Modern technology has evolved the way we power electronics of every kind, from radios to cameras to phones. For decades, people looking to manage hearing loss have hoped for a similar advancement, and the industry is finally recognizing 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 being one of the more common battery types. These days, the most prominent version of these batteries is known as a “zinc-air” battery.
Disposable Hearing Aids Have a Disadvantage
As the name would imply, a zinc-air battery is impacted by the presence of air. The user has to pull a small tab off the back of a 312 zinc-air battery in order to activate it.
They will begin losing power the moment they are completely oxygenated. So the power is draining even if the user isn’t currently using it.
The biggest disadvantage to disposable batteries, for most users, is how long they last. With 312 batteries, the user could be changing the batteries in their hearing aids around 120 times every year because they drain in 3 to 12 days according to some reports.
Because of this, besides having to buy 120 batteries, the user will need to change and correctly dispose of batteries at least twice a week. That’s most likely over $100 in batteries from a cost outlook alone.
Rechargeable battery Advancements
Rechargeable hearing aid technology has progressed to the point where it’s now a practical solution and that’s good news for people who use hearing aids.
Studies have shown that most people overwhelmingly prefer to use rechargeable hearing aids. Over the years, these models were impractical because they didn’t maintain a charge long enough. But today’s rechargeable batteries will hold a charge all day without requiring a recharge.
Rechargeable batteries won’t save users significant amounts of money, but they will make quality of life better.
On top of supplying 24 hours of charge time, these new models lead to less frustration for the user, since there’s no more swapping and correctly disposing of batteries. They simply need to place the battery on the charger.
When a disposable battery nears the end of its life it won’t run your hearing aid at full power. There’s also no real way to identify how close to being inoperable the battery actually is. Consequently, users risk putting themselves in a situation where their battery might die at a critical time. A faulty battery will not only result in a safety concern, it could cause the user to miss key life moments.
Types of Rechargeable Hearing Aid Batteries
Rechargeable batteries come in various different materials, each providing 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 supply. You might 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 modern rechargeable hearing aids. This revolutionary technology was originally developed for NASA’s Apollo moon missions. With this technology, even your existing hearing aids can probably be upgraded 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 is not in use, the entire hearing aid can be placed right into the charger
While all of these rechargeable solutions offers substantial benefits over disposable batteries, each approach should be properly vetted to get a complete picture and to identify if it’s best for you.
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.