Contemporary technology has evolved the way we power electronics of all types, from cameras to phones to music players. A robust, rechargeable hearing aid battery is finally realizing the hopes of hearing aid manufactures to replace the antiquated disposable power sources of the past.
Size 312 batteries are the most prevalent of the disposable batteries that have traditionally been used to power hearing aids. The most popular form of this battery, now, is “zinc-ion”.
The Downside to Disposable Hearing Aid Batteries
As the name would indicate, a zinc-air battery is impacted by the presence of air. When it comes to the 312 batteries used in many hearing aids, the user needs to pull a small tab off the back of the battery before it’s activated and functional.
The moment it is fully oxygenated, it begins to lose power. That means power is beginning to deplete whether the user is ready for it or not.
Most users consider the length of life to be the biggest drawback of disposable batteries. Some reports have cited the average life expectancy of a size 312 disposable battery to be from 3 and 12 days, which means users could replace their batteries around 120 times every year.
Because of this, besides having to purchase 120 batteries, the user will have to change and properly dispose of batteries at least twice every week. That’s most likely over $100 in batteries from a cost perspective alone.
Rechargeable battery Advancements
Rechargeable hearing aid technology has advanced to the point where it’s now a practical option and that’s good news for people who wear hearing aids.
Studies have demonstrated that most individuals overwhelmingly prefer to wear rechargeable hearing aids. Until now these models have traditionally struggled to supply a long enough charge to make them practical. However, recent innovations now allow an entire day of use per charge.
Users won’t see significant cost benefits by changing to rechargeable batteries, but where they will see a demonstrated improvement is in quality of life.
These new models give less aggravation on top of keeping a 24 hour charge because the user doesn’t deal with the burden of continuously swapping out the batteries. Instead, they only need to take out the battery and place them in a convenient tabletop charging unit.
When a disposable battery gets near the end of its life it can’t run your hearing aid at full power. There’s also no exact way to know how near to being inoperable the battery really is. Consequently, users risk putting themselves in a situation where their battery might die at a crucial time. Not only is this a safety concern, but users may miss important life moments because of a faulty battery.
Hearing Aids Come in Different Types
Rechargeable batteries come in a variety of different materials, each providing unique advantages. Integrated lithium-ion batteries are one alternative being used by manufacturers because they can hold a charge for 24 hours. You might be surprised to know that this same kind of technology is what charges and powers your smart-phone.
Silver-zinc technology is another material used for today’s rechargeable hearing aids. This revolutionary approach was originally developed for NASA’s Apollo moon missions. You can even use this technology to modify 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.
Some models even allow you to recharge the battery while it’s still in the hearing aid. At night, or at some other time when the hearing aid is not being used, the entire hearing aid can be put right into the charger
While all of these rechargeable solutions provides substantial advantages over disposable batteries, each option should be carefully vetted to get a complete picture and to identify if it’s best for you.
If you’re looking for more information about hearing aid technology or how to determine the best hearing aid to meet your needs, we encourage you to look at our hearing aids section.