From phones to cameras to music players, how we power our electronics has progressed. For years, people looking to address hearing loss have wished for a similar progression, and the industry is finally recognizing the promise of a powerful rechargeable hearing aid battery.
Disposable hearing aid batteries have traditionally been the power source of choice among manufacturers, with size 312 batteries serving as one of the more prevalent battery types. The most prominent form of this battery, now, is “zinc-ion”.
Disposable Hearing Aids Have a Downside
As the name would indicate, a zinc-air battery is affected by the presence of air. The user has to tear a small tab off the back of a 312 zinc-air battery to activate it.
The moment it is fully oxygenated, it starts to lose power. So the power is draining even if the user isn’t actively using it.
The biggest drawback to disposable batteries, for most users, is how short they last. Some reports have estimated the standard life expectancy of a size 312 disposable battery to be from 3 and 12 days, which means users could replace their batteries about 120 times per year.
Because of this, besides having to buy 120 batteries, the user will need to switch and correctly dispose of batteries at least twice a week. That’s most likely over $100 in batteries from a cost outlook alone.
Advancements 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.
Studies have demonstrated 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. However, modern innovations now facilitate an entire day of use per charge.
Users won’t see substantial cost savings by switching to rechargeable batteries, but where they will see an obvious improvement is in quality of life.
These new models provide less frustration on top of maintaining a 24 hour charge because the user doesn’t have the burden of continuously changing out the batteries. Instead, they just need to pop out the battery and place them in a convenient tabletop charging unit.
When a disposable battery nears the end of its life it can’t run your hearing aid at full capacity. And you can’t determine how near the battery is to quitting. As a result, users chance putting themselves in a situation where their battery may die at a crucial time. A faulty battery will not only result in a safety concern, it could cause the user to miss out on key life moments.
Hearing Aids Come in Different Types
Rechargeable batteries come in various 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. And cellphones are powered by this same kind of battery which may be surprising.
Silver-zinc technology is another material used for modern rechargeable hearing aids. Initially, these innovative batteries were manufactured for Nasa’s moon missions. You can even use this technology to upgrade 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 produce enough power to last you all day.
There are also models that let you recharge the hearing aid without taking out the battery. For these, users will slip the entire hearing aid into a charging station when they sleep or during another time when the device isn’t in use.
While each of these rechargeable solutions provides considerable advantages over disposable batteries, each approach should be properly vetted to get a complete picture and to identify if it’s right for you.
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.