How often should you get new hearing aids?

Contributed by Joy Victory, managing editor, Healthy Hearing

Hearing aids are complex devices, so it's important to understand when it's time to start considering buying a new pair.

Aside from when your hearing aids are beyond repair as determined by a hearing specialist or audiologist, here are some other reasons to consider upgrading your hearing aids:

You've had a change in hearing and/or health

Just as our eyeglasses prescription changes with time, so too does our hearing. You may find that your current devices simply aren't powerful enough to help you. This may especially be the case if you now have severe-to-profound hearing loss but still use standard hearing aids. Instead, you might do better with stronger hearing aids, known as "power hearing aids."

Likewise, a change in overall health can prompt the purchase of new devices. For example, arthritis might cause you to have less dexterity in your fingers. If you have in-the-ear hearing aids, the small battery door could be difficult to open with limited dexterity, so it might be a good idea to consider new behind-the-ear devices. Some models even come with rechargeable hearing aid batteries that require much less handling.

Your hearing aids are more than 5 years old

Most hearing aids last between three and seven years. Many people wonder why they don't last longer, but the fact is that all hearing aids experience a lot of wear and tear. Think about it: What other sophisticated electronic device do you wear all day that's directly connected to you, working constantly? Even if you take very good care of your device (such as frequent cleaning), continued natural exposure to moisture and ear wax has a damaging effect over time.

Also, older devices simply don't function as efficiently as newer models and can even become obsolete. Today's modern hearing aids are essentially tiny computers that run algorithms to constantly refine your hearing experience. Depending on the hearing aid you buy, it likely uses advanced technology to:

  • detect and minimize unnecessary background noise or wind noise
  • detect and amplify the speaker directly in front of you
  • be programmable via a smartphone app
  • connect to external devices via Bluetooth

You've made major lifestyle changes

Sometimes, a lifestyle change is an excellent reason to get new hearing aids. You might realize that the technology level is no longer meeting your needs or is outdated. For example, you got a new phone and watch a lot of videos on it, but can't connect the sound directly to your hearing aids. Or, perhaps you're getting out and hiking a lot more than you used to, so you need hearing aids that can stand up to more rugged environments and are good at blocking wind noise. Or, on the other hand, if you don't get out as much as you used to, a more basic model may work just fine for your needs.

Your financial situation has improved

Maybe when you bought your first pair of hearing aids a few years ago, you needed the most basic and economical option. But if you can now afford more advanced devices, it might be time for an upgrade. Some people buy new hearing aids and keep their old ones as an extra set in case their new devices need repair.

You've changed your attitude toward hearing aids

Many people are very reluctant when they purchase their first hearing aids. In fact, it takes people up to 10 years on average to get hearing aids after first being diagnosed with hearing loss. Additionally, it takes a while to learn what it means to hear your best, rather than just better. Thus, people who know about their needs and are more comfortable with hearing aids might want devices with different or more advanced settings since they have a better idea about what they want and need.

If you're still not sure what to do, keep in mind that a qualified and compassionate hearing care provider can guide you. Find a consumer-reviewed hearing aid clinic near you with our directory of providers.

Reprinted with permission. Copyright Healthy Hearing ( Original article:

Do you need a hearing aid upgrade? Hearing aids are complex pieces of technology, and even with regular maintenance will eventually need replaced. Find out if it’s time for you to get new hearing aids.