Contemporary technology has changed the way we power electronics of all types, from radios to cameras to phones. For decades, people looking to address hearing loss have hoped for a similar advancement, and the industry is finally recognizing the promise of a robust rechargeable hearing aid battery.
Disposable hearing aid batteries have traditionally been the power source of choice among manufacturers, with size 312 batteries being one of the more common battery types. The most popular form of this battery, now, is “zinc-ion”.
The Downside to Disposable Hearing Aid Batteries
The presence of air impacts a zinc-air battery, as the name indicates. The user needs to pull a small tab off the back of a 312 zinc-air battery in order to activate it.
They will start losing power as soon as they are completely oxygenated. That means power is beginning to drain even if the user isn’t ready.
The biggest downside to disposable batteries, for most users, is how short they last. With 312 batteries, the user may be changing the batteries in their hearing aids around 120 times every year because they drain in 3 to 12 days according to some reports.
That also means users may need to buy 120 batteries, spend the time twice every week to replace them, and properly dispose of each. From a cost point of view alone, that likely means over $100 in battery costs.
Rechargeable battery Improvements
Luckily, for hearing aid wearers looking for another approach, there have been significant improvements to rechargeable hearing aids that now make them a practical choice.
Studies have demonstrated that most individuals overwhelmingly prefer to use rechargeable hearing aids. Previously, these models were not practical because they didn’t maintain a charge long enough. But today’s rechargeable batteries will last all day without requiring a recharge.
Users won’t see significant cost benefits by switching to rechargeable batteries, but where they will see a demonstrated improvement is in quality of life.
On top of supplying 24 hours of charge time, these contemporary models result in less frustration for the user, since there’s no more swapping and correctly disposing of batteries. Instead, they only need to pop out the battery and put them in a convenient tabletop charging unit.
A disposable battery approaching the end of its life simply can’t operate at full power. There’s also no exact way to know how near to being inoperable the battery actually is. So the batteries could die at the precise moment that a user needs them the most which could even put them in peril. Not only is this a safety concern, but users may miss significant life moments because of a dead battery.
Hearing Aids Come in Different Types
Rechargeable batteries come in various 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 provide. You might be surprised to know that this same type of technology is what charges and powers your smart-phone.
Another type of modern rechargeable battery is a silver-zinc. This revolutionary technology was initially developed for NASA’s Apollo moon missions. You can even use this technology to modify and retrofit the existing hearing aids you’re comfortable with by changing the device to rechargeable power. These batteries, similar to lithium-ion, will also last all day before requiring a recharge.
Some models even allow you to recharge the battery while it’s still in the hearing aid. For these, users will place the entire hearing aid into a charging station when they sleep or during another time when the device is not in use.
Whichever option you choose, rechargeable batteries will be significantly better than disposable batteries. You just need to do some research to determine which solution is ideal for your needs.
Take a look at 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.