From phones to cameras to music players, how we power our electronics has progressed. For years, those 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 common of the disposable batteries that have traditionally been used to power hearing aids. The most popular form of this battery, now, is “zinc-ion”.
The Drawback to Disposable Hearing Aid Batteries
The presence of air effects a zinc-air battery, as the name indicates. 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’s activated and functional.
They will begin draining power as soon as they are completely oxygenated. So the power is depleting even if the user isn’t actively using it.
The biggest disadvantage to disposable batteries, for the majority of users, is how short they last. Some reports have estimated the standard life expectancy of a size 312 disposable battery to be between 3 and 12 days, which means users may have to switch out their batteries around 120 times every year.
Because of this, besides needing to purchase 120 batteries, the user will need to change and properly dispose of batteries at least twice every week. That’s most likely over $100 in batteries from a cost outlook alone.
Rechargeable battery Improvements
Luckily, for hearing aid users in search of another approach, there have been significant advancements to rechargeable hearing aids that now make them a viable solution.
The vast majority of individuals would use rechargeable hearing aids if given a choice according to some studies. Until recently these models have traditionally struggled to provide a long enough charge to make them worthwhile. But modern rechargeable batteries will hold a charge all day without requiring a recharge.
Users won’t see significant cost benefits by switching to rechargeable batteries, but where they will see an obvious improvement is in quality of life.
These modern models give less aggravation on top of maintaining a 24 hour charge because the user doesn’t deal with the burden of constantly changing out the batteries. They just need to place the battery on the charger.
When a disposable battery nears the end of its life it doesn’t run your hearing aid at full power. And you can’t determine how near the battery is to quitting. So the batteries could die at the precise moment that a user needs them the most which might even put them in danger. 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 numerous different materials, each offering distinct advantages. The ability to hold a charge for 24 hours is one reason why integrated lithium-ion batteries are one viable option that manufacturers supply. You might be surprised to know that this same type of technology is what charges and powers your cellphone.
Another kind of modern rechargeable battery is a silver-zinc. Originally, these innovative batteries were developed for Nasa’s moon missions. With this technology, even your current hearing aids can probably be updated to run on 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. At night, or at some other time when the hearing aid isn’t being used, the entire hearing aid can be put right into the charger
While each of these rechargeable strategies provides significant advantages over disposable batteries, each approach should be properly vetted to get a complete picture and to discover 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.