Many first-time users ask how long their hearing aids should last. There is no single answer to that question, but the average person probably starts to think about replacing their devices after about 4 to 7 years. In some cases, older hearing aids can continue to meet the patient’s needs, but there are several important factors to consider when you reach the 4 to 5-year mark.
- Has your hearing changed? In many cases, hearing loss gets a little worse with time. And many people don’t realize this is happening, since it is a gradual change. The only way to ensure that your hearing hasn’t changed, is to have an updated assessment (hearing test). The audiologist can compare your current test results to the original test that was done when you were fit with your current hearing aids, and see if there is any difference. In some cases, your existing hearing aids can be adjusted or re-programmed to account for a slight difference in your hearing. In other cases, the best solution is a new set of hearing aids that are a better fit for your current level of hearing loss.
- Has your lifestyle changed? When we do an assessment of any patient in our office, we ask lots of questions about their lifestyle. It’s the “other half” of the hearing assessment: test results, and lifestyle. Taken together, these two factors lead us to the proper treatment solution. So, like your hearing loss, if your lifestyle has changed you should be re-evaluated. Perhaps you have retired recently and you’re travelling more often? Or you’ve become involved in a volunteer organization and you find yourself in group situations more often? Or maybe you have recently become a grandparent, or spending more time with grandchildren and find it a little difficult to understand their high-pitched voices. If your current hearing aids are more than 4 years old, today’s technology may be a big improvement in these listening situations.
- New technology is truly better! Just like other electronic devices like computers, televisions, and cell phones, there are constant advancements in hearing aid technology. Today’s hearing aids provide better performance in a smaller package than anything that was available 5 or 6 years ago. So even if your hearing hasn’t changed, you may benefit from the improved frequency response and fidelity of the latest technology – and in many cases, a more discreet appearance. Your existing hearing aids may still be working well, but a new model will let you hear even better, especially in more difficult hearing environments (such as background noise). People who use their computer every day routinely replace it every 4 or 5 years – you use your hearing devices every day, and should check out the latest technology every few years also.
If you have noticed any change whatsoever in your ability to hear well, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to check it out. Even if you feel you are hearing just as well as you did when your current aids were new, you should explore your options for new technology every 4 or 5 years. As always, we are here to serve your hearing needs, please feel free to call our office and schedule a check-up at any time. We’ll re-check your hearing, discuss your lifestyle, and explain all the latest improvements in technology so that you can make an informed decision.