Contemporary technology has evolved the way we power electronics of every kind, from cameras to phones to music players. For decades, those looking to address hearing loss have hoped for a similar advancement, and the industry is finally recognizing the promise of a powerful rechargeable hearing aid battery.
Size 312 batteries are the most prevalent of the disposable batteries that have traditionally been used to power hearing aids. The most popular form of this battery, now, is “zinc-ion”.
The Drawback to Disposable Hearing Aid Batteries
As the name would indicate, a zinc-air battery is affected by the presence of air. The user needs to pull a little tab off the back of a 312 zinc-air battery in order to activate it.
They will begin draining power the moment they are fully oxygenated. So the power is draining even if the user isn’t actively using it.
The biggest disadvantage to disposable batteries, for the majority of users, is how long they last. Some reports have cited the standard life expectancy of a size 312 disposable battery to be from 3 and 12 days, which means users may have to switch out their batteries about 120 times per year.
That also means users may need to purchase 120 batteries, spend the time twice a week to replace them, and properly dispose of each. From a cost perspective alone, that likely means over $100 in battery costs.
Rechargeable battery Improvements
Rechargeable hearing aid technology has advanced to the point where it’s now a practical option and that’s great news for individuals who wear hearing aids.
Studies have demonstrated that most people overwhelmingly prefer to wear rechargeable hearing aids. Until recently these models have traditionally struggled to provide a long enough charge to make them practical. However, modern innovations now allow an entire day of use per charge.
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 charge time, these new models lead to less frustration for the user, since there’s no more swapping and correctly disposing of batteries. Instead, they only need to pop out the battery and put them in a convenient tabletop charger.
When a disposable battery gets near the end of its life it won’t run your hearing aid at full capacity. There’s also no real way to identify how near to being inoperable the battery really is. As a result, users risk putting themselves in a situation where their battery could die at a critical time. A dead battery will not only cause a safety hazard, it could cause the user to miss key life moments.
Hearing Aids Come in Different Types
There are distinct advantages to each of the different materials that rechargeable batteries are made of. Integrated lithium-ion batteries are one option being used by manufacturers because of their ability to hold a 24-hour charge. And cellphones are powered by this same kind of battery which may be surprising.
Silver-zinc technology is another material used for today’s rechargeable hearing aids. This revolutionary technology was initially developed for NASA’s Apollo missions to the moon. With this technology, even your existing hearing aids can most likely be updated to run on rechargeable batteries. Just like lithium-ion, silver-zinc can also supply enough power to last you for a full day.
There are also models that allow you to recharge the hearing aid without taking out the battery. During the night, or at some other time when the hearing aid is not being used, the entire hearing aid can be placed directly into the charger
While each of these rechargeable strategies offers significant benefits over disposable batteries, each option 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 ideal hearing aid to meet your needs, we encourage you to check out our hearing aids section.