As 2022 begins, it’s a good time to take stock of all aspects of your health, including your hearing. If you’ve never had your hearing tested and you are having problems hearing, now is a great time to schedule an appointment for a comprehensive hearing evaluation with a doctoral-level audiologist. The evaluation usually takes 60 to 90 minutes, and if you have a hearing loss, it will provide you with a hearing aid prescription that you can use when purchasing hearing aids.
But if you already have hearing aids, you might be asking yourself if now is a good time to replace or upgrade your hearing aids?
According to national statistics, most hearing aids have an average lifespan of three to five years. Lots of factors can affect the lifespan of your hearing aids though. These include the make and model of your hearing aids, changes in your hearing, and most importantly, how well you take care of them.
At Associated Audiologists, the average lifespan of our patients’ hearing aids is five to seven years. We have found our patients’ hearing aids last longer because they: a) purchase quality technology; b) routinely follow up with our audiologists for service, checks and cleaning; and c) are very careful to take care of their hearing aids in between regular check-ups.
But, if you’re noticing a problem with your hearing aids, or your hearing aids are older than five to seven years, it might be time to think about a new pair. Here are several questions to ask yourself if you’re considering replacing your hearing aids:
- Are Your Current Hearing Aids Functioning Well and Meeting Your Needs?
If you have taken good care of your hearing aids and follow up routinely with your audiologist, your hearing aids may still be functioning well. But keep in mind that hearing aids are tiny computer processors that you wear in your ears. They’re exposed to ear wax and sweat on a daily basis, so they can malfunction. Those routine follow-ups with your audiologist, as well as careful maintenance that you can perform, are important steps in helping your hearing aids last longer.
In addition, when you have a check-up with your audiologist, the provider should perform a real-ear measurement. This test verifies that your hearing aids are meeting your prescription by measuring the sound levels produced by your hearing aids while in your ear canals. This is the best way to be sure your hearing aids are functioning at peak performance, and they are helping you hear your best.
If they aren’t working as well as they should, talk with your audiologist about adjusting them to align with your hearing prescription, if possible.
If your hearing aids are still in good shape and are performing well, but you’re interested in a newer model with features such as Bluetooth connectivity, you may want to consider keeping your old pair as a back-up if you decide it’s time to get new ones.
2. Are Repairs Starting to Add Up?
Like many things in life, sometimes even the best technology starts to wear out. If that’s the case, it may make more sense to replace your old hearing aids with new ones. An older model may require extensive maintenance. Perhaps the device itself is no longer available or has been discontinued—as devices get older, it becomes harder to repair or replace broken parts. Fixing devices could end up costing you more for models that are no longer in circulation and you may be missing out on better hearing.
If the manufacturer doesn’t supply the parts anymore, this is a very good indicator it’s time for new aids. Purchasing new hearing aids that are compatible with today’s technology may be your best option.
3. Are There Advances in Technology You Want to Take Advantage Of?
Hearing aids do more than simply amplify sounds. They include digital, adaptive, directional microphones to help pinpoint the speech you want to hear and impulse reduction to soften annoying, excessive sounds.
Do your current hearing aids connect wirelessly or use Bluetooth? Can you connect them to multiple devices in your home? These are just some of the perks included in new hearing aid technology. The latest models are compatible with smartphones, televisions and telephones, so you can enjoy hearing with more ease.
New advancements can better process sound with features that enhance comprehension and connect to other electronic devices. If you’re missing some of these features now, it could be time to upgrade. The mechanics and processing involved in hearing devices continue to improve with technological advancements. Smarter features in new hearing technology may be worthwhile to improve your hearing.
4. Have You Experienced Any Health Changes?
As we age, it’s common for there to be changes in our health or hearing from time to time. If you’ve had a recent change in your health or the medications you take to manage a health condition, it might be a good idea to have your hearing re-evaluated. If you’re noticing that you aren’t hearing as well as you once were, that’s also a good time to get your hearing checked. Depending on the current hearing technology you have, the audiologist may be able to make adjustments to accommodate changes to your hearing. But, if that’s not possible, it might mean it’s time to look for new hearing aids.
5. Has Your Attitude About Hearing Aids Changed?
Statistics show the average person takes seven years from the time they think they may have hearing loss to the time when they actually purchase hearing aids. That means many people are reluctant to wear hearing aids at first. But as they get used to wearing them, they see how important they are to being active and engaged in life. Often, that means when these patients purchase their next pair of hearing aids, they see the value they bring to their lives, and are now more interested in additional features or upgrades.
6. Have You Changed Your Lifestyle?
As your lifestyle, occupation and hobbies change, you need hearing aids that keep up with them. Perhaps your first hearing aids were for a quiet lifestyle, but now you work in a noisy environment. Maybe you’ve recently moved and live in a more active, demanding social atmosphere requiring more of your hearing. These are just a few signs that it’s time for an upgrade to ensure you have the best fit.
If you’ve weighed your options and are interested in checking out the latest in hearing aid technology, there is some terrific new hearing aid technology that will keep you connected to the world around you.
Your audiologist is up on the latest technology and combined with the knowledge of your hearing loss, your lifestyle, your health and your budget, can make a recommendation to help you take your hearing to the next level. Schedule an appointment with a doctoral-level audiologist to learn more.