Hearing aid manufacturers typically release new technology every 18 months or so. Some people like to upgrade their hearing aids regularly, but is it necessary? In this blog post we investigate the question “how long do hearing aids last?”
The first question that needs to be answered is “do your hearing aids still work?” This is the most important question when thinking about when you should replace them.
With good home care and maintenance, and routine service from your hearing healthcare professional, hearing aids can last 10 years or longer. Just like with anything, the better you care for your electronics, the longer they will function. However, even with exemplar maintenance, hearing aids will malfunction and need repairs from time to time.
If your hearing aid malfunctions after the repair warranty runs out, you will need to weigh the cost of repairing the hearing aid vs. the price of purchasing new ones. Typically it will cost $200 to $300 for the manufacturer to repair each hearing aid that is no longer under warranty. After paying for a repair, you will usually get an additional 6 months of warranty. So to repair a set, it will cost approximately $400-$600. If you expect to send your hearing aids in for repair every 12 months, the repair costs will add up.
The second question that needs to be answered is “do your hearing aids still work FOR YOU?” Some devices are appropriate for milder hearing losses, but not for severe hearing loss. If your hearing loss progresses beyond the capability of your current hearing aid, it’s time for a new hearing aid, even if your current one still works.
If your hearing aid still functions and is capable of treating your hearing loss, then there is no need to replace them. However, new technology or features may have emerged that you would like to have access to.
From one generation to the next, the improvements tend to be relatively small. For this reason, we rarely recommend upgrading from a hearing aid that is only one or two generations old. For most people, the benefits of the new hearing aid will not outweigh the purchase cost.
If you have had your hearing aid for 5+ years, technology changes may make new devices a worthwhile investment. Maybe your current hearing aids don’t have bluetooth capability, and you would really like to be able to control them from your phone. Or, maybe you struggle in environments with significant background noise, and newer hearing aids have improved their ability to filter out unnecessary noise. Or, maybe you would prefer a rechargeable option so you don’t have to continually replace the batteries.
No matter what features or technology you are interested in, our audiologists are happy to help you explore your options. If you are interested in learning about new hearing aid technology, we highly recommend scheduling a hearing aid consultation.
Some patients will use the same set of hearing aids for ten or more years. Others will choose to upgrade to new devices sooner. Ultimately, the answer to “how long do hearing aids last” is dependent on your preferences.