From cameras to phones to music players, how we power our electronics has progressed. A powerful, rechargeable hearing aid battery is finally living up to the hopes of hearing aid makers to replace the antiquated disposable power sources of the past.
Size 312 batteries are the most common of the disposable batteries that have typically been used to power hearing aids. Nowadays, the most popular version of these batteries is known as a “zinc-air” battery.
The Downside to Disposable Hearing Aid Batteries
As the name would indicate, a zinc-air battery is affected by the presence of air. The user needs to tear a little tab off the back of a 312 zinc-air battery to activate it.
They will start losing power the moment they are completely oxygenated. So the power is draining even if the user isn’t actively using it.
The biggest disadvantage to disposable batteries, for most users, is how long they last. With 312 batteries, the user may be changing the batteries in their hearing aids about 120 times every year because they die in 3 to 12 days according to some reports.
That also means users may need to buy 120 batteries, spend the time twice every week to change them, and properly dispose of each. That’s probably over $100 in batteries from a cost outlook alone.
Rechargeable battery Advancements
Rechargeable hearing aid technology has progressed to the point where it’s now a viable solution and that’s good news for people who wear hearing aids.
The vast majority of people would wear rechargeable hearing aids if given an alternative according to some research. Previously, these models were impractical because they didn’t maintain a charge long enough. But today’s rechargeable batteries will hold a charge all day without needing a recharge.
Users won’t see substantial cost savings 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 new models lead to less aggravation for the user, since there’s no more changing and correctly disposing of batteries. Instead, they just need to pop out the battery and place them in a convenient tabletop charger.
When a disposable battery nears the end of its life it won’t run your hearing aid at full power. There’s also no real way to know how near to being inoperable the battery actually is. Because of this, users risk putting themselves in a situation where their battery might die at a crucial time. A dead battery will not only cause a safety hazard, it could cause the user to miss out on important life moments.
Hearing Aids Come in Different Types
Rechargeable batteries come in a variety of different materials, each offering distinct advantages. Integrated lithium-ion batteries are one option being used by manufacturers because of their ability to hold a 24-hour charge. You may be surprised to learn that this same type of technology is what charges and powers your smart-phone.
Another kind of modern rechargeable battery is a silver-zinc. This revolutionary approach was initially manufactured for NASA’s Apollo moon missions. With this technology, even your current hearing aids can most likely be updated to run on rechargeable power. These batteries, similar to lithium-ion, will also last all day before requiring a recharge.
Some models even let you recharge the battery while it’s still in the hearing aid. For these, users will place the entire hearing aid on a charging station when they sleep or at another time when the hearing aid isn’t in use.
Whichever option you choose, rechargeable batteries will be significantly better than disposable batteries. You just need to do some research to decide which solution is best for your needs.
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.