From cameras to phones to music players, how we power our electronics has evolved. For years, people looking to address hearing loss have hoped for a similar progression, 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 among manufacturers, with size 312 batteries serving as one of the more common battery types. These days, the most prominent version of these batteries is known as a “zinc-air” battery.
The Downside to Disposable Hearing Aid Batteries
The presence of air effects a zinc-air battery, as the name implies. The user has to pull a little tab off the back of a 312 zinc-air battery in order to activate it.
As soon as it is fully oxygenated, it starts to lose power. So the power is depleting even if the user isn’t currently using it.
Most users consider the length of life to be the biggest disadvantage of disposable batteries. With 312 batteries, the user could be replacing the batteries in their hearing aids about 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 a week to replace them, and properly dispose of each. That’s probably over $100 in batteries from a cost perspective alone.
Rechargeable battery Advancements
Rechargeable hearing aid technology has progressed to the point where it’s now a viable solution and that’s good news for individuals who wear hearing aids.
Studies have shown that most people overwhelmingly prefer to use 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 last all day without needing a recharge.
Users won’t see significant cost benefits by switching to rechargeable batteries, but where they will see an obvious improvement is in quality of life.
These modern models give less aggravation on top of maintaining a 24 hour charge because the user doesn’t deal with the burden of constantly changing out the batteries. They just need to place the battery on the charger.
When a disposable battery nears the end of its life it won’t run your hearing aid at full capacity. And you can’t determine how near the battery is to quitting. So the batteries could die at the exact moment that a user needs them the most which could even put them in peril. A faulty battery will not only cause a safety hazard, it could cause the user to miss important life moments.
Types of Rechargeable Hearing Aid Batteries
Rechargeable batteries come in a number of different materials, each offering unique advantages. Integrated lithium-ion batteries are one option being used by manufacturers because of their ability to hold a 24-hour charge. And smart-phones are powered by this same type of battery which might be surprising.
Silver-zinc technology is another material used for modern rechargeable hearing aids. This innovative approach was initially manufactured for NASA’s Apollo moon missions. With this technology, even your existing hearing aids can most likely be upgraded to run on rechargeable power. Just like lithium-ion, silver-zinc can also supply enough power to last you for a full day.
Some models even let you recharge the battery without removing it. At night, or at some other time when the hearing aid is not being used, the whole hearing aid can be put right into the charger
While all of these rechargeable solutions provides substantial advantages over disposable batteries, each option should be properly vetted to get a complete picture and to identify if it’s best for you.
Take a look at 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.