Contemporary technology has evolved the way we power electronics of every kind, from cameras to phones to music players. For years, people looking to address 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 being one of the more prevalent battery types. Nowadays, the most prominent version of these batteries is known as a “zinc-air” battery.
Disposable Hearing Aids Have a Downside
As the name would indicate, a zinc-air battery is affected by the presence of air. When it comes to the 312 batteries used in many hearing aids, the user is required to pull a little tab off the back of the battery before it’s turned on and operational.
They will begin draining power the moment they are fully oxygenated. So the power is draining even if the user isn’t actively using it.
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 about 120 times every year because they drain in 3 to 12 days according to some reports.
Because of this, besides having to buy 120 batteries, the user will need to change and properly dispose of batteries at least two times every week. That’s probably over $100 in batteries from a cost perspective alone.
Advancements in Rechargeable Batteries
Rechargeable hearing aid technology has advanced to the point where it’s now a practical option and that’s great news for people who wear hearing aids.
Studies have revealed that most people overwhelmingly prefer to use rechargeable hearing aids. In the past, these models were impractical because they didn’t maintain a charge long enough. But modern rechargeable batteries will last all day without needing a recharge.
Users won’t see significant cost benefits by changing to rechargeable batteries, but where they will see an obvious improvement is in quality of life.
These modern models provide less aggravation on top of keeping a 24 hour charge because the user doesn’t have the burden of continuously 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 capacity. There’s also no exact way to identify how close to being inoperable the battery actually is. So the batteries might 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 hazard, but users could miss out on important life moments because of a faulty battery.
Hearing Aids Come in Different Types
There are distinct advantages to each of the different materials that rechargeable batteries are made of. Integrated lithium-ion batteries are one alternative being used by manufacturers because of their ability to hold a 24-hour charge. You might be surprised to know that this same kind of technology is what charges and powers your cellphone.
Another kind of contemporary rechargeable battery is a silver-zinc. This innovative technology was initially manufactured for NASA’s Apollo missions to the moon. With this technology, even your existing hearing aids can probably be upgraded to run on rechargeable batteries. These batteries, like lithium-ion, will also last all day before requiring a recharge.
Some models even allow you to recharge the battery without removing it. For these, users will place the entire hearing aid into a charging station when they sleep or during another time when the hearing aid isn’t in use.
While each of these rechargeable solutions offers substantial advantages over disposable batteries, each approach should be carefully vetted to get a complete picture and to see if it’s best for you.
Check out our hearing aid section if you’re searching for more information about what battery would be best for you or any other info about hearing aids.