“Should I replace or repair an older hearing aid?” is among the more common questions we are asked. The truthful answer needs to be, “It depends.” Choosing between replace or repair does not have a one perfect answer. It really depends upon the situation and the tastes of the individual asking the question.

The first thing to take into account is that all hearing aids – irrespective of how high-end they were or how well they were made – will occasionally begin to perform less well, or fail. They operate, after all, in an atmosphere (your ear canals) that is inhospitable to them because it contains moisture and ear wax. Ear wax is natural and essential because it safeguards the delicate lining of the outer ear, but it can be hard on hearing aids; water that is left in the ears after showering or swimming can be even tougher on them. Additionally, there is always the possibility of breakage from an accident or dropping the hearing aids, and the internal tubing and other components inevitably break down over time, so after a few years you can expect your aids needing repair or replacement.

Likely the major factor you should think about when making the “repair or replace” decision is how you feel about your current hearing aids – do you like them, and the sound quality they deliver? If you like them and are accustomed to the sound that they generate or really like how they fit, repair may be the better option for you.

Cost is obviously another major consideration. While new hearing aids may cost thousands of dollars, repairing your existing hearing aids may be possible for a few hundred. Balancing this, however, many people have insurance that will fully or partly cover the cost of new hearing aids, but that won’t pay for repairing them.

If you choose to pursue a repair, the next normal question is “Should I return them to where I purchased them?”While online advertisers will try to position your hometown hearing professional as just a middle-man, that’s not accurate. There are several benefits of staying nearby. Your local audiologist will be able to establish if repairs are genuinely necessary, may be able to make minor repairs on their own, or have relationships with local tradesmen that work on your brand of hearing aid so you will reduce the length of time you are without it.For hearing aids which do need lab or manufacturer repairs, the clinic will coordinate all the paperwork for you. Don’t assume the price will be higher for these value-added services, because hearing professionals work with repair labs in larger volumes.

More options are open to those who decide to replace their existing hearing aids. You’ll want to be open to new styles and technology understanding that anything different takes getting accustomed to. Newer hearing aids are more compact and provide superior programability to obtain the sound quality you prefer. So the decision whether to “replace or repair” is still yours, but hopefully this advice will assist you.