Hearing aids, whether an individual unit for one ear or a set for both, are a serious investment for many individuals. Therefore, it only makes sense to want to get the very most out of these auditory solutions for as many years as possible. That being said, how long do hearing aids last in general? What components will require the most frequent maintenance or replacement? And how long do hearing aid batteries last, given that they are a consumable item that will degrade over time with use?
These are all questions that we’re happy to answer here today at Robillard Hearing Centres. We’ll also go over the fundamentals of hearing aid lifespans, maintenance requirements, and your individual hearing needs. Let’s get started!
The General Lifespan of Hearing Aids
Modern-day hearing aids are available in a wide assortment of styles to ensure the best possible fit and performance for you as an individual. They are also built to last, and the typical lifespan range for a hearing aid is between three and seven years. Of course, it’s important to note that the approximate lifespan is going to vary considerably as everyone will use their hearing aids a little bit differently.
With that in mind, below are some of the factors that have the most significant influence on hearing aid longevity:
- Battery capacity and degradation speed
- How they are stored and worn
- Maintenance, cleaning, and general upkeep habits
- Feature set (some features consume more battery life when used than others)
- Materials, design, and build quality
- Durability and handling
- Exposure to moisture/water/extreme temperatures
- Frequency of use (more frequent use will speed up battery degradation)
As shown in the factors above, hearing aid batteries have a direct influence on the longevity of the hardware, as they won’t work without a charge! Therefore, many conversations about getting your hearing aids to last tend to focus on getting the most out of your batteries.
Hearing Aid Maintenance Best Practices
The batteries of hearing aids are components that are among the most sensitive to your usage and maintenance habits. The same goes for microphones, which can accumulate wax and/or moisture and become less effective. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend getting your hearing aids cleaned and maintained by a trained professional every four to six months. This should be done in addition to manually cleaning them at home yourself once a week. Wiping them down every night before bed, removing wax and moisture residue from your ears and bodily oils, also helps to promote longevity, and it reduces the chances of irritating your skin or developing an unwanted infection from having dirty hearing aids. You should also get into the habit of taking out your hearing aids before stepping in the shower, exercising (where a lot of sweat is produced), or sleeping.
Individual Hearing Needs
Depending on how severe your hearing loss is or your usage habits, you may need a hearing aid solution that is either more or less powerful. Alternatively, you may wish to use certain additional features. Bluetooth connectivity is one popular example, which tends to consume battery life more quickly when activated. To get the most out of each charge as possible, thereby extending the longevity of your hearing aids, consider turning off features like these when you don’t need them.
Before purchasing hearing aids, of course, it’s a good idea to consult with an experienced audiologist. They can go over the findings of your hearing test and make informed recommendations on which types (as well as which specific models) are best suited for your individual hearing needs. This can be handy when there are so many different models out there to choose from. Plus, since there are always new innovations and features coming to market, the audiologist can help you narrow down ideal options while ensuring you get a long-lasting solution.
Frequently Asked Questions About Hearing Aid Longevity
Why are my hearing aid batteries dying so quickly?
As noted earlier, there are several possible causes. Exposure to extreme environmental conditions is one example, as is leaving on extra wireless connectivity options. Improper handling, such as transferring oils from your hands or not keeping up with regular cleanings, can also negatively impact battery life. We also advise against stocking up on batteries ahead of time – wait until yours are degrading to the point where they need to be replaced, at which time you’ll be able to get them swapped out with a freshly made battery that hasn’t been sitting in storage.
How do I know if my hearing aid batteries need charging?
When wearing hearing aids, a warning sound should be heard when they are running low on battery power. They should then be removed from the ears, placed in their charging case, and plugged in. Allow them to fully charge before removing them.
A great way to avoid having to worry about a low battery is to charge up your hearing aids overnight while you sleep. This not only ensures that you don’t fall asleep with them on but that you can start the day with a full charge and peace of mind. Don’t worry about overcharging your hearing aids, either, as they are designed to prevent this from happening.
What is the “five-minute rule” for hearing aid batteries?
When removing the tab of your hearing aid battery, it’s best to not insert it right away. Instead, wait for anywhere between five and seven minutes (hence the name of the rule). This gives time for the air to activate the battery in question, which may be able to extend its longevity by as much as a few days!
How can I maximize my hearing aids’ battery life?
Regular maintenance and upkeep at home, getting your hearing aids professionally cleaned twice a year, and handling them with care can help promote the best possible longevity. You should also try to avoid exposing them to water, heat, freezing temperatures, and moisture.
How long do hearing aid rechargeable batteries last?
Since you’ll likely be using your hearing aids all day, every day, zinc-based batteries won’t last much longer than a year or so on average. Again, however, turning off unused features and storing them in appropriate conditions can help to extend this.
Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, however, are different. These are the same type used in your smartphone, only in a much smaller capacity. On average, lithium-ion batteries should last for five years or so, possibly less depending on your usage, features, and other factors we outlined earlier.
Where should I store hearing aid batteries?
If you have additional hearing aid batteries, we recommend storing them at room temperature in a dry place. High relative humidity (especially if above 60%) will shorten the lifespan of the batteries. Therefore, you should never store them in areas of your home like a bathroom or refrigerator.
Hearing aids are made of many small components, but the batteries themselves tend to have the most significant impact on overall longevity and functionality. Taking proper care when it comes to cleaning, maintenance, handling, and feature usage habits can go a long way in maximizing the potential of your batteries, meaning you’ll get to enjoy the benefits of using your hearing aids for even longer!
Are you in need of further assistance with your hearing aids? Whether you’re planning for your first-time purchase or require a helping hand with the maintenance, we’re here for you at Robillard Hearing Centres. Contact us today to book an appointment!