Many people are confused when they learn that quality hearing aids only last about four to five years. This frustration makes sense because good hearing aids are an investment. However, you can feel better about the purchase by reframing how you think about hearing aids and learning how to take excellent care of them to ensure that they work for you as long as possible.
Understanding the lifespan of a hearing aid
Hearing aids are small, highly technologically advanced devices. Their technology develops so rapidly that, even just five years ago, the majority of devices on the market were what we would consider "baseline" devices today. Here's what to know about the rapid development of technology and even the changing form of hearing aids that can help shed light on the devices' lifespans:
Although many individuals have images of bulky hearing aids from decades past, hearing technology is changing at a rate similar to that of smartphones. Many people know that data limitations, speed and additional functionality will grow and change within a few year's time, and the same goes for hearing aids. Many models of hearing technology now incorporate smartphone and Bluetooth capabilities into their design, making them more user friendly and in line with the technological necessities of today.
Because hearing aids today have so many different and extended capabilities, they can be worn more often and for a wider variety of tasks than those in the past. With near constant use, it isn't surprising that their lifespans are finite. If you used your laptop all day for five years, it would likely still work but would be slow and not perform certain things as well as it could have. The same is true for hearing aids - using very old devices that don't perform as well as they should could hamper your hearing and communication and prevent you from accessing newer technology that could have a major impact on your quality of life.
How to I get the most out of my hearing aid?
The best way to make sure your hearing aids last as long as possible is to clean and repair them regularly. Here are some tips:
- Dust, ear wax and other debris can build up quickly on hearing aids. Make sure to clean your devices regularly with a soft, dry cloth. Some hearing aids come with small tools to clean out the wax guard and prevent debris from clogging the microphone as well, but you can take your hearing aids to an audiologist for a thorough cleaning if necessary.
- Invest in a hearing aid dryer or dehumidifier. Remove your hearing aid batteries each night and keep the aids in one of these containers to protect them from moisture and help dry out any present moisture.
- Insert hearing aids after you've used hairspray, makeup and other products to avoid damaging your devices.
- When inserting hearing aid batteries or cleaning the devices, make sure to do so over a soft surface, such as a bed or folded up towel. This is the way to protect your devices in case you drop them.
- Perform listening checks and check your batteries daily. Don't use batteries that seem to be corroded, and make sure to clean the area where you insert batteries.
- Visit your audiologist for repairs - don't attempt to make them on your own! The audiologist can advise you on whether your devices can be salvageable or if you will need new ones.
- Avoid extreme heat or cold while wearing your hearing aids. Never leave them in a hot or cold car, and be mindful of keeping them covered when it is raining or snowing.
- Inquire with your audiologist about taking a hearing aid orientation class after getting your new hearing aids to make sure you know how to care for them properly.