Contemporary technology has changed the way we power electronics of all types, from cameras to phones to music players. For years, individuals looking to address hearing loss have hoped for a similar progression, 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 serving as one of the more common battery types. Today, the most prominent version of these batteries is generally known as a “zinc-air” battery.
Disposable Hearing Aids Have a Downside
As the name would imply, a zinc-air battery is impacted by the presence of air. In the case of the 312 batteries used in many hearing aids, the user is required to pull a small tab off the back of the battery before it is turned on and operational.
The moment it is fully oxygenated, it starts to lose power. So the power is draining even if the user isn’t actively using it.
Most users regard the duration of life to be the most significant disadvantage of disposable batteries. Some reports have estimated the standard life expectancy of a size 312 disposable battery to be between 3 and 12 days, which means users may need to switch out their batteries about 120 times per year.
That also means users may need to buy 120 batteries, spend the time twice a week to replace them, and properly dispose of each. That’s probably over $100 in batteries from a cost perspective alone.
Improvements in Rechargeable Batteries
Fortunately, for hearing aid wearers in search of another approach, there have been profound developments to rechargeable hearing aids that now make them a practical option.
The vast number of people would wear rechargeable hearing aids if given a choice according to some research. Until now these models have traditionally struggled to provide a long enough charge to make them practical. But today’s rechargeable batteries will hold a charge all day without requiring a recharge.
Rechargeable batteries won’t save users substantial amounts of money, but they will improve their quality of life.
These new models give less aggravation on top of maintaining a 24 hour charge because the user doesn’t deal with the burden of continuously changing out the batteries. Instead, they just need to pop out the battery and place them in a convenient tabletop charging unit.
A disposable battery approaching the end of its life simply can’t work at full capacity. And you can’t determine how near the battery is to quitting. As a result, users risk putting themselves in a situation where their battery may die at a critical time. Not only is this a safety hazard, but users could miss out on important life moments because of a faulty battery.
Types of Rechargeable Hearing Aid Batteries
There are distinct benefits to each of the different materials that rechargeable batteries are made of. Integrated lithium-ion batteries are one alternative being used by manufacturers because of their ability to hold a 24-hour charge. And cellphones are powered by this same kind of battery which may be surprising.
Silver-zinc technology is another material used for today’s rechargeable hearing aids. This revolutionary approach was originally manufactured for NASA’s Apollo 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. These batteries, similar to lithium-ion, will also last all day before needing to be recharged.
There are also models that let you recharge the hearing aid without taking out the battery. During the 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 strategies provides substantial benefits over disposable batteries, each approach should be properly vetted to get a complete picture and to discover 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 the right choice for you or any other info about hearing aids.