From phones to cameras to music players, how we power our electronics has advanced. For decades, individuals looking to address hearing loss have hoped for a similar progression, and the industry is finally realizing the promise of a powerful rechargeable hearing aid battery.
Size 312 batteries are the most common of the disposable batteries that have traditionally been used to power hearing aids. Today, the most popular 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. Regarding the 312 batteries used in many hearing aids, the user is required to pull a little tab off the back of the battery before it is activated and operational.
They will start draining power as soon as they are completely oxygenated. That means power is beginning to deplete whether the user is ready for it or not.
The biggest downside to disposable batteries, for the majority of users, is how long they last. With 312 batteries, the user may be replacing the batteries in their hearing aids around 120 times every year because they drain in 3 to 12 days according to some reports.
That also means users may need to purchase 120 batteries, spend the time twice every week to change them, and properly dispose of each. From a cost perspective alone, that likely equates to more than $100 in battery purchases.
Advancements in Rechargeable Batteries
Fortunately, for hearing aid users looking for another approach, there have been significant developments to rechargeable hearing aids that now make them a viable choice.
Studies have revealed that most people overwhelmingly prefer to wear rechargeable hearing aids. Until now these models have traditionally struggled to provide a long enough charge to make them worthwhile. But modern rechargeable batteries will last all day without requiring a recharge.
Rechargeable batteries won’t save users substantial amounts of money, but they will improve their quality of life.
In addition to supplying 24 hours of charge time, these contemporary models lead to less frustration for the user, since there’s no more changing and properly disposing of batteries. Instead, they only need to pop out the battery and place them in a convenient tabletop charger.
A disposable battery approaching the end of its life simply can’t operate at full capacity. And you can’t tell how near the battery is to quitting. So the batteries might die at the exact moment that a user needs them the most which could even put them in peril. A faulty battery will not only lead to a safety hazard, it could cause the user to miss out on key life moments.
Types of Rechargeable Hearing Aid Batteries
Rechargeable batteries come in numerous different materials, each offering distinct advantages. Integrated lithium-ion batteries are one alternative being used by manufacturers because they can hold a charge for 24 hours. You may be surprised to know that this same type 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 technology was originally developed for NASA’s Apollo moon missions. You can even use this technology to upgrade 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 supply enough power to last you for a full day.
Some models even let you recharge the battery without removing it. For these, users will place the entire hearing aid on a charging station when they sleep or at another time when the device isn’t in use.
While each of these rechargeable strategies offers considerable benefits over disposable batteries, each option should be carefully vetted to get a complete picture and to see if it’s right for you.
Take a look at our hearing aid section if you’re searching for more information about what battery would be best for you or any other info about hearing aids.