(Unless, of course, you want to….)
We’ve heard from folks who’ve come to see us, after dealing with others in our area, that they were told they need to buy new hearing aids every three years. We suspect some car dealerships would love to have you believe that as well – but do you REALLY need to change or is it just a ruse to get another sale?
Well, probably, it’s a little of both. It all depends….
A car, reaching the six or seven-year mark, may be running quite well or it may be on the verge of heading to the scrap yard after a new starter, a balky transmission, etc. It likely depends a LOT on how well you take care of the car (regular oil changes, etc.) AND how much you drive. You might think about hearing aids the same way. Do you get regular checkups from your audiologist, change the wax filters when needed, and take care of them or do you man-handle them, drop them on hard surfaces, etc.? ALSO, has your hearing changed? As we get older, it does.
Now changes in hearing shouldn’t be that great a problem. Hopefully whoever sold you your hearing aids should have considered aids that would accommodate a reasonable change in your hearing level – and on one of your regular visits, you’d have mentioned this to the Audiologist so that adjustments could be made. If, though, you’re now undergoing radical medical treatment such as cancer therapy involving ototoxic drugs, your hearing will likely change rapidly – hopefully not enough to require a change in devices(s) right away.
On the other hand, new technology is coming out day by day. Back up cameras in cars used to be highly expensive and far to ‘techie’ for the average driver. Now, particularly for those who are older, they can really help prevent ‘mistakes’ in driving. As we get older too, these conveniences can add significantly to our welfare and enjoyment of life. Can you pick up your smartphone and change the volume on your hearing aid based on your surroundings? Wouldn’t you rather do it that way more discreetly than reaching up to your ear?
So, as we said: it depends.
One other factor: all manufacturers have a limited life during which they’ll provide ‘factory’ service. Again, it’s similar to a car. The older it gets, the less likely you can find original equipment parts.
In addition, while most of the mid- and high tier hearing aids have a three year manufacturer’s warranty, it’s again like a car: once you pass that warranty period, if there’s a major problem with your hearing aid (you stepped on it and crushed it to pieces, for example), it’s probably better in the long run to replace rather than repair.
Finally, it’s great to have something that your comfortable with – as long as its working at its best. However, don’t forget to think ahead and consider the benefits of ‘moving up’ every now and then. You’ll thank yourself, I’m sure!
(Note: Our Administrator who wrote this has driven a couple of Subarus into the ground and always got the ‘base model’. However, now that he’s gotten older and they’ve got all kinds of newer safety features baked in, it’s time to change both his attitude and his vehicle. Do yourself a favor and don’t just consider time/price: it’s the quality of your life that really matters.)