If you ever wonder how often you should replace your hearing aids, know that many factors could determine the answer. It can be in response to technical issues with your hearing aid or due to changes in your hearing needs. Consider these five things before replacing or upgrading your hearing aids:
Are your hearing aids functioning like new?
For your hearing aids to perform optimally, they require regular maintenance and occasional technical repair. Since they are worn on the body, they are subject to the elements just like anything else on your person. They are exposed to the elements and weather systems, which means they can get wet, dirty, dusty, etc. Also, at least part of the hearing aid sits inside of the ear canal. In most people, the ear canal contains moisture and earwax, so there is much concern for maintaining cleanliness and function for the hearing aid.
Your hearing aids may require a lot of maintenance or none at all, depending on the hearing aid model you wear, your activity, and even your ear canal (moisture levels vary from person to person). You could wear your hearing aids for years without ever needing maintenance, or your hearing aids could require several visits to a technician due to things like moisture, dust, or earwax. These elements can prevent your hearing aids from performing at their best because they inhibit the function of microphones, speakers, and other technical components that make up the device. Often, a solution is as simple as replacing a filter on a speaker or cleaning debris away from the microphone. Complex cases may involve sending the hearing aid to a factory for disassembly and internal cleaning. In contrast, more severe cases might require a replacement of most or all internal parts.
Are your hearing aids meeting your current hearing needs?
What are your current hearing needs, you ask? Try this exercise. Write down five specific hearing needs you have right now. This list can be different from when you had your initial hearing aid fitting with your hearing doctor. It can vary from needing to hear on the phone in the car (on speakerphone, of course) to following along in a conversation with a friend at a party. Each of these hearing needs should be addressed with the current hearing aid you are wearing.
Did your hearing aids pass the test? Or could you be in the market for upgraded technology?
Are your hearing aids in line with your hearing prescription?
Hearing aids must be calibrated to your hearing prescription for you to get the most out of them. Your hearing prescription will be calculated by your audiologist or hearing instrument specialist.
Once it has been confirmed that your current hearing aids are not meeting your hearing prescription, you should ask your audiologist to improve your fitting. It might require an adjustment of the digital programming, cleaning, or repair of the hearing aids. If the fitting cannot be improved, your hearing needs may have outgrown your current hearing aids, and you should consider a replacement.
Might you benefit from newer hearing aid technology?
Reflect on your hearing needs from the list you made. For example, taking calls in the car for business and personal matters is essential to you. Still, you have a hard time understanding voices over the speakerphone. There are hearing aids on the market currently equipped with Bluetooth technology that can stream calls directly to your hearing aids simultaneously. This could possibly be a solution for you.
Make an appointment with your hearing doctor to discuss how or why this could be a good upgrade or replacement for you. They can talk with you about the pros and cons of newer technologies, the cost, and if a newer model will actually fit your hearing needs.
How will you pay for your upgrade or replacement?
Lastly, you must consider the financing of a potential upgrade or replacement. Suppose you are receiving funding from the government or another third party. In that case, there could be limits on how often you can replace your hearing aids. Medicaid regulations for hearing aids in Rhode Island allow only $700 per hearing aid every three years.
Private insurance firms, on the other hand, are a little more cautious. They are less likely to assist in the purchase of new hearing aids. AARP has further information about hearing aid funding, or you can contact us for advice.
If you’re in the market for an upgrade, our team is here to help! We provide comprehensive hearing health services and can help you determine whether a new pair of hearing aids would benefit you. Contact us today to learn more.