A hearing aid can have a significant impact on your quality of life. Once you get used to wearing a hearing aid, there’s no going back. Your hearing aid becomes your lifelong friend and you wouldn’t even think about going a day without it. That being said, how often do you need to replace your hearing aid?
Like many other technological devices, for example. a computer or cell phone, hearing aid upgrades are required now and then due to wear and tear and your changing needs. Upgrades can also ensure that you receive the most suitable and effective amplification for your hearing loss. However, due to the high costs associated with hearing aids, many are hesitant to get new hearing aids.
Hearing care professionals often recommend that hearing aids be changed or upgraded every three to five years due to new technology or warranty expiration. If you have had your hearing aids for quite some time and are unsure of whether you should get new hearing aids, here are a few questions you can ask yourself:
Are your current hearing aids working effectively?
Your hearing aids should allow you to have a good, flowing conversation. If you struggle in the following situations, you may need new or different hearing aids:
- Conversations with large groups of people
- One-on-one conversations
- Talking on the phone
- Listening to the radio/watching television
- Listening during lectures/religious sermons
Sometimes, a simple adjustment by your hearing care professional can help make these situations better, although it is important to point out that, many times, even with adjustments, you may struggle in certain situations. If you notice that your hearing aids aren’t working like they used to, you might have to replace your hearing aid.
Are your hearing aids being maintained?
Unlike a phone that can be safely tucked into your bag or pocket, hearing aids are exposed to the elements every day. Even with regular servicing and maintenance, hearing aid wear and tear can be significant after three to five years.
Sometimes, no matter how well you maintain your hearing aids, factors such as earwax build-up and sweat may cause the hearing aids to have a shorter lifespan. You may find that the components have become dirty and old over time. These factors may greatly affect the way the hearing aids work. If after a service, you find that your hearing aids are still working ineffectively, you may need to consider getting new hearing aids.
Is the technology in your hearing aids outdated?
Technology is ever-changing and hearing aids are constantly being upgraded and new features are added to them on a regular basis. This is why after three to five years, you may find that your hearing aid technology is outdated.
The new technology on offer could allow you to focus on sounds better, hear a larger range of sounds or keep up with conversations more effectively. Sometimes, new features can be installed or programmed into your hearing aids, but most of the time, new hearing aids are required in order to keep up.
Ask your hearing healthcare professional to explain the new technological features to you and test to see if they benefit you in any way. If you notice significant improvement with the new features, it may be time to replace your hearing aid.
Has the degree of your hearing loss changed significantly?
Annual monitoring of your hearing is important. If your hearing has decreased, your hearing healthcare professional should adjust your hearing aids to match your current hearing prescription. However, over the years, the change in hearing loss may become so significant that your current hearing aids may no longer be effective. Your hearing care professional will be able to advise you when it is time to consider new hearing aids.
How has your lifestyle changed?
Making changes in your life can be healthy, but may also affect your hearing aids. Got a new hobby or job? Socializing more often? Things like this may require changes to your hearing aids.
If you have developed a newfound love for hiking or jogging, hearing aids with a high-sweat resistance and outdoor feature may be needed. If you’ve started to go out more and entertain large groups, your hearing aids would need to function well with background noises. All these lifestyle changes, no matter how small they may seem, affect the way your hearing aids work. Communicating with your hearing healthcare professional is important as they can advise you if different hearings may better suit your lifestyle.
How are your finances looking?
Hearing aids are costly and replacing them every few years is no easy task. You need to ensure that you have the budget to buy new hearing aids and since a change is recommended every three to five years, you could look into starting a savings account for your hearing aids in order to ensure that you will have the finances when the time comes.
When do you know you know your hearing aid is outdated?
Now that you’ve asked yourself these questions, you’ve probably become aware of a couple of things regarding your hearing aids. It is important to recognize when your hearing aid has become outdated.
- You’re not hearing as well as you once did.
- The quality of your hearing has decreased.
- Your hearing aid is making uncomfortable noises (whistling and whooshing) even after adjustments are made.
- You feel that the technology on your hearing aids is old.
- Your hearing aids feel old, heavy and chunky (newer hearing aids have become slim and almost unrecognizable)
- The need to service your hearing aids is becoming more frequent.
When in doubt
If you are still unsure if you need an upgrade, ask your hearing healthcare professional about using new hearing aids for a trial period. Although this trial period may not be free, it is certainly worth trying it in order to make this huge decision a little bit easier.
Remember – talk to your hearing healthcare professional about all your concerns and seek their advice, they may be able to help you make an informed decision.