When Should Hearing Aids Be Updated?

Do Not Delay If You Suspect You Could Benefit From a Hearing Aid

Let’s begin here with some confounding statistics to put this all into appropriate context. Less than three out of every 1,000 births in the United States involve some form of congenital hearing loss. But around 13% of the population lives with a detectable degree of hearing loss. Given the innumerable causes for hearing loss, this percentage rises steadily with age. By the age of 65 and older, around one-third of everyone suffers from it. And among everyone aged 75 years old and above more than half of everyone does. That means that it is more common than not for someone over the age of 75 years old to have hearing loss. 

Now to fully understand the importance of these next two statistics, consider what it means to not treat hearing loss. Many people downplay the impact of their hearing loss on their life. They say it is a minor inconvenience that they can adapt to. But hearing is intrinsically related to your sense of balance. That means that hearing loss is not only a threat to your physical safety because it decreases your awareness of your surroundings, complicating the navigation of crowds or traffic. It means that your physical safety is at risk even by yourself within your own home. 

But beyond your physical safety, it takes no great stretch of the imagination to comprehend how hearing loss impacts your emotional life. When people have trouble hearing others, they withdraw socially. And considering how subtly and gradually hearing loss comes on, it is far more likely than not that someone does not even recognize the significance of their own hearing loss. So this social withdrawal is likely subconscious. All they know is that suddenly they find socializing fatiguing in a way that they never had before. This leads to isolation and loneliness. Isolation and loneliness cause depression, which causes frustration. And when someone’s hearing goes, their brain literally requires the neural pathways to try to compensate and this rewiring on top of the frustration they are already feeling from their frustration and depression causes true cognitive decline and disorientation. 

So think of that when considering these last two statistics. Less than 20% of everyone who suffers from disabling hearing loss seeks out and maintains appropriate treatment. That means that more than 80% of everyone with hearing loss is at great risk for the consequences outlined above. And among those who do wear hearing aids regularly, studies show that they have waited an average of seven years to do so from the time that they first thought that they might need to and the time that they actually took the initiative to do so. 

It could be vanity. It could be some psychological resistance. Whatever the reasons, they are all surrendering to old-fashioned, stupid stereotypes. The vivid detail of the world that will come rushing back to you when you commit to wearing this small, slender, comfortable device behind your ear is quite literally transformative. The sooner you take decisive action to do so, the sooner you alleviate the threat of compounding consequences. 

Hearing Aids Do Come With Unique Maintenance Issues

As a general rule of thumb, hearing aids will need to be replaced about every five years. Hearing aids are an investment, but as it should have been made clear above, they are an investment in your overall quality of life. And given the delicate mechanics at play here, every five years is not bad. 

Hearing aid technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace. Older models become obsolete and might become tricky to service, so at times you may have no choice but to upgrade. Other times, simple wear and tear will take its toll as it does on all mechanical devices. The stress put on hearing aids is unique. Considering they are worn every waking hour of every day, it is no surprise that moisture will accrue over time and such moisture being in such proximity to such minute circuitry, the potential for damage is obvious. Also ear wax can build up on the hearing aids, diminishing their effectiveness. 

Given that everyone’s hearing loss is unique, every hearing aid is customized to suit your specific needs. If you are a ranger at a national dunes you obviously have different needs than a guide at an art museum. Our specialists will talk you through the expanse of customizable options to find the option just right for your needs and your budget, and teach you the simple cleaning and upkeep necessary to maximize your return on your investment.