From cameras to phones to music players, how we power our electronics has advanced. A robust, rechargeable hearing aid battery is finally realizing the hopes of hearing aid manufactures to replace the outdated disposable power sources of the past.
Disposable hearing aid batteries have historically been the power source of choice among manufacturers, with size 312 batteries being one of the more prevalent battery types. The most popular form of this battery, now, is “zinc-ion”.
Disposable Hearing Aids Have a Disadvantage
As the name would suggest, a zinc-air battery is affected by the presence of air. In the case of the 312 batteries used in many hearing aids, the user needs to pull a small tab off the back of the battery before it’s turned on and functional.
They will start losing power the moment they are completely oxygenated. So the power is draining even if the user isn’t actively using it.
The biggest drawback to disposable batteries, for the majority of users, is how long they last. Some reports have cited the standard life expectancy of a size 312 disposable battery to be from 3 and 12 days, which means users may need to replace their batteries about 120 times every year.
Because of this, besides having to buy 120 batteries, the user will have to switch and properly dispose of batteries at least two times every week. That’s most likely over $100 in batteries from a cost perspective alone.
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.
The vast majority of individuals would use rechargeable hearing aids if given an alternative according to some research. Previously, these models were impractical because they didn’t hold a charge long enough. However, modern advancements now allow an entire day of use per charge.
Rechargeable batteries won’t save users significant amounts of money, but they will make quality of life better.
These modern models provide less aggravation on top of maintaining a 24 hour charge because the user doesn’t have the burden of continuously swapping out the batteries. They just need to put the battery on the charger.
When a disposable battery nears the end of its life it doesn’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. Not only is this a safety concern, but users could miss important life moments due to a faulty battery.
Types of Rechargeable Hearing Aid Batteries
Rechargeable batteries come in a number of different materials, each providing unique advantages. Integrated lithium-ion batteries are one alternative being used by manufacturers because they can hold a charge for 24 hours. And cellphones are powered by this same type of battery which might be surprising.
Another type of contemporary rechargeable battery is a silver-zinc. Initially, these revolutionary batteries were manufactured for Nasa’s moon missions. You can even use this technology to update and retrofit the existing hearing aids you’re comfortable with by changing the device to rechargeable power. Just like lithium-ion, silver-zinc can also provide enough power to last you for a full day.
There are also models that allow you to recharge the hearing aid without removing the battery at all. For these, users will slip the entire hearing aid on a charging station when they sleep or during another time when the device is not in use.
While each of these rechargeable solutions provides considerable benefits over disposable batteries, each option should be carefully vetted to get a complete picture and to identify if it’s right 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.