The average lifespan of a hearing aid is anywhere from 3-7 years, however its average lifespan will vary based on many factors.
One important aspect is the type of hearing aid. Those worn in the ear or completely in the canal might be exposed to more moisture and wax from the ear and therefore, may need more frequent repairs to the aid itself and this might mean it is sent back to the manufacturer for repair. Behind the ear or receiver in canal models tend to need in house repairs of tubing or receivers replacing but the aid itself often needs less attention because it is worn behind the ear. However, this does make it vulnerable to getting wet in the rain so it likely depends on the lifestyle and requirements of the wearer as to which is more suitable and will last for longer.
If hearing aids are worn all the time, they may need more frequent repairs and may not last as long overall, but the wearer is likely to gain significantly more benefit from greater use. If hearing aids are worn in dusty or damp environments, they might break down more frequently. Within an NHS service, behind the ear models are usually fitted as these can be programmed and replaced should they break down and can be sent away for repair without the need for that specific aid to be returned to the same wearer. This means they can be replaced on the day of breakdown rather than being sent away and repaired which makes logistics of repairs much easier when running a service for many thousands of hearing aid users.
Hearing deterioration may be one reason why a hearing aid needs replacing. Often, if hearing deteriorates just a little, a hearing aid can be adjusted to increase its output to match the user’s new requirements. However, if the hearing deteriorates by quite a lot, the current hearing aid may need to be upgraded to a more powerful model.
Innovations in technology also mean that a hearing aid upgrade may be of benefit to the wearer. Manufacturers work hard to improve the listener’s experience and attempts are made to improve the quality of sound of hearing aids all the time – especially in traditionally challenging listening situations such as hearing speech when there is background noise and listening to music.
Advances in hearing aid technology have also included reducing the size of hearing aids and the invention of receiver in canal hearing aids (improving user comfort and sound quality).
The addition of Bluetooth to hearing aids has enabled users to connect directly to other Bluetooth devices and stream directly to their aids.
Bluetooth Hearing Aids also give hearing aid users access to hearing aid adjustments from their audiologist without the need to see them in clinic, rechargeable aids and the use of apps to control and adjust hearing aids.
Those seeking the extra benefits of newer technology are likely to want to consider their options every few years to assess whether changes to technology would benefit them. The hearing aids that we provide at Chime Social Enterprise have many modern features including: Rechargeable batteries, Bluetooth Direct Streaming to smartphone, and Improving Background Noise. See our page on Choosing a Hearing Aid to learn more.
In summary, there is no one answer for what is the lifespan of a hearing aid but anywhere from 3-7 years is a good rough guide. Those using NHS hearing aids are likely to be offered an upgrade every 5 years or so but would be eligible for new hearing aids should a significant hearing deterioration mean that their current aids are no longer powerful enough and the audiologist would be able to advise this. If you’re concerned about your hearing aid, you can contact us or request some advice and one of our team will get back to you soon. Alternatively, you can book a free online hearing test to check your hearing loss – it takes less than five minutes.