Our concept of age depends on the object of our attention. For example, the average ant lives to be about 45-60 days. The average fly lives about 15-30 days. The average albatross lives between 42-50 years.
Electronics must be viewed differently however. They cannot eat something and become more energetic. There is the total lifespan of the device coupled with the power required to maintain the function it was designed for. A television is expected to last about 10 years, but will not work if it is not plugged in. The average car battery will only be useful for 5-7 years. A watch battery can vary from 1 to 6 years.
With our daily electronics, we take advantage of all types of batteries. How long can you go before you need to recharge your cell phone? Now imagine you used the phone continuously. How about the electronic tablets? Technology is wonderful, but must be constantly powered. Batteries for these devices last only a matter of hours before we need to find an alternate power source. With the electronics we depend on, it is critical to know how long we can expect to use them. This is even more true when those electronics begin to age. Highly sensitive and detailed instruments are classic examples of those devices for which we need to know the total life of the device and its power consumption.
A hearing aid is an example of such a device.
Hearing aids can use both disposable and rechargeable batteries. The cost effectiveness and convenience will vary greatly. The predicted number of hours for each battery will be hearing aid, and person, specific.
Also: the ear is small. Therefore the hearing aid must be small. The battery must then be even smaller.
As with any battery driven electronic device, hearing aids last much longer than their power source. The average hearing aid lifespan will vary significantly due to the amount of care provided to it. Accidents can and do happen. When it comes to hearing aids, seven years may not appear to be a very long time, but the device is considered ANCIENT by that time. The average person is expected to replace a hearing aid every 3-5 years.
There are several reasons for this:
- Some people do not like to have a hearing aid without a warranty.
- Paying to repair older technology is a poor investment (typically being more expensive with age).
- Repairs of older aids are not as reliable as newer ones.
- Warranties for older aids are shorter and cover much less.
- Parts replaced on older hearing aids may come from other older, and sometimes used, hearing aids.
What it really comes down to is the following:
- The hearing aid likely can be repaired for many years.
- A hearing aid was not designed to last a human lifetime.
- A hearing aid can continue to perform very well, and last much longer than the average, by giving it proper care.
- Although a single repair is less expensive than a new hearing aid, it may end up costing much more over a short period of time.
So if you love the hearing aids you have, and aren't sure where you want to invest your time and money, please be sure to discuss with your audiologist the costs and benefits of all the options available. It does not have to be new, but it would sure be convenient if it was reliable.