From cameras to phones to music players, how we power our electronics has advanced. For years, individuals looking to manage hearing loss have wished for a similar progression, and the industry is finally realizing the promise of a robust rechargeable hearing aid battery.
Disposable hearing aid batteries have traditionally been the power source of choice among manufacturers, with size 312 batteries serving as one of the more prevalent battery types. The most popular form of this battery, now, is “zinc-ion”.
Disposable Hearing Aids Have a Disadvantage
The presence of air effects a zinc-air battery, as the name implies. When it comes to the 312 batteries used in many hearing aids, the user is required to pull a little tab off the back of the battery before it is turned on and functional.
They will start draining power as soon as they are completely oxygenated. So the power is draining even if the user isn’t actively using it.
The biggest downside to disposable batteries, for the majority of users, is how short they last. Some reports have cited the standard life expectancy of a size 312 disposable battery to be between 3 and 12 days, which means users may need to switch out their batteries around 120 times every year.
That also means users may need to buy 120 batteries, spend the time twice every week to change them, and correctly dispose of each. That’s probably over $100 in batteries from a cost perspective alone.
Advancements in Rechargeable Batteries
Thankfully, for hearing aid wearers looking for another alternative, there have been profound developments to rechargeable hearing aids that now make them a practical option.
Studies have demonstrated that most individuals overwhelmingly prefer to wear rechargeable hearing aids. Until now these models have traditionally struggled to give a long enough charge to make them practical. However, modern innovations now enable a full day of use per charge.
Users won’t see substantial cost benefits by switching to rechargeable batteries, but where they will see an obvious improvement is in quality of life.
These new models give less frustration on top of keeping a 24 hour charge because the user doesn’t deal with the burden of constantly changing out the batteries. They simply need to put the battery on the charger.
When a disposable battery nears the end of its life it can’t run your hearing aid at full power. There’s also no real way to know how near to being inoperable the battery actually is. So the batteries could die at the precise moment that a user needs them the most which might even put them in danger. Not only is this a safety concern, but users may miss out on significant life moments because of a faulty battery.
Hearing Aids Come in Different Types
Rechargeable batteries come in various different materials, each offering unique advantages. Integrated lithium-ion batteries are one alternative being used by manufacturers because they can hold a charge for 24 hours. You might be surprised to learn that this same type of technology is what charges and powers your cellphone.
Another type of modern rechargeable battery is a silver-zinc. This innovative technology was originally developed for NASA’s Apollo moon missions. With this technology, even your current hearing aids can most likely be upgraded to run on rechargeable power. These batteries, similar to lithium-ion, will also last all day before requiring a recharge.
There are also models that allow you to recharge the hearing aid without taking out the battery. At night, or at some other time when the hearing aid is not in use, the entire hearing aid can be placed directly into the charger
Whichever solution you decide on, rechargeable batteries will be considerably better than disposable batteries. You just need to do some research to decide which solution is ideal for your needs.
If you’re searching for more information about hearing aid technology or how to select the best hearing aid to satisfy your needs, we encourage you to take a look at our hearing aids section.