long do hearing aids last?

Is time on your mind? For many of us, the time around new years and birthdays makes us think of longevity and goal setting.  One of the questions Dr. Mark, Dr. Sheri and I get is, “how long should my hearing aids last?”

For traditional hearing aids, we typically say, “With good care and maintenance, 3-5 years.”  I will dive deeper into where that number comes from.

Care and Maintenance: For traditional hearing aids, we recommend you come in about every quarter. Some people need to come in more often for thorough cleanings than others.  When we clean your hearing aids, we clean them inside and out by vacuuming the devices, sanitizing them, change filters and pieces on the hearing aid, as well as check to make sure they sound just right.

Hairspray and spray sunscreen:  Hearing devices and hairspray do not mix well. The hairspray can get into devices and damage the microphones and internal components.  Spray sunscreen can do the same thing.  As a supervisor once said to me, “Get beautiful first, then put on your hearing aids.” It’s important to not get your hearing devices wet.  Hearing devices are much more dependable and durable than they used to be; however, treating them with care is still important.

Just a little speck of wax, skin, or dust can greatly affect your hearing. This is why it’s so important to see your audiologist regularly. 

Style of hearing  device: The kind of hearing aid matters in how long it will last. Thus, we consider style and model when we recommend hearing aids.  Our recommendation is truly customized for you.  The kind of devices that go deep into the ear are more susceptible to wax, bodily fluid, and heat than the kind that go over the ear.

What happens if my hearing changes? At Audiology Associates, we think of the gradual progression of hearing loss and in our recommendation we are planning ahead.  When we recommend a product, we want it to grow with you and if there is a change, we are sensitive to it and want you to always be hearing you best.  Our goal is to have you upgrade technology because you want to make use of advancements in technology, not because the devices are not meeting your prescription anymore.  Sometimes there are sudden changes in hearing and we are forced to make an adjustment, but those are rare.

As audiologists, it is our goal to have you hear clearly and accurately all the time. We do not know what your financial situation will be like in 3-5 years and we want the devices to last.  Hearing devices are like tiny computers that operate like prosthetics.  We have equipment called real-ear verification and a test box to measure how well the devices are working.  The microphones, receivers, and computer chips can wear and can result in decreased hearing.  From diagnostic testing, we can tell if it is time to think of switching or if they are still performing.

Changes in technology: The main reason why our patients change hearing devices is because they want to, not because they have to.  The technology in hearing devices rapidly changes and we will let you know if something is developed that could help you hear better.