Up to now, the concept of rechargeable batteries for hearing aids was an idea that was much better in principle than it was in practice. Early rechargeable hearing aid batteries were so large that they could only be used in over-the-ear type aids; they also took hours to recharge and then didn’t hold a charge for very long. Instead of the 12 to 14 hours of use that hearing aid wearers need, these early batteries commonly lasted only five to six hours.
However, many advances have been made in the years since – in the materials used for the batteries, in their size, in the length of time they hold a charge, and in the technologies used to recharge them. Together, these enhancements propelled rechargeable hearing aid batteries so far forward that they are now more eco-friendly and often more cost-efficient than disposable batteries. To emphasize these two qualities, during a 3-year span a binaural (both ears) hearing aid user will go through an average of three hundred disposable batteries, which would have to be replaced at a cost of 300 to 400 dollars, and would have to be disposed of. In contrast, the hearing aid wearer using rechargeable batteries would only need 6 of them for that same three-year period, none of which needed to be thrown away; total cost (including the recharger) would be in the range of $100-200.
A side benefit is not having to deal with the plastic packaging that disposable batteries come in. These tightly sealed, small packages are known to be quite challenging for older hearing aid wearers. Some of the newest rechargeable hearing aids don’t even require you to open the aid to remove the battery; you place the entire unit in the recharging station overnight. There are even portable battery rechargers, the size of a pen, which you can use anywhere because they don’t need to be plugged into a wall socket.
As a result, it can be said that rechargeable batteries are a viable option for hearing aids, one that can help you both to save money and to save the environment. Plus, if you’re traveling or stuck somewhere without a charger handy, you always have the option of using disposable batteries until you get home.