Changes occuring in selected optical properties of CW (AlGa)As double-heterostructure junction lasers during the initial stage of accelerated aging are reported. The characteristics selected for investigation are relevant to the operation of the laser in an optical communication system and include the current dependence of the lasing emission and the orthogonally polarized (nonlasing) emission, the symmetry of the emission with respect to the two output faces, the time stability of the light intensity, and the frequency of the internal laser resonance. In spite of the variability among the aging behaviors of individual lasers, characteristic changes did emerge as statistically significant. For example, a substantial decrease in the emission symmetry was commonly observed. A second important effect was the creation of a self-induced intensity pulsation, at a frequency typically between 300 and 600 MHz, in lasers which initially exhibited no intensity modulation. A statistical analysis of the data was made to correlate these instabilities with asymmetries in the lasing or nonlasing emission and/or changes in the emission symmetry. No evidence was found to support previously published conjectures that the pulsations are caused by the formation of dark-line defects or by axial nonuniformities in the pumping current.