Do you have old hearing aids lying around? Perhaps you replaced them with new technology, or perhaps they belonged to a loved one who passed away. Hearing aids are often fairly costly, and it can feel like a real waste to let them lie unused or just throw them away. Did you ever wonder what to do with old hearing aids?

Keep them as a spare

If the hearing aids were yours, are still functioning, and still suit your hearing, you may choose to keep them as a backup set in case something happens to your new instruments. While most practices are able to supply a loan unit if you have to send yours in, many people prefer to keep their previous aids as they are more comfortable with them. If you decide to keep and store your hearing aids, make sure to remove the batteries and give them a good clean before packing them away safely. You may choose to have your old units serviced before they become obsolete. This will mean that when you store them they are in the best possible condition, ready to go should you need them.

Donate them

If you don’t have use for the hearing aids, or they didn’t belong to you, they might be able to be passed on to someone who could use them. However, they will need to be checked, serviced, and fitted and programmed to their ears and hearing. Sometimes people donate the hearing aids to someone they know, which can sometimes work but unfortunately, often these units are not suitable for that individual. The best way to increase the chances of the instruments going to the right person is to drop them off at your local audiologist, who will keep an eye out for a suitable recipient. At our practice, we keep a database of donated hearing aids. When we come across people and projects who cannot afford to purchase new hearing aids, it’s really lovely to be able to assist them with donated units.

If they can’t be used

If a hearing aid is too old, isn’t working, or was custom-made for an individual’s ear, they can’t be given to someone to wear. However, even these old hearing aids can be used. Some of these units can be passed on to Universities for students to learn from, and others can be used for parts to repair other older aids. Take these hearing aids to your audiologist too, and they will be able to direct them to the right place.

Can I sell my old hearing aids?

In South Africa, only healthcare professionals registered with the Health Professional Council of South Africa, specifically Audiologists and Hearing Aid Acousticians, may sell hearing aids. Whether new or second-hand, you may not legally sell a hearing instrument yourself. Audiologists are also not ethically permitted to participate in the sale of second-hand hearing aids, because of their classification as medical devices. In addition, if the hearing instruments were paid for, even in part, by the patient’s medical aid or insurance, reselling them is considered by some to be insurance fraud. For this reason, the sale of second-hand hearing aids is strongly advised against from both a legal and ethical perspective.

If you decide to donate your old hearing aid, know that it will be highly valued by whoever receives it. Whether it’s an individual who cannot afford their own hearing instruments, a university student learning to troubleshoot and handle hearing aids, or a person with an older aid in need of a specific part, the unit will be deeply appreciated. If you’d like to find out more about donating old hearing aids, contact us, or comment below.