Modern technology has changed the way we power electronics of every kind, from radios to cameras to phones. For decades, individuals looking to manage hearing loss have hoped for a similar advancement, and the industry is finally recognizing the promise of a powerful rechargeable hearing aid battery.
Disposable hearing aid batteries have historically been the power source of choice amongst manufacturers, with size 312 batteries serving as one of the more prevalent battery types. The most prominent form of this battery, now, is “zinc-ion”.
Disposable Hearing Aids Have a Disadvantage
The presence of air impacts a zinc-air battery, as the name suggests. In the case of the 312 batteries used in a lot of hearing aids, the user is required to pull a little tab off the back of the battery before it’s turned on and functional.
They will begin losing power as soon as they are fully oxygenated. That means power is start to drain even if the user isn’t ready.
The biggest drawback to disposable batteries, for most users, is how long they last. Some reports have cited the average life expectancy of a size 312 disposable battery to be from 3 and 12 days, which means users may have to switch out their batteries around 120 times every year.
Because of this, besides having to buy 120 batteries, the user will have to change and properly dispose of batteries at least two times every week. From a cost perspective alone, that likely means over $100 in battery purchases.
Rechargeable battery Improvements
Rechargeable hearing aid technology has advanced to the point where it’s now a viable option and that’s great news for people who use hearing aids.
Studies have shown that most people overwhelmingly prefer to wear rechargeable hearing aids. Until recently these models have traditionally struggled to give a long enough charge to make them practical. But modern rechargeable batteries will hold a charge all day without requiring a recharge.
Users won’t see substantial cost savings by switching to rechargeable batteries, but where they will see an obvious improvement is in quality of life.
These new models give less aggravation on top of maintaining a 24 hour charge because the user doesn’t have the burden of constantly changing out the batteries. They simply need to place the battery on the charger.
When a disposable battery gets near the end of its life it doesn’t run your hearing aid at full power. And you can’t determine how close the battery is to quitting. Consequently, users chance putting themselves in a situation where their battery may die at a crucial time. Not only is this a safety hazard, but users may miss out on important life moments due to a dead battery.
Hearing Aids Come in Different Types
Rechargeable batteries come in a number of different materials, each providing distinct advantages. The ability to maintain a charge for 24 hours is one reason why integrated lithium-ion batteries are one viable option that manufacturers supply. You might be surprised to know that this same kind of technology is what charges and powers your smart-phone.
Silver-zinc technology is another material used for modern rechargeable hearing aids. Originally, these revolutionary batteries were developed for Nasa’s moon missions. You can even use this technology to modify and retrofit the existing hearing aids you’re comfortable with by converting the device to rechargeable power. These batteries, like lithium-ion, will also last all day before needing to be recharged.
There are also models that allow you to recharge the hearing aid without removing the battery at all. At night, or at some other time when the hearing aid is not being used, the entire hearing aid can be put directly into the charger
While all of these rechargeable solutions offers significant advantages over disposable batteries, each option should be carefully vetted to get a complete picture and to identify if it’s best for you.
Check out our hearing aid section if you’re looking for more information about what battery would be the right choice for you or any other info about hearing aids.