From cameras to phones to music players, how we power our electronics has progressed. For decades, individuals looking to manage hearing loss have wished for a similar advancement, and the industry is finally recognizing the promise of a robust rechargeable hearing aid battery.
Size 312 batteries are the most prevalent of the disposable batteries that have traditionally been used to power hearing aids. Nowadays, the most popular version of these batteries is generally known as a “zinc-air” battery.
Disposable Hearing Aids Have a Disadvantage
As the name would imply, a zinc-air battery is affected by the presence of air. The user has to pull a little tab off the back of a 312 zinc-air battery in order 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 currently using it.
Most users regard the duration of life to be the biggest drawback of disposable batteries. Some reports have estimated the standard life expectancy of a size 312 disposable battery to be from 3 and 12 days, which means users may need to switch out their batteries around 120 times per year.
Because of this, besides needing to purchase 120 batteries, the user will have to switch and properly dispose of batteries at least two times every week. From a cost perspective alone, that likely equates to over $100 in battery costs.
Rechargeable battery Improvements
Luckily, for hearing aid users looking for another alternative, there have been profound improvements to rechargeable hearing aids that now make them a practical solution.
Studies have shown that most individuals overwhelmingly prefer to use rechargeable hearing aids. Until now these models have traditionally struggled to supply a long enough charge to make them practical. However, recent innovations now facilitate a full day of use per charge.
Users won’t see significant cost benefits by changing to rechargeable batteries, but where they will see a demonstrated improvement is in quality of life.
On top of providing 24 hours of use time, these new models result in less aggravation for the user, since there’s no more changing and correctly disposing of batteries. They simply need to place the battery on the charger.
A disposable battery nearing the end of its life simply can’t work at full capacity. There’s also no real way to know how near to being inoperable the battery actually is. As a result, users risk putting themselves in a situation where their battery might die at a crucial time. Not only is this a safety concern, but users may miss out on important life moments because of a faulty battery.
Types of Rechargeable Hearing Aid Batteries
There are unique benefits to each of the different materials that rechargeable batteries are made of. Integrated lithium-ion batteries are one option being used by manufacturers because they can hold a charge for 24 hours. And smart-phones are powered by this same kind of battery which may be surprising.
Another kind of modern rechargeable battery is a silver-zinc. Originally, these revolutionary batteries were manufactured for Nasa’s moon missions. With this technology, even your existing hearing aids can probably be upgraded to run on rechargeable batteries. These batteries, like lithium-ion, will also last all day before needing to be recharged.
There are also models that let you recharge the hearing aid without removing the battery at all. At night, or at some other time when the hearing aid is not being used, the entire hearing aid can be placed directly into the charger
While all of these rechargeable solutions provides considerable benefits over disposable batteries, each option should be properly vetted to get a complete picture and to see if it’s best for you.
Check out 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.