From cameras to phones to music players, how we power our electronics has progressed. For decades, those looking to manage hearing loss have wished for a similar advancement, and the industry is finally realizing the promise of a powerful rechargeable hearing aid battery.
Size 312 batteries are the most prevalent of the disposable batteries that have typically been used to power hearing aids. These days, the most popular version of these batteries is generally known as a “zinc-air” battery.
Disposable Hearing Aids Have a Downside
The presence of air impacts a zinc-air battery, as the name indicates. In the case of 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 operational.
The moment it is fully oxygenated, it begins to lose power. That means power is start to deplete whether the user is ready for it or not.
The biggest drawback to disposable batteries, for the majority of users, is how short they last. With 312 batteries, the user could be replacing the batteries in their hearing aids around 120 times every year because they die in 3 to 12 days according to some reports.
Because of this, besides needing to buy 120 batteries, the user will need to switch and properly dispose of batteries at least twice every week. From a cost point of view alone, that likely equates to more than $100 in battery costs.
Rechargeable battery Advancements
Rechargeable hearing aid technology has progressed to the point where it’s now a practical option and that’s good news for people who use hearing aids.
The vast majority of individuals would wear rechargeable hearing aids if given an option according to various research. Previously, these models were impractical because they didn’t keep a charge long enough. However, modern innovations now allow a full day of use per charge.
Users won’t see significant cost benefits by switching to rechargeable batteries, but where they will see an obvious improvement is in quality of life.
On top of providing 24 hours of use time, these new models lead to less frustration for the user, since there’s no more swapping and properly disposing of batteries. Instead, they just need to pop out the battery and put 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 real way to know how close to being inoperable the battery actually is. Consequently, users chance putting themselves in a situation where their battery might die at a critical time. A dead battery will not only result in a safety hazard, it could cause the user to miss important life moments.
Types of Rechargeable Hearing Aid Batteries
There are unique advantages to each of the different materials that rechargeable batteries are made of. The ability to maintain a charge for 24 hours is one reason why integrated lithium-ion batteries are one practical option that manufacturers supply. You may be surprised to learn that this same type of technology is what charges and powers your smart-phone.
Silver-zinc technology is another material used for modern rechargeable hearing aids. Originally, these innovative batteries were manufactured for Nasa’s moon missions. With this technology, even your current hearing aids can most likely be updated to run on rechargeable batteries. Just like lithium-ion, silver-zinc can also provide 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 isn’t being used, the entire hearing aid can be put directly into the charger
Whichever solution you decide on, rechargeable batteries will be considerably better than disposable batteries. You just have to do some research to determine which solution is best for your needs.
Check out our hearing aid section if you’re searching for more information about what battery would be the right choice for you or any other info about hearing aids.