Modern technology has changed the way we power electronics of every kind, from cameras to phones to music players. For years, individuals looking to address 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 traditionally been the power source of choice among manufacturers, with size 312 batteries being one of the more common battery types. Today, the most popular version of these batteries is generally known as a “zinc-air” battery.
The Drawback to Disposable Hearing Aid Batteries
The presence of air impacts a zinc-air battery, as the name indicates. Regarding the 312 batteries used in a lot of hearing aids, the user needs to pull a little tab off the back of the battery before it is activated and functional.
They will start draining power the moment they are fully oxygenated. So the power is draining even if the user isn’t currently using it.
Most users regard the length of life to be the greatest disadvantage of disposable batteries. With 312 batteries, the user might be changing the batteries in their hearing aids about 120 times per year because they drain in 3 to 12 days according to some reports.
Because of this, besides needing to buy 120 batteries, the user will need to change and properly dispose of batteries at least twice a week. From a cost perspective alone, that likely equals more than $100 in battery costs.
Rechargeable battery Improvements
Fortunately, for hearing aid wearers looking for another alternative, there have been significant improvements 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 now these models have historically struggled to give a long enough charge to make them practical. However, modern advancements now enable a full day of use per charge.
Users won’t see substantial cost savings by switching to rechargeable batteries, but where they will see a demonstrated improvement is in quality of life.
These modern models provide less frustration on top of keeping a 24 hour charge because the user doesn’t have the burden of constantly changing out the batteries. Instead, they only need to pop out the battery and put them in a convenient tabletop charging unit.
A disposable battery approaching the end of its life simply can’t operate at full power. There’s also no exact way to know how near to being inoperable the battery actually is. As a result, users chance putting themselves in a situation where their battery may die at a critical time. A dead battery will not only cause a safety hazard, it could cause the user to miss key life moments.
Hearing Aids Come in Different Types
There are unique benefits to each of the different materials that rechargeable batteries are constructed from. The ability to maintain a charge for 24 hours is one reason why integrated lithium-ion batteries are one viable option that manufacturers provide. You might be surprised to learn that this same type of technology is what charges and powers your cellphone.
Another kind of modern rechargeable battery is a silver-zinc. This revolutionary approach was initially developed for NASA’s Apollo missions to the moon. You can even use this technology to upgrade and retrofit the existing hearing aids you’re comfortable with by converting the device to rechargeable power. Just like lithium-ion, silver-zinc can also supply enough power to last you all day.
Some models even let you recharge the battery without removing it. At night, or at some other time when the hearing aid is not in use, the whole hearing aid can be put right into the charger
While all of these rechargeable solutions provides significant advantages over disposable batteries, each approach should be properly vetted to get a complete picture and to discover if it’s right for you.
Take a look at our hearing aid section if you’re looking for more information about what battery would be best for you or any other info about hearing aids.