Modern technology has changed the way we power electronics of every type, from cameras to phones to music players. For decades, people looking to address hearing loss have hoped 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 amongst manufacturers, with size 312 batteries serving as one of the more prevalent battery types. Today, the most prominent version of these batteries is generally known as a “zinc-air” battery.
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 many hearing aids, the user needs to pull a little tab off the back of the battery before it’s activated and functional.
As soon as it is fully oxygenated, it begins to lose power. That means power is beginning to deplete whether the user is ready for it or not.
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 replace their batteries around 120 times every year.
Because of this, besides having to purchase 120 batteries, the user will have to switch and correctly dispose of batteries at least two times a week. From a cost point of view alone, that likely equals more than $100 in battery purchases.
Advancements in Rechargeable Batteries
Luckily, for hearing aid users in search of another approach, there have been profound improvements to rechargeable hearing aids that now make them a feasible solution.
The vast number of individuals would wear rechargeable hearing aids if given an option according to various research. In the past, these models were not practical because they didn’t maintain a charge long enough. But today’s rechargeable batteries will last all day without requiring a recharge.
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 modern models give less frustration on top of keeping a 24 hour charge because the user doesn’t have the burden of continuously swapping out the batteries. They simply 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. There’s also no exact way to know how close to being inoperable the battery really is. Because of this, users chance putting themselves in a position where their battery might die at a critical time. A dead battery will not only result in a safety concern, it could cause the user to miss key life moments.
Hearing Aids Come in Different Types
Rechargeable batteries come in numerous different materials, each offering distinct advantages. Integrated lithium-ion batteries are one option being used by manufacturers because they can hold a charge for 24 hours. You may be surprised to know that this same kind of technology is what charges and powers your smart-phone.
Silver-zinc technology is another material used for today’s rechargeable hearing aids. This innovative approach was initially manufactured for NASA’s Apollo missions to the moon. You can even use this technology to upgrade and retrofit the existing hearing aids you’re comfortable with by converting the device to rechargeable power. These batteries, like lithium-ion, will also last all day before needing to be recharged.
Some models even let you recharge the battery without removing it. For these, users will slip 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 decide on, rechargeable batteries will be considerably better than disposable batteries. You just need to do some research to determine which option is best for your needs.
Take a look at 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.