From phones to cameras to music players, how we power our electronics has advanced. A robust, rechargeable hearing aid battery is finally realizing the hopes of hearing aid manufactures to replace the outdated disposable power sources of the past.
Size 312 batteries are the most common of the disposable batteries that have traditionally been used to power hearing aids. Nowadays, the most prominent version of these batteries is known as a “zinc-air” battery.
Disposable Hearing Aids Have a Downside
As the name would imply, a zinc-air battery is affected by the presence of air. The user has to tear a little tab off the back of a 312 zinc-air battery to activate it.
They will begin losing power the moment they are completely oxygenated. That means power is beginning to deplete even if the user isn’t ready.
Most users consider the length of life to be the biggest drawback of disposable batteries. With 312 batteries, the user might be changing 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 needing to buy 120 batteries, the user will have to change and correctly dispose of batteries at least twice a week. That’s probably over $100 in batteries from a cost perspective alone.
Improvements in Rechargeable Batteries
Rechargeable hearing aid technology has progressed to the point where it’s now a practical solution and that’s good news for people who wear hearing aids.
The vast number of people would wear rechargeable hearing aids if given a choice according to various research. Until recently these models have traditionally struggled to provide a long enough charge to make them practical. But modern 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 improve their quality of life.
In addition to providing 24 hours of use time, these new models lead to less aggravation for the user, since there’s no more changing and properly disposing of batteries. Instead, they just need to take out the battery and put them in a convenient tabletop charger.
A disposable battery nearing the end of its life simply can’t work at full capacity. There’s also no real way to identify how close 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 danger. A faulty battery will not only lead to a safety hazard, it could cause the user to miss out on important life moments.
Types of Rechargeable Hearing Aid Batteries
Rechargeable batteries come in a number of different materials, each offering distinct advantages. 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 know that this same kind of technology is what charges and powers your cellphone.
Silver-zinc technology is another material used for modern rechargeable hearing aids. Initially, these revolutionary batteries were manufactured for Nasa’s moon missions. You can even use this technology to update 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 provide enough power to last you all day.
Some models even let you recharge the battery without removing it. For these, users will slip the entire hearing aid into a charging station when they sleep or at another time when the hearing aid is not in use.
While all of these rechargeable solutions offers substantial benefits over disposable batteries, each approach should be carefully vetted to get a complete picture and to identify if it’s best for you.
If you’re searching for more information about hearing aid technology or how to determine the proper hearing aid to satisfy your needs, we encourage you to check out our hearing aids section.