From cameras to phones to music players, how we power our electronics has evolved. For years, individuals looking to address hearing loss have wished for a similar progression, and the industry is finally realizing the promise of a powerful rechargeable hearing aid battery.
Disposable hearing aid batteries have traditionally been the power source of choice amongst manufacturers, with size 312 batteries being one of the more common battery types. The most popular form of this battery, now, is “zinc-ion”.
Disposable Hearing Aids Have a Downside
The presence of air impacts a zinc-air battery, as the name indicates. 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 begins to lose power. So the power is draining even if the user isn’t actively using it.
Most users consider the duration of life to be the greatest drawback of disposable batteries. Some reports have estimated the average life expectancy of a size 312 disposable battery to be between 3 and 12 days, which means users could replace their batteries about 120 times per year.
That also means users may need to buy 120 batteries, spend the time twice a week to change them, and correctly dispose of each. That’s probably over $100 in batteries from a cost perspective alone.
Rechargeable battery Advancements
Thankfully, for hearing aid wearers looking for another alternative, there have been profound 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 research. Until now these models have historically struggled to supply a long enough charge to make them worthwhile. But modern rechargeable batteries will last all day without needing 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 use time, these new models result in less aggravation for the user, since there’s no more swapping and correctly disposing of batteries. Instead, they only need to take out the battery and put them in a convenient tabletop charging unit.
When a disposable battery nears the end of its life it can’t run your hearing aid at full power. There’s also no real way to identify how close to being inoperable the battery really is. So the batteries could die at the precise moment that a user needs them the most which could even put them in peril. Not only is this a safety concern, but users could miss out on significant life moments due to a dead battery.
Hearing Aids Come in Different Types
Rechargeable batteries come in a variety of 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. And cellphones are powered by this same kind of battery which may be surprising.
Another kind of contemporary rechargeable battery is a silver-zinc. This innovative approach was originally developed for NASA’s Apollo moon missions. With this technology, even your current hearing aids can probably be updated to run on rechargeable power. These batteries, like lithium-ion, will also last all day before requiring a recharge.
There are also models that let you recharge the hearing aid without removing the battery at all. During the night, or at some other time when the hearing aid is not in use, the whole hearing aid can be placed directly into the charger
While all of these rechargeable strategies offers considerable advantages over disposable batteries, each approach should be properly vetted to get a complete picture and to discover if it’s best for you.
Check out our hearing aid section if you’re searching for more information about what battery would be the right choice for you or any other info about hearing aids.