When Should You Upgrade Hearing Aids? Ask the Expert

Miracle-Ear Chief Audiology Officer Dr. Thomas Tedeschi


Dr. Thomas Tedeschi
Chief Audiology Officer, Miracle-Ear

Miracle-Ear Chief Medical Officer Dr. Thomas Tedeschi answers some of your common hearing-related questions.

How long do hearing aids last?

No matter how well you may care for them, your hearing aids have a limited lifespan. The average life expectancy of hearing aids is somewhere between three to seven years, but it depends on several factors. How the devices are built, where they are worn on the ear, how often they are used, storage, frequency of cleaning and maintenance, and extent of wear and tear can affect the life of hearing aids.

How to tell when your hearing aids need replacing

Here are five ways to determine if you’re due for an upgrade:

1. Your hearing aids are no longer reliable.

If you often deal with feedback or buzzing, or if your hearing aid keeps cutting out, it could be time to invest in a new pair. Occasional glitches may be easily fixed with a cleaning, adjustment or repair, but frequent failures signal that your device is no longer working at its full potential.

Defective hearing aids can put your hearing at risk of further damage. Have a hearing instrument specialist clean and check your hearing aids every few months to ensure proper functioning and help you determine when it’s time to upgrade.

2. Your hearing has changed.

Age-related hearing loss gradually progresses, even after the adoption of hearing aids. You may reach a point where your current devices no longer provide the capabilities you need. Turning up the volume on your hearing aids louder than you used to, for example, could be an indicator that you’ve “outgrown” them.

Changes in hearing are completely normal and expected; they simply mean that it’s time to upgrade to a more powerful model or one with more sophisticated features to accommodate your needs. Don’t worry—more power doesn’t mean giant, clunky hearing aids. Plenty of sleek, discreet styles for all levels of hearing loss are available. If you have tinnitus, or if your tinnitus has become more noticeable, you may want to consider models with built-in tinnitus treatment. Be sure to consult a hearing professional if you detect any changes in your hearing.

3. Your lifestyle has changed.

Lifestyle changes, such as a new job, living situation, hobby or interest, can present new listening challenges. Fortunately, modern hearing aid technology is designed to help you hear clearly and naturally in any environment.

Are you attending more social events? Look for a hearing aid that is better at isolating speech from background noise. Does your job require you to make frequent video or phone calls? Many hearing aids are Bluetooth® compatible, allowing you to stream audio directly to your hearing aids from a smartphone, tablet or computer. Are you spending more time participating in outdoor activities, such as cycling or fishing? You may be interested in a hearing aid designed to suppress wind noise and keep up with you when you’re on the go.

How Hearing Aids Integrate with Modern Living

4. Your dexterity has changed.

Ease of use is important when comparing different sizes and styles, particularly if you've lost any dexterity. Smaller hearing aids, such as completely-in-canal (CIC) styles, may be trickier to maneuver for people with limited dexterity. Behind-the-ear (BTE) and in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids tend to be the easiest to handle. For even greater convenience, consider upgrading to fully rechargeable hearing aids to eliminate the hassle of changing batteries.

 

5. You want more control and a better overall listening experience.

Hearing aid technology gets better every year. The newest hearing aids are more comfortable, nearly invisible and have improved sound quality. Many models employ "smart" features that automatically adapt to the wearer's surroundings and even have the ability to learn the wearer's preferences. Features such as Bluetooth® connectivity, Voice recognition, Music Master, motion sensors and directional mircophones help create a rich, pleasant and natural-sounding listening experience at all times - and let you control it right from your smartphone.

If your old hearing aids are no longer satisfying all your needs and preferences, consider upgrading to a more advanced, higher-quality set. Your health, happiness and hearing will all benefit.

 

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