From cameras to phones to music players, how we power our electronics has progressed. For years, individuals looking to manage hearing loss have hoped for a similar advancement, 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 typically been used to power hearing aids. The most prominent form of this battery, now, is “zinc-ion”.
Disposable Hearing Aids Have a Disadvantage
As the name would indicate, a zinc-air battery is affected 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 draining power the moment they are completely oxygenated. That means power is start to drain even if the user isn’t ready.
Most users regard the duration of life to be the most significant disadvantage of disposable batteries. Some reports have cited the standard life expectancy of a size 312 disposable battery to be between 3 and 12 days, which means users could replace their batteries about 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. From a cost point of view alone, that likely equals more than $100 in battery purchases.
Rechargeable battery Improvements
Fortunately, for hearing aid users looking for another approach, there have been profound developments to rechargeable hearing aids that now make them a practical choice.
The vast majority of individuals would use rechargeable hearing aids if given a choice according to some research. Until now these models have historically struggled to provide a long enough charge to make them worthwhile. However, recent advancements now allow an entire day of use per charge.
Users won’t see substantial cost savings by switching to rechargeable batteries, but where they will see a demonstrated improvement is in quality of life.
On top of supplying 24 hours of charge time, these contemporary models lead to less aggravation for the user, since there’s no more changing and correctly disposing of batteries. They simply need to place 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 know how near to being inoperable the battery really is. So the batteries might die at the precise moment that a user needs them the most which could even put them in peril. Not only is this a safety concern, but users may miss out on significant life moments because of a dead battery.
Types of Rechargeable Hearing Aid Batteries
Rechargeable batteries come in a number of different materials, each providing unique advantages. The ability to hold a charge for 24 hours is one reason why integrated lithium-ion batteries are one practical option that manufacturers supply. And cellphones are powered by this same kind of battery which might be surprising.
Silver-zinc technology is another material used for today’s rechargeable hearing aids. Originally, these revolutionary batteries were manufactured for Nasa’s moon missions. You can even use this technology to modify and retrofit the existing hearing aids you’re comfortable with by converting the device to rechargeable power. Just like lithium-ion, silver-zinc can also produce enough power to last you all day.
There are also models that allow you to recharge the hearing aid without removing the battery at all. At night, or at some other time when the hearing aid is not being used, the entire hearing aid can be placed right into the charger
While each of these rechargeable strategies offers considerable benefits over disposable batteries, each approach should be properly vetted to get a complete picture and to discover if it’s best for you.
If you’re looking for more information about hearing aid technology or how to pick the best hearing aid to meet your needs, we encourage you to take a look at our hearing aids section.