Factors Affecting the Lifespan of a Hearing Aid
The average lifespan of a hearing aid is between 3 and 7 years, but you should think of your hearing aid like a car. There are many different factors that determine how long it will last for, including how hard you run it and how well you take care of it.
There are at least eight factors impacting how long hearing aids last:
- Materials Used – While hearing aids are designed to be durable, it’s important to understand that they do have parts made of plastic, metal, silicon and polymers that may be subject to structural degradation over time. That’s why the more expensive hearing aids have a protective nano-coating on them to resist dust and moisture, which can contribute to structural degradation.
- Frequency of Cleaning – You don’t just clean your possessions to make them look nice. We all know that cleaning has an impact on functionality and performance. Hearing aids are exposed to dust, moisture, skin oils and sweat on a daily basis. Just as you wouldn’t dream of going months without washing your hair, face and body, the same should be true of your hearing aid. It is recommended that you clean your hearing aid daily (as directed by your hearing professional) and that you take it in to your hearing clinic to be professionally cleaned every 3 – 4 months.
- Where You Wear Them – The environment in which you wear your hearing aid can affect its performance. Hearing aids that are consistently worn in damp and dusty environments can have more performance issues and may need to be cleaned more often.
- Where You Store Them – It is recommended that you store your hearing aids in a hard, protective case with the battery door open and the battery removed. Talk to your hearing professional about the types of cases available and whether it makes sense for you to purchase a case with a dehumidifier to keep your hearing aids drier. If you are storing hearing aids for a long time, make sure you remove the batteries to prevent battery corrosion from damaging the interior parts of the hearing aid.
- Hearing Aid Style – Behind-the-ear (BTE) styles are generally considered to last somewhat longer than in-the-ear (ITE) styles. The reason is that more of the electronic components sit in the damp environment of the ear canal with ITE styles. However, with the introduction of nano-coatings, there should no longer be a difference in durability between the two styles.
- Your Body – Some people have very oily skin, produce a lot of earwax or sweat profusely – all of which have an impact on the lifespan of a hearing aid. Some people’s body chemistry is just harder on the components of the hearing aid, which leads to a faster degradation.
- Frequency of Maintenance – You should plan routine maintenance checks at your hearing clinic. Most hearing aids have components that should be replaced every so often, such as wax guards, ear mold tubing and silicone earpiece tips. Performing routine maintenance is critical for lengthening the lifespan of your hearing aid.
- Changing Needs – Sometimes the hearing aid can outlast the user. People have changing hearing needs and if your hearing worsens, for example, you may need to switch to a more powerful hearing aid. Of course, technology is always advancing too and you may find that you would like to upgrade to the latest technology regardless of whether you need to.
For more information on how long you can expect your hearing aid to last, consult with your hearing professional to determine how your unique situation affects the lifespan of your hearing device.