Like Just About Everything Else, Hearing Aids Have a Finite Life!

A commonly asked question by our patients is: “When is it appropriate to upgrade my current hearing aids to newer ones?” Even in instances where a person’s current hearing aids are working fine, it is important to be aware of what factors require thoughtful consideration when contemplating the purchase of new ones. Here are some “sound” reasons why you should consider upgrading your current devices to achieve better hearing.

Your lifestyle has changed.

Hearing aids should fit into your lifestyle and enhance your quality of life in a positive way. You shouldn’t exclude yourself from doing the things you love because you can’t understand your friends, family, or colleagues. Whether the change you are considering may be a new occupation or moving into a group home, the degree of social activity increases as does the level of conversation. Your life will take you from one difficult listening situation to another, often requiring your hearing aids to perform differently. Today’s technology has newer features that are becoming more and more sophisticated, and better suited to providing better hearing capability in those challenging environments. There are also assistive listening devices that can provide you with additional help in those types of situations that can be used alone or with the use of hearing aids.

A change in your health has occurred or possibly feeling as though you are having more difficulty communicating.

We should all keep in mind that as we “climb the ladder of maturity”, our individual hearing acuity “ages” too.  Age-related hearing loss progresses at a slow rate, but over an extended length of time those hearing aids you’ve been using may no longer provide as much power or benefit as they once did.  If you feel as though your hearing has changed, even slightly, whether you wear hearing aids or not, it is important to plan the time to discuss it with an audiologist. Having your hearing tested on an annual basis is recommended to monitor the status of your hearing. At ACA, we recommend that our hearing aid patients come in every six months for a hearing aid check and annually for a complete hearing evaluation to ensure that their hearing aids are performing at their peak and providing the best hearing possible. Hearing aids are fine- tuned at any visit to accommodate any additional hearing loss that occurs. It is also important to realize the need to investigate and discuss technological advancements that could help compensate for any degradation in hearing that may have occurred over time.

The age of your hearing aids.

Hearing aids have a known lifespan, according to national statistics, of three to five years. One way to look at hearing aids is as if they are miniature computers that are inserted into our ears.  It requires updates, rebooting and may even require adjustments and repairs. This is true even if you take great care of your aids. Remember that your hearing aids are exposed to moisture and ear wax, and are in place for long hours as they do their job. It is not too surprising that they require occasional maintenance. As hearing aids age, the associated necessary repairs can often become quite expensive. Many patients wish to keep their hearings as long as possible; however, most companies won’t repair a hearing aid that is over seven years old! Furthermore, the technology that was state-of-the-art years ago may no longer be considered adequate, especially when compared to the significant advances now available in newer hearing aids.

Advancements in Science and Technology

As we all experience frequently in today’s modern world, technology changes at a rapid pace, and hearing aids are no exception. Be assured that hearing aid companies are always advancing their product’s features. Issues involving background noise and hearing aid durability are at the top of the list. Currently, hearing aid technology is quite sophisticated with ear-to-ear cross-communication as well as improvements specific to one of the biggest challenges for hearing aid users, understanding speech when in the presence of noise.  Wireless technology provides the wearer the ability to stream audio content from his/her phone, television, or other media device directly to their hearing aids, creating better clarity for the user. Of course, once you have upgraded your aids don’t forget that you may now be able to use your old pair as backups for emergencies. Alternatively, you could also consider donating them to a local charity.

Today, there are numerous options to choose from when considering the purchase of hearing aids. The elements of your lifestyle, hearing test results and your budget should play a role in helping you make a decision. From daily wear to Lyric (the only extended wear hearing aid), you can choose, along with your audiologist, what suits you best.  ACA is recognized as a leading provider of high-quality hearing health care services and offers the latest and greatest in hearing aid technology. Our audiologists can demonstrate any of these devices to help you make the best choice for your particular hearing loss needs. Come in and try what’s new, and experience how better hearing can benefit you and your quality of life. You may be amazed at what you hear!

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