Why Do Hearing Aids Break?

two hearing aid models on display in audiologist clinic

Just like every other device out there hearing aids can become weak, faulty, break down and completely stop working. For such a small compact device, the lifespan of a hearing aid is surprisingly impressive. The average hearing aid already lasts between three and seven years, with some of these devices lasting even longer – usually depends on the habits and the maintenance routines of the user. 

If you have just gotten your hearing aid or are wondering how quickly your hearing aid might go bad, then this article should show you everything you need to know.

Wear and Tear from Prolonged Use

Remember that the hearing aid is something that most users probably wear all day every day for a long time. These devices are working almost 24/7. So, it makes sense that over time, the performance will drastically reduce. 

The reality is even if you are very meticulous with your maintenance routines and clean them frequently, the device will break or pack up because of wear and tear. So, we often recommend that individuals who use hearing aids prepare to have them changed after a minimum of five years.

Exposure to Moisture

No matter how careful you are with protecting your hearing aid, chances are that with time, moisture will build up in the device. This moisture buildup can lead to electrical malfunctions in the device causing it to fail more frequently and eventually break down. 

It’s just the natural order of things. People naturally assume that because they are taking good care of their hearing devices, that there is every likelihood the device will last for a really long time. And most of them do.

Frequent Contact with Earwax

Although earwax has natural protective properties, the truth is it can affect your hearing aid’s effectiveness. In fact, the buildup of earwax is one of the biggest reasons for hearing aid repairs. When earwax buildup affects your hearing aid, you will notice that the device may become distorted, have weak feedback or be non-functional. The easiest way to prevent this or slow it down is by frequently cleaning your ear and the hearing aid. 

Most of the time, your audiologist will provide you with cleaning kits for your hearing aid. Most cleaning kits come with brushes and picks to remove earwax. They also contain vent and tube cleaner as well as a battery door opener and magnets. 

Use this to clean the device frequently. Also, many hearing aids already have inbuilt wax protectors like wax guards and filters. You can easily remove these parts of the device and replace them yourself when necessary.

Device Obsolescence

Another common reason why hearing aids break is old age, plain and simple. Over time, devices become obsolete and are replaced with newer technologies. Once the support for these technologies wanes or becomes nonexistent, it is natural that the devices will stop working. 

For instance, new hearing aids come with noise-canceling and programmable features, as well as sound amplification features. Older devices don’t have these. So, just have it at the back of your mind that you may need to replace your old hearing aid with a newer model after a while.