We are often asked about what to do with unwanted, old hearing aids. This query arises more than you might expect for a variety of reasons. The hearing aid may have belonged to a relative who does not need it, or it could be yours and has been replaced by a better one or by a cochlear implant.

If the hearing aid was yours, the first option to consider it to keep it as a back up or a spare. If you lose or damage your new hearing aid and are without it for a period of time, you can revert back to your old one temporarily. This is not a bad idea, in the same way that keeping your old pair of glasses as a backup is a good idea when you get a new pair.

You could consider selling the hearing aid on Craig’s List or eBay, especially if it was originally expensive and it is still in good working order. But first, make sure it is legal to sell used hearing aids in your state. Not all of them allow it. When creating your ad, list all of the information you would want to know if you were buying a used hearing aid: the model and manufacturer of the unit, its condition and age, whether it is still under warranty, and why you are selling it. To set a price, look up ads for similar hearing ads, and base your price on the range you find there; it is unlikely you’ll get what you originally paid for the unit.

But if you can afford it, one of the best options for disposing of an old hearing aid is to give it to someone who needs one. Many people who need hearing aids cannot afford them, and there are organizations that collect old hearing aids and distribute them to people who need them. U.S. organizations that collect hearing aids and give them to people who need them include Lions Clubs International, Hear Now by the Starkey Foundation, and Sertoma. Another organization called Worldwide Hearing also collects used hearing aids for redistribution in developing nations where the people need them but cannot afford them.