Contemporary technology has evolved the way we power electronics of all kinds, from radios to cameras to phones. A robust, rechargeable hearing aid battery is finally living up to the hopes of hearing aid manufactures to replace the outdated disposable power sources of the past.
Disposable hearing aid batteries have historically been the power source of choice amongst manufacturers, with size 312 batteries serving as one of the more common battery types. Today, the most prominent version of these batteries is generally known as a “zinc-air” battery.
The Drawback to Disposable Hearing Aid Batteries
The presence of air effects a zinc-air battery, as the name indicates. The user has to pull a small tab off the back of a 312 zinc-air battery in order to activate it.
They will start draining power as soon as they are fully oxygenated. That means power is beginning to deplete whether the user is ready for it or not.
Most users consider the length of life to be the biggest disadvantage of disposable batteries. Some reports have cited the average life expectancy of a size 312 disposable battery to be from 3 and 12 days, which means users could switch out their batteries around 120 times per year.
Because of this, besides needing to buy 120 batteries, the user will have to change and properly dispose of batteries at least two times a week. From a cost point of view alone, that likely means more than $100 in battery costs.
Rechargeable battery Improvements
Rechargeable hearing aid technology has progressed to the point where it’s now a practical solution and that’s great news for individuals who use hearing aids.
Studies have revealed that most people overwhelmingly prefer to wear rechargeable hearing aids. Until now these models have traditionally struggled to supply a long enough charge to make them practical. However, modern advancements now facilitate a full day of use per charge.
Users won’t see substantial cost savings by switching to rechargeable batteries, but where they will see a demonstrated improvement is in quality of life.
In addition to providing 24 hours of use time, these new models result in less aggravation for the user, since there’s no more changing and properly disposing of batteries. They simply need to place the battery on the charger.
When a disposable battery gets near the end of its life it can’t run your hearing aid at full power. And you can’t determine how near the battery is to failing. So the batteries could die at the precise moment that a user needs them the most which could even put them in peril. A faulty battery will not only cause 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 providing distinct advantages. Integrated lithium-ion batteries are one option being used by manufacturers because of their ability to hold a 24-hour charge. You might be surprised to learn that this same kind of technology is what charges and powers your smart-phone.
Another type of modern rechargeable battery is a silver-zinc. This revolutionary technology was initially manufactured for NASA’s Apollo moon missions. With this technology, even your existing hearing aids can probably be updated to run on rechargeable batteries. These batteries, like lithium-ion, will also last all day before requiring a recharge.
Some models even let you recharge the battery without removing it. At night, or at some other time when the hearing aid is not being used, the entire hearing aid can be put directly into the charger
Whichever solution you decide on, rechargeable batteries will be substantially better than disposable batteries. You just have to do some research to determine which solution is best for your needs.
If you’re looking for more information about hearing aid technology or how to determine the best hearing aid to meet your needs, we encourage you to take a look at our hearing aids section.