Maybe you or a loved one has been on a pair of hearing aids for quite some time now. Since acquiring the devices, your life has improved immensely, thanks to the enhanced hearing capabilities. But you may be wondering how long the conveniences will last.

Does observing a regular maintenance routine and professional servicing guarantee their longevity? Or are there situations that may necessitate an upgrade?

I’ve also come across similar concerns from my clients.

So I have decided to share my thoughts on this article’s issue to help you understand why and when you may need to upgrade your hearing aids.

Why Would I Need to Upgrade My Hearing Aids?

When we talk of upgrading, note that we are not referring to the required occasional replacement.

Generally, it’s recommended that you replace your hearing aids after 3-4 years. This is because constant use subjects them to wear and tear, which reduces their efficiency.

In most cases, your audiologist will recommend a more advanced device at the time of replacement. However, you may decide to go for a similar device or even downgrade for some reason, which is okay.

In that case, we wouldn’t say you have upgraded your hearing aids even though they are new. Thus, replacement is an upgrade if the new aids have more superior technology than the existing ones.

So, what are the circumstances that may require you to upgrade the aids?

Poor Device Performance

If the hearing aids stop performing as they should while below the 3-year threshold, and a check by the audiologist fails to indicate any mechanical issues, that may be a pointer for an upgrade.

Possible causes of such a situation could be deterioration in your hearing health or a reduction in device efficiency, making it hard to adequately meet your hearing needs.

Need to Sample Superior Technology

Probably you have been using analog hearing aids and would like to enjoy the benefits of digital devices.

For instance, advanced digital hearing aids run on technologies that adjust to different environments and filter unnecessary background noises, so you hear only the most relevant sounds.

This improves your hearing and communication experience as you get clear sound output no matter the environment.

Unlike analog aids, digital devices have powerful connectivity capabilities, meaning you can stream audio to the device from several electronic gadgets. Upgrading to a more superior set of hearing aids will help you enjoy these and more benefits.

Curb Deterioration of Cognitive Abilities

Research has linked hearing loss to cognitive ability decline. It’s a sad reality that we cannot ignore. As you may already be aware, one of the common symptoms of hearing loss is mental fatigue.

This happens due to the brain’s increased load as it decodes and processes the sounds entering your ears. Consequently, this overloads your brain and hinders it from performing optimally.

To address this issue, manufacturers are continually employing newer technology to improve the capabilities of hearing aids so that they can process sounds more efficiently hence reduce brain overload and safeguard your cognitive abilities.

For this reason, upgrading to more superior hearing aids, whenever you can afford, may help protect your brain and avoid hearing loss-related illnesses like dementia.

There may be other reasons that may motivate an upgrade, but most of them will revolve around the above three. If you feel like you’re ready for an upgrade, discuss with your audiologist and let them recommend the best set that suits your lifestyle and hearing needs.

Upon an upgrade, some people prefer keeping their old aids to use whenever they take their new device for servicing or repair. But some audiologists loan patients similar devices for such moments, so if you have such a specialist and don’t need to keep your old pair, you can donate it to our nonprofit Pacific Hearing Connection.

Besides providing hearing healthcare to low-income patients in our community, we undertake humanitarian operations in the Middle East and Africa, so your pair may go a long way in helping someone else out there.

Nonetheless, if you or a loved one is ready to upgrade their devices, or want advice on your options, contact our friendly team to see how we can help support you in your next steps to better hearing.

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Rachel Appleton, Au.D.

Rachel Appleton, Au.D.

I grew up in Portsmouth, Ohio. I was an undergrad at the College of Wooster in Ohio and graduate at Northwestern University near Chicago. I did my externship at the VA outside of Chicago. I have always enjoyed volunteering throughout my life. As a teen, I volunteered a lot at a local retirement community, and I loved spending time with the residents there. While in graduate school, I was able to travel to Peru to educate others about hearing healthcare. Pacific Hearing Service was a great fit for me because of the practice’s focus on humanitarian outreach both locally and abroad.