From phones to cameras to music players, how we power our electronics has advanced. For years, people looking to manage 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 historically been the power source of choice among manufacturers, with size 312 batteries serving as 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 impacted by the presence of air. The user needs to tear a small tab off the back of a 312 zinc-air battery to activate it.
They will start losing power as soon as they are completely oxygenated. That means power is beginning to deplete even if the user isn’t ready.
Most users regard the duration of life to be the most significant disadvantage of disposable batteries. With 312 batteries, the user might be replacing the batteries in their hearing aids around 120 times each year because they die in 3 to 12 days according to some reports.
That also means users may need to purchase 120 batteries, spend the time twice a week to change them, and properly dispose of each. From a cost perspective alone, that likely equals over $100 in battery purchases.
Improvements in Rechargeable Batteries
Rechargeable hearing aid technology has advanced to the point where it’s now a practical option and that’s good news for individuals who wear hearing aids.
Studies have revealed that most people overwhelmingly prefer to wear rechargeable hearing aids. Until recently these models have historically struggled to provide a long enough charge to make them worthwhile. However, recent advancements now facilitate a full day of use per charge.
Users won’t see significant cost savings by switching to rechargeable batteries, but where they will see an obvious improvement is in quality of life.
In addition to supplying 24 hours of charge time, these contemporary models result in less frustration for the user, since there’s no more swapping and correctly disposing of batteries. Instead, they only need to pop out the battery and place them in a convenient tabletop charging unit.
A disposable battery nearing the end of its life simply can’t function at full capacity. And you can’t determine how close 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. Not only is this a safety concern, but users could miss significant life moments because of a dead battery.
Hearing Aids Come in Different Types
Rechargeable batteries come in numerous different materials, each offering distinct advantages. The ability to maintain a charge for 24 hours is one reason why integrated lithium-ion batteries are one practical option that manufacturers provide. And cellphones are powered by this same kind of battery which may be surprising.
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 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 all day.
Some models even allow you to recharge the battery while it’s still in the hearing aid. During the 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
Whichever solution you decide on, 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.
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.