Modern technology has changed the way we power electronics of all types, from radios to cameras to phones. A powerful, rechargeable hearing aid battery is finally realizing the hopes of hearing aid makers to replace the antiquated disposable power sources of the past.
Disposable hearing aid batteries have traditionally been the power source of choice among manufacturers, with size 312 batteries serving as one of the more common battery types. Nowadays, the most prominent version of these batteries is generally known as a “zinc-air” battery.
Disposable Hearing Aids Have a Disadvantage
As the name would suggest, a zinc-air battery is affected by the presence of air. When it comes to the 312 batteries used in a lot of hearing aids, the user needs to pull a little tab off the back of the battery before it’s activated and functional.
They will begin draining power the moment they are completely oxygenated. That means power is start to deplete whether the user is ready for it or not.
Most users consider the duration of life to be the greatest disadvantage of disposable batteries. With 312 batteries, the user might be replacing the batteries in their hearing aids about 120 times per year because they die 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 correctly dispose of each. From a cost point of view alone, that likely equates to more than $100 in battery purchases.
Rechargeable battery Improvements
Luckily, for hearing aid wearers in search of another alternative, there have been significant improvements to rechargeable hearing aids that now make them a feasible option.
The vast majority of individuals would use rechargeable hearing aids if given a choice according to some studies. In the past, these models were not practical because they didn’t maintain a charge long enough. However, recent advancements now facilitate an entire day of use per charge.
Rechargeable batteries won’t save users significant amounts of money, but they will make quality of life better.
These modern models give less frustration on top of maintaining a 24 hour charge because the user doesn’t deal with the burden of constantly swapping out the batteries. They just need to place the battery on the charger.
When a disposable battery gets near the end of its life it doesn’t run your hearing aid at full capacity. And you can’t determine how near the battery is to failing. So the batteries might die at the exact 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 important life moments because of a dead battery.
Hearing Aids Come in Different Types
Rechargeable batteries come in various different materials, each offering unique 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 kind of technology is what charges and powers your smart-phone.
Silver-zinc technology is another material used for modern rechargeable hearing aids. Initially, these revolutionary batteries were developed for Nasa’s 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. Just like lithium-ion, silver-zinc can also supply enough power to last you for a full day.
There are also models that let you recharge the hearing aid without removing the battery at all. 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 considerable benefits over disposable batteries, each approach should be carefully vetted to get a complete picture and to discover if it’s right for you.
If you’re looking for more information about hearing aid technology or how to pick the proper hearing aid to meet your needs, we encourage you to check out our hearing aids section.