Contemporary technology has evolved the way we power electronics of every kind, from radios to cameras to phones. A robust, rechargeable hearing aid battery is finally realizing the hopes of hearing aid manufactures to replace the outdated disposable power sources of the past.
Disposable hearing aid batteries have traditionally been the power source of choice among manufacturers, with size 312 batteries serving as one of the more common battery types. These days, the most prominent version of these batteries is generally known as a “zinc-air” battery.
Disposable Hearing Aids Have a Disadvantage
The presence of air effects a zinc-air battery, as the name implies. The user needs to tear 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 actively using it.
Most users consider the length of life to be the greatest disadvantage of disposable batteries. Some reports have estimated the average life expectancy of a size 312 disposable battery to be from 3 and 12 days, which means users may have to switch out their batteries around 120 times every year.
That also means users may need to purchase 120 batteries, spend the time twice a week to replace them, and properly dispose of each. That’s most likely over $100 in batteries from a cost outlook alone.
Advancements in Rechargeable Batteries
Thankfully, for hearing aid wearers in search of another alternative, there have been profound developments to rechargeable hearing aids that now make them a practical choice.
Studies have shown that most people overwhelmingly prefer to wear rechargeable hearing aids. Until recently these models have traditionally struggled to give a long enough charge to make them practical. But modern rechargeable batteries will hold a charge all day without needing a recharge.
Users won’t see significant cost benefits 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 use time, these contemporary models lead to less frustration for the user, since there’s no more swapping and correctly disposing of batteries. They just need to place the battery on the charger.
When a disposable battery gets near the end of its life it can’t run your hearing aid at full capacity. 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 might even put them in danger. A faulty battery will not only cause a safety concern, it could cause the user to miss important life moments.
Types of Rechargeable Hearing Aid Batteries
There are distinct advantages to each of the different materials that rechargeable batteries are constructed from. 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 smart-phones are powered by this same kind of battery which might be surprising.
Silver-zinc technology is another material used for modern rechargeable hearing aids. Originally, these innovative batteries were developed for Nasa’s moon missions. You can even use this technology to update and retrofit the existing hearing aids you’re comfortable with by changing the device to rechargeable power. Just like lithium-ion, silver-zinc can also produce enough power to last you for a full day.
There are also models that let you recharge the hearing aid without taking out the battery. For these, users will place the entire hearing aid on a charging station when they sleep or during another time when the hearing aid is not in use.
While all of these rechargeable strategies offers significant advantages over disposable batteries, each option should be properly vetted to get a complete picture and to identify if it’s right for you.
If you’re searching for more information about hearing aid technology or how to select the proper hearing aid to satisfy your needs, we encourage you to look at our hearing aids section.