From cameras to phones to music players, how we power our electronics has evolved. A powerful, rechargeable hearing aid battery is finally living up to the hopes of hearing aid manufactures to replace the outdated disposable power sources of the past.
Size 312 batteries are the most prevalent of the disposable batteries that have typically 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 impacts a zinc-air battery, as the name suggests. The user has to pull a little tab off the back of a 312 zinc-air battery to activate it.
The moment it is fully oxygenated, it starts to lose power. So the power is depleting even if the user isn’t actively using it.
The biggest drawback to disposable batteries, for the majority of users, is how long they last. Some reports have cited the standard life expectancy of a size 312 disposable battery to be from 3 and 12 days, which means users could switch out their batteries about 120 times per year.
Because of this, besides having to buy 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 perspective alone.
Advancements in Rechargeable Batteries
Rechargeable hearing aid technology has progressed to the point where it’s now a practical solution and that’s great news for individuals who wear hearing aids.
The vast number of people would wear rechargeable hearing aids if given a choice according to some research. Until recently these models have historically struggled to provide a long enough charge to make them practical. But today’s rechargeable batteries will last all day without requiring a recharge.
Users won’t see significant cost savings by changing to rechargeable batteries, but where they will see a demonstrated improvement is in quality of life.
These new models give less aggravation on top of maintaining a 24 hour charge because the user doesn’t have the burden of continuously changing out the batteries. They just need to put the battery on the charger.
When a disposable battery nears the end of its life it doesn’t run your hearing aid at full capacity. And you can’t tell how close the battery is to failing. As a result, users risk putting themselves in a situation where their battery might die at a critical time. Not only is this a safety concern, but users could miss out on important life moments due to a dead battery.
Types of Rechargeable Hearing Aid Batteries
Rechargeable batteries come in numerous 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. You may be surprised to know that this same type of technology is what charges and powers your smart-phone.
Silver-zinc technology is another material used for today’s rechargeable hearing aids. Initially, these innovative batteries were developed for Nasa’s moon missions. With this technology, even your existing hearing aids can probably be updated to run on rechargeable power. Just like lithium-ion, silver-zinc can also produce enough power to last you all day.
Some models even let you recharge the battery while it’s still in the hearing aid. For these, users will place the entire hearing aid on a charging station when they sleep or during another time when the device isn’t in use.
Whichever option you choose, rechargeable batteries will be substantially better than disposable batteries. You just need to do some research to determine which option is best for your needs.
Check out our hearing aid section if you’re searching for more information about what battery would be best for you or any other info about hearing aids.