When to Upgrade Your Hearing Aids
It’s rare that a hearing aid will still be functioning at peak levels after about five years of use, and most warranties don’t cover repairs or replacements after four years.
While follow-up visits with your hearing care professional to have your hearing aids adjusted can extend their lifespan, rapidly advancing technology means that the features of your hearing aids will already be obsolete by the time the electronics begin to malfunction. For this reason, it’s good to know the warning signs of a failing device so you don’t ever have to spend a day without the best hearing modification available.
Changes in hearing and lifestyle are enough to warrant an upgrade. Starting a new job means readjusting to an office with audio and communication equipment that’s different from what you’re used to. Moving to a new location, such as a city where the environmental sounds are louder, could also affect your hearing requirements.
If you’re wondering if it’s time for a new pair or if you’re intrigued by all the features today’s smart hearing aids have to offer, complete the following form before your next appointment with a hearing care professional. It is possible that they will not suggest the same brand or model of hearing aids the second time around, as listening preferences and needs tend to change over time.
Hearing Aid Upgrade Form
1. I’ve had my current hearing aids for:
- One-three years
- Three-five years
- Five-seven years
- More than seven years
2. My hearing aids are working:
- Mostly well, but occasionally need servicing
- Alright, but need repairs more often than in the past
- Not well, they need repairs regularly
3. True or False: My hearing aids have Bluetooth® or wireless connectivity that allows me to stream audio from my smartphone, tablet, or other device.
4. I’ve sent my hearing aids in for repairs:
- Three or more times
5. How often do you clean your hearing aids?
- Every day
- Every other day
- Every week
- Every month
6. How often do you raise the volume on your hearing aids?
- Much more than I used to
- A bit more than I used to
- The same as I always have
- A bit less than I used to
- Much less than I used to
7. My budget for a new set of hearing aids is:
- Higher than what I paid the first time
- The same as what I paid the first time
- Less than what I paid the first time
8. I can hear _______ with my current hearing aids:
- Extremely well
- Pretty well
- Not as well as I used to
9. My hearing needs at work have changed
10. My hearing needs at home/socially have changed
11. My current hearing aids allow me to (check all that apply):
- Hear and keep up with conversations easily in crowded and noisy environments
- Listen to audio clearly from TVs, smartphones, and other devices
- Hear well in windy situations, such as while walking
- Help me hear well even though I have little-to-no hearing in one of my ears
- Enjoy music in all its fullness and clarity
- Maintain the level of discretion I want while wearing them and while adjusting my program or volume
- Hold telephone conversations with ease
It may help to write down the ways in which your hearing needs have changed since your last fitting before speaking with a professional. This way, you can arrive confident that you know which features you want and ask questions about how your new hearing aids will match your lifestyle.
If it’s been awhile since your last audiology exam, you may be anxious upon finding out how your condition has changed. Hearing loss worsens with age, so don’t be alarmed if the results of your audiogram are more severe than you had anticipated. Fortunately, with the right adjustments and advice, your hearing care professional can make it so that you won’t even notice any additional hearing loss you may have developed since you purchased your original hearing aids.
Try before you buy
If you’re still on the fence about whether to stick with your current hearing aids, remember that most hearing care professionals will be happy to let you try out the latest technology during a trial period to help you determine whether an upgrade is in order. At the very least, talk to your hearing care professional about having your hearing tested if it’s been more than a year since your last exam.