From cameras to phones to music players, how we power our electronics has evolved. For decades, people looking to manage hearing loss have wished for a similar progression, and the industry is finally realizing the promise of a robust rechargeable hearing aid battery.
Size 312 batteries are the most prevalent of the disposable batteries that have traditionally been used to power hearing aids. These days, the most prominent 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. The user has to tear a small tab off the back of a 312 zinc-air battery in order to activate it.
The moment it is fully oxygenated, it begins to lose power. So the power is draining even if the user isn’t currently using it.
Most users consider the duration of life to be the greatest drawback of disposable batteries. With 312 batteries, the user might be replacing the batteries in their hearing aids about 120 times each year because they drain in 3 to 12 days according to some reports.
Because of this, besides having to buy 120 batteries, the user will need to change and properly dispose of batteries at least two times a week. From a cost perspective alone, that likely means over $100 in battery purchases.
Rechargeable battery Advancements
Rechargeable hearing aid technology has progressed to the point where it’s now a viable option and that’s good news for individuals who use hearing aids.
The vast majority of individuals would use rechargeable hearing aids if given an option according to various research. Until recently 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 make quality of life better.
On top of supplying 24 hours of charge time, these contemporary models result in less frustration for the user, since there’s no more swapping and correctly disposing of batteries. Instead, they just need to take out the battery and place them in a convenient tabletop charger.
When a disposable battery nears the end of its life it doesn’t run your hearing aid at full capacity. And you can’t determine how close the battery is to quitting. As a result, users risk putting themselves in a situation where their battery may die at a crucial time. A dead battery will not only lead to a safety concern, it could cause the user to miss out on important life moments.
Types of Rechargeable Hearing Aid Batteries
There are unique advantages to each of the different materials that rechargeable batteries are constructed from. The ability to hold a charge for 24 hours is one reason why integrated lithium-ion batteries are one worthwhile option that manufacturers supply. And smart-phones are powered by this same kind of battery which might be surprising.
Another type of modern rechargeable battery is a silver-zinc. Initially, these innovative batteries were developed for Nasa’s moon missions. With this technology, even your existing hearing aids can most likely be upgraded to run on rechargeable power. These batteries, like lithium-ion, will also last all day before requiring a recharge.
Some models even allow you to recharge the battery while it’s still in the hearing aid. For these, users will place the entire hearing aid into a charging station when they sleep or at another time when the hearing aid is not in use.
Whichever solution you choose, rechargeable batteries will be considerably better than disposable batteries. You just need to do some research to determine which option is best for your needs.
If you’re looking for more information about hearing aid technology or how to pick the proper hearing aid to satisfy your needs, we encourage you to check out our hearing aids section.