By Emily Steffel, Au.D., CCC-A, Audiology Consultants, P.C.
Q: I just bought some hearing aids. How long do they last? What can I do to help them last?
A: On average, hearing aids are typically replaced about every five to seven years, with some being replaced as soon as two to three years, and some replaced after more than 10 years!
There are many reasons a hearing aid may be replaced. Every hearing aid has a fitting range; a variety of differing degrees of hearing loss can all be well fit within the same fitting range and hearing aids can be adjusted to a person’s new hearing loss. Sometimes, though, a hearing aid can no longer be made loud enough to meet the patients newly declined hearing. A size medium shirt fits people of various heights and weights, but if you grow too much or gain too much weight, the shirt won’t fit appropriately anymore. Hearing aids are just the same, “grow” too much and you may need to purchase a stronger hearing aid.
Other times, a hearing aid is replaced because a new hearing aid has a feature that the patient really wants to obtain: better weather resistance or feedback reduction, for instance. Perhaps a patient decides they want to go with a new style of hearing aid, such as a hearing aid with rechargeable battery or a tiny in-the-ear style. People do this with cell phones all the time, purchasing the “newest” and “latest and greatest.”
Some hearing aids become broken and need to be repaired, but are no longer under warranty. Sometimes the dog gets a hold of the hearing aid or it gets stepped on or run over; the patient then has to decide between spending money on repairing the old hearing aid versus spending on a new hearing aid. Just like if your car needs to be repaired, do you repair it or buy a different car?
Things you can do to help your hearing aid last as long as it can:
- Keep it safe — put it in a case at night or any time it is not in your ear; don’t just put it on the table or in a pocket, purse, or tissue.
- Keep it clean— remove moisture, grime, wax, and dirt as soon as possible. Wipe it off every night before putting it in the case, and clean it more thoroughly once a week.
- Have the hearing aid serviced by your audiologist every four to six months to ensure it is getting properly cleaned.
- Treat the hearing aid with care — take it out and put it in properly, make sure it is fully inserted each time so that it doesn’t fall out and get lost or stepped on.
- Don’t leave the case or hearing aids where children or pets can reach them: batteries are toxic if swallowed, and neither will treat the hearing aid as gently as they ought.
- Protect your hearing — anytime you are around loud noise, wear hearing protection (ear plugs or ear muffs); it is the best way to help keep your hearing from decreasing faster than it has to.
If you have any questions about this article or your hearing health, please feel free to contact Audiology Consultants at
563-355-7712 or visit audiologyconsultants.com.