From phones to cameras to music players, how we power our electronics has progressed. 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 common battery types. Nowadays, the most popular version of these batteries is generally known as a “zinc-air” battery.
The Downside to Disposable Hearing Aid Batteries
As the name would imply, a zinc-air battery is impacted by the presence of air. The user has to pull a little tab off the back of a 312 zinc-air battery to activate it.
They will start draining power the moment they are fully oxygenated. So the power is draining even if the user isn’t actively using it.
The biggest disadvantage to disposable batteries, for the majority of users, is how long they last. With 312 batteries, the user could be replacing the batteries in their hearing aids about 120 times every year because they die in 3 to 12 days according to some reports.
Because of this, besides needing to buy 120 batteries, the user will have to switch and properly dispose of batteries at least two times every week. That’s probably over $100 in batteries from a cost perspective alone.
Improvements in Rechargeable Batteries
Fortunately, for hearing aid users looking for another alternative, there have been significant improvements to rechargeable hearing aids that now make them a viable solution.
Studies have shown that most people overwhelmingly prefer to wear rechargeable hearing aids. Until recently these models have traditionally struggled to supply a long enough charge to make them practical. But today’s rechargeable batteries will last all day without requiring a recharge.
Rechargeable batteries won’t save users significant amounts of money, but they will make quality of life better.
In addition to supplying 24 hours of charge time, these contemporary models result in less aggravation for the user, since there’s no more swapping and correctly disposing of batteries. Instead, they just need to pop out the battery and put them in a convenient tabletop charging unit.
When a disposable battery nears the end of its life it can’t run your hearing aid at full power. And you can’t tell how close the battery is to failing. Consequently, users risk putting themselves in a situation where their battery may die at a critical time. Not only is this a safety concern, but users could miss significant life moments due to a faulty battery.
Hearing Aids Come in Different Types
There are unique 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. 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. This revolutionary technology was originally manufactured 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. Just like lithium-ion, silver-zinc can also provide enough power to last you for a full day.
Some models even let you recharge the battery without removing it. For these, users will place the entire hearing aid on a charging station when they sleep or at another time when the device isn’t in use.
Whichever solution you choose, rechargeable batteries will be significantly better than disposable batteries. You just need to do some research to determine which option is best for your needs.
If you’re searching for more information about hearing aid technology or how to pick the ideal hearing aid to meet your needs, we encourage you to take a look at our hearing aids section.