From cameras to phones to music players, how we power our electronics has evolved. For decades, people looking to manage hearing loss have wished for a similar advancement, and the industry is finally recognizing the promise of a robust rechargeable hearing aid battery.
Size 312 batteries are the most prevalent of the disposable batteries that have traditionally been used to power hearing aids. The most prominent form of this battery, now, is “zinc-ion”.
The Drawback to Disposable Hearing Aid Batteries
As the name would indicate, a zinc-air battery is impacted by the presence of air. In the case of the 312 batteries used in a lot of hearing aids, the user needs to pull a small tab off the back of the battery before it’s activated and operational.
They will begin losing power as soon as they are fully oxygenated. So the power is depleting even if the user isn’t actively using it.
The biggest disadvantage to disposable batteries, for most users, is how short they last. With 312 batteries, the user might be replacing the batteries in their hearing aids about 120 times per 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 change them, and correctly dispose of each. From a cost point of view alone, that likely equates to over $100 in battery costs.
Advancements in Rechargeable Batteries
Thankfully, for hearing aid wearers looking for another alternative, there have been profound advancements to rechargeable hearing aids that now make them a practical solution.
Studies have revealed that most individuals overwhelmingly prefer to wear rechargeable hearing aids. Previously, these models were impractical because they didn’t keep a charge long enough. However, modern innovations now facilitate a full day of use per charge.
Users won’t see significant cost savings by switching to rechargeable batteries, but where they will see a demonstrated 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 constantly changing out the batteries. Instead, they just need to pop out the battery and place them in a convenient tabletop charger.
When a disposable battery gets near the end of its life it won’t run your hearing aid at full power. And you can’t tell how close the battery is to quitting. Consequently, users chance putting themselves in a position where their battery might die at a critical time. Not only is this a safety concern, but users may miss out on significant life moments due to a dead battery.
Types of Rechargeable Hearing Aid Batteries
Rechargeable batteries come in a variety of different materials, each offering distinct 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 may be surprising.
Silver-zinc technology is another material used for today’s rechargeable hearing aids. Originally, these innovative batteries were manufactured for Nasa’s moon missions. With this technology, even your current hearing aids can probably be updated to run on rechargeable batteries. These batteries, like lithium-ion, will also last all day before needing to be recharged.
Some models even let you recharge the battery without removing it. During the night, or at some other time when the hearing aid isn’t being used, the entire hearing aid can be placed directly into the charger
Whichever solution you choose, rechargeable batteries will be significantly better than disposable batteries. You just have to do some research to determine which solution is best for your needs.
If you’re searching for more information about hearing aid technology or how to select the best hearing aid to meet your needs, we encourage you to look at our hearing aids section.