From cameras to phones to music players, how we power our electronics has advanced. For years, those looking to address hearing loss have hoped for a similar advancement, and the industry is finally realizing the promise of a powerful rechargeable hearing aid battery.
Disposable hearing aid batteries have traditionally been the power source of choice amongst manufacturers, with size 312 batteries being one of the more common battery types. The most popular form of this battery, now, is “zinc-ion”.
The Drawback to Disposable Hearing Aid Batteries
As the name would suggest, a zinc-air battery is affected by the presence of air. Regarding the 312 batteries used in a lot of hearing aids, the user needs 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 currently using it.
Most users consider the length of life to be the most significant drawback of disposable batteries. With 312 batteries, the user may be changing the batteries in their hearing aids around 120 times per year because they drain 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 twice every week. That’s probably over $100 in batteries from a cost perspective alone.
Rechargeable battery Improvements
Fortunately, for hearing aid wearers looking for another alternative, there have been profound improvements to rechargeable hearing aids that now make them a practical solution.
Studies have shown that most individuals overwhelmingly prefer to use rechargeable hearing aids. In the past, these models were impractical because they didn’t hold a charge long enough. But modern rechargeable batteries will hold a charge all day without requiring a recharge.
Rechargeable batteries won’t save users substantial amounts of money, but they will improve their quality of life.
In addition to providing 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 take out the battery and put them in a convenient tabletop charging unit.
A disposable battery approaching the end of its life simply can’t operate at full power. And you can’t determine how close the battery is to failing. Because of this, users risk putting themselves in a position where their battery could die at a critical time. A faulty battery will not only result in a safety hazard, it could cause the user to miss key life moments.
Types of Rechargeable Hearing Aid Batteries
Rechargeable batteries come in a variety of different materials, each providing distinct advantages. 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 learn that this same kind of technology is what charges and powers your cellphone.
Another type of contemporary rechargeable battery is a silver-zinc. This innovative approach was originally developed for NASA’s Apollo missions to the moon. With this technology, even your existing hearing aids can probably be updated to run on rechargeable power. These batteries, similar to lithium-ion, will also last all day before needing to be recharged.
Some models even let you recharge the battery without removing it. At night, or at some other time when the hearing aid isn’t being used, the whole hearing aid can be placed right into the charger
While each of these rechargeable solutions provides significant benefits over disposable batteries, each approach should be properly vetted to get a complete picture and to see if it’s right for you.
Take a look at our hearing aid section if you’re looking for more information about what battery would be the right choice for you or any other info about hearing aids.