From phones to cameras to music players, how we power our electronics has evolved. For years, individuals looking to address hearing loss have wished for a similar advancement, and the industry is finally recognizing the promise of a powerful rechargeable hearing aid battery.
Size 312 batteries are the most common 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.
The Drawback to Disposable Hearing Aid Batteries
As the name would suggest, a zinc-air battery is impacted by the presence of air. The user needs to tear a small tab off the back of a 312 zinc-air battery in order to activate it.
They will start losing power the moment they are fully oxygenated. So the power is depleting even if the user isn’t actively using it.
Most users consider the duration of life to be the most significant drawback of disposable batteries. With 312 batteries, the user may be replacing the batteries in their hearing aids around 120 times each year because they drain in 3 to 12 days according to some reports.
That also means users may need to purchase 120 batteries, spend the time twice a week to replace them, and correctly dispose of each. That’s most likely over $100 in batteries from a cost perspective alone.
Improvements in Rechargeable Batteries
Rechargeable hearing aid technology has progressed to the point where it’s now a practical solution and that’s good news for people who use hearing aids.
The vast majority of individuals would use rechargeable hearing aids if given an option according to some studies. Previously, these models were not practical because they didn’t hold a charge long enough. However, modern developments now allow an entire day of use per charge.
Rechargeable batteries won’t save users substantial amounts of money, but they will improve their quality of life.
On top of supplying 24 hours of use time, these new models result in less frustration for the user, since there’s no more changing and properly disposing of batteries. They simply need to put the battery on the charger.
When a disposable battery nears the end of its life it can’t run your hearing aid at full power. There’s also no exact way to identify how close to being inoperable the battery actually is. So the batteries might die at the precise moment that a user needs them the most which might even put them in danger. A dead battery will not only result in a safety hazard, it could cause the user to miss key life moments.
Types of Rechargeable Hearing Aid Batteries
There are distinct advantages 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 cellphones are powered by this same type of battery which might be surprising.
Silver-zinc technology is another material used for modern rechargeable hearing aids. Originally, these revolutionary batteries were developed for Nasa’s moon missions. With this technology, even your current hearing aids can most likely be upgraded to run on rechargeable batteries. These batteries, similar to lithium-ion, will also last all day before needing to be recharged.
There are also models that allow you to recharge the hearing aid without taking out the battery. For these, users will place the entire hearing aid into 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 considerably better than disposable batteries. You just have to do some research to determine which option is best for your needs.
If you’re searching for more information about hearing aid technology or how to pick the ideal hearing aid to meet your needs, we encourage you to look at our hearing aids section.