Photo of my hearing aids, taken in 2008.
I got my first (and only pair of hearing aids so far) in September 2006. As I'm approaching their 5 year anniversary, I'm wondering if I will be needing to purchase a new pair in the near future.
I vaguely remember asking my audiologist this question once and receiving an answer of 7 years. A few months ago when I attended a presentation on "How to Talk to Your Audiologist", I asked presenter Tina Childress the same question and she thought 5 years was more likely.
Tonight I did an Internet search to find information on how long hearing aids generally last. I learned that it depends upon the type of hearing aids, how much they are worn, and other personal variables such as the amount of earwax and perspiration a person produces, how well they are maintained, and even the climate where they are worn. Storing your aids in a dry aid kit at night and having maintenance and cleaning done by your audiologist regularly are two ways to help your aids last longer.
Estimates for how long a hearing aid will last varied from as little as 3 years to as much as 10 years. The most common figure I saw was 5 years. But, it's important to keep in mind how well you are doing with your current aids. As someone wisely pointed out on a Hearing Aid Forum discussion on this topic, "If you are doing perfectly well then it doesn't matter how old they are. They are solving your hearing problem. On the other hand if they are not adequately helping then it makes since to replace them even if they are fairly new."
Advancements in hearing aid technology is another reason to consider replacement. According to the website Audiology Online, "New hearing aids are coming out about once a year and so after 5 years, your hearing aid is 5 generations behind the latest technology." This website suggests that we may want to think about our hearing aids the way we think about our computers. Sure, a five year old computer can still work, but a new model will perform better and have more to offer. I have to admit that's definitely a factor in my thinking and something I will want to discuss with my audiologist.
Some people replace their hearing aids while the old ones are still working, ensuring that they have a backup pair "just in case". That idea appeals to me more than waiting until mine break down completely and I'm forced to deal with the issue. Ideally, I'd like to have time to consider my options, put aside the money, and not deal with the stress of being without working hearing aids.
To conclude, I found this online article to be an excellent summary on this subject.
Now I'd like to hear from you. If you've owned more than one pair of hearing aids, how long did yours last? What made you decide to replace them? Were there any warning signs that your hearing aids needed replacement? Would you like to replace your current hearing aids?
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