When you invest in hearing aids, the hope is that they will last indefinitely. But the fact of the matter is they last between three to seven years. This is because the technology nowadays is so advanced it’s almost like having a tiny computer in your ear, and computers need updating often. Top that off with the fact that it works constantly and is continually exposed to moisture and ear wax, and it’s a perfect recipe for being slowly damaged over time.
The most common reasons for updating hearing aids are:
- They are older than 4 years
- They are not working the way they once did
- New and improved models are available that can more effectively address an issue
- A lifestyle change
Just like investing in hearing aids in the first place should not be delayed, neither should updating the ones you have to ensure you’re getting the most out of this incredible technology. So, is it time for a hearing aid upgrade? Let’s dig in!
Reasons Why You Need A Hearing Aid Upgrade
There are tons of reasons why upgrading hearing aids might be the right choice. Let’s go over the most common ones and see if any of them apply to you.
Change in hearing
If you’re noticing more difficulty in understanding speech, watching TV, reduced hearing in noise, or in general, then it likely means your hearing ability has changed and it needs to be addressed. Remember, age-related hearing loss continues to change over time, even if you already have hearing aids, so it’s important to update to the most advanced technology to ensure you’re getting the best treatment possible.
People change, and so does your hearing, it’s one of the only constants we can rely on, and those changes could have an impact on the type of hearing aid you need. If you’ve started to participate in different social activities, then you may need new hearing aids that can adapt to those new environments more easily! For example, if you didn’t attend concerts when you first got your hearing aids, and now you go every month, you may need a device that works better in those situations. Technology nowadays allows for plenty of customization so you can get hearing aids that suit your lifestyle the best.
Your hearing aids are not as effective
Since hearing aids experience a whole lot of wear and tear, it also means they may not work as well as they did when you first got them. If that’s the case, then it means you’re not getting the full range of treatment you signed up for in the first place! It’s simple, older devices aren’t going to work as well or offer as many options as newer models, so periodically updating is in your best interest.
New and improved technology
It seems like every few months there are upgrades to technological gadgets in all industries, and that applies to hearing aids too. As technology continues to march forward, it’s important to pay attention to the clarity of sound you’re getting with your hearing aids now and to determine if there are any sounds you believe you might be missing. Are your hearing aids still working as well as they did on day 1? With newer hearing aids, you can experience benefits like:
- Detection and lessening of background or wind noise
- Detection and amplification of a speaker directly in front of you
- Connectivity to smartphone apps or external devices via Bluetooth
Sure, it may seem more exciting and fun to get a new cell phone, but investing in the latest technology in hearing aids is a surefire way to ensure you are not only taking care of your hearing but investing in your ongoing well-being.
Benefits of Upgrading Your Hearing Aid
Getting shiny new hearing aids means you get access to tons of new features, which means improved:
- Connectivity: Hearing aids can interact more seamlessly with a variety of personal electronic devices, like cell phones, televisions, and stereo systems via Bluetooth technology.
- Speech sounds: Some hearing aids can be tailored to understand conversations and speech above other sounds. Other devices make it easier to listen to multiple speakers in a conversation, even if one is in front of you and the other is behind you.
- Comfort: Even just the way a hearing aid is fitted to your ears has changed. There are new designs now that fit more snugly, are less noticeable, and can even be molded to your ears for a perfect fit.
- Discretion: For those experiencing profound hearing loss, devices in the past were heavier and very noticeable. Nowadays, even the most robust hearing aids can fit completely in the ear canal, giving people the option to be as discreet as they like with superior hearing quality.
What to do with Outdated Hearing Aids
If you’ve decided it’s time to get new hearing aids, that means you also need to decide what to do with your old ones. There are a couple of great ways to handle your outdated hearing aids that are easy and free.
If they are in relatively good condition, then one option would be to hold on to them so they can serve as a backup. Sometimes hearing aids can suddenly stop working. If that happens you’ll have a backup pair to serve you until you’ve been able to get the new ones up and running again.
Hearing aids are not cheap, which is why they are an excellent item to donate. Several charities accept used hearing aids, and many of those allow you to write the donation off in your taxes. Hearing the Call, for example, is a 501(c) 3 that does just that! If you donate used hearing aids to them, the used devices are cleaned, repurposed, and reconditioned to be reused, if possible. If the hearing aids you donate are older than four years or cannot be repaired, the repair lab partners they work with offer credits that can be used toward hearing aids than are repairable, meaning all donations can be used in some capacity!
Keep track of your hearing aids and pay attention to how well they’re working at all times. If you notice any signs of discomfort or decreased hearing ability, don’t ignore it! Contact your audiologist for a consultation to see what option is best for you. And don’t worry, even if you need new hearing aids, your old ones will come in handy either as a back-up or a donation, so it’s never a waste to upgrade to something better.