From cameras to phones to music players, how we power our electronics has advanced. A robust, rechargeable hearing aid battery is finally living up to the hopes of hearing aid makers to replace the outdated disposable power sources of the past.
Size 312 batteries are the most prevalent of the disposable batteries that have traditionally been used to power hearing aids. These days, the most popular version of these batteries is generally known as a “zinc-air” battery.
Disposable Hearing Aids Have a Downside
As the name would indicate, a zinc-air battery is affected by the presence of air. The user needs to tear a little tab off the back of a 312 zinc-air battery in order to activate it.
They will start losing power the moment they are completely oxygenated. That means power is start to deplete even if the user isn’t ready.
The biggest drawback to disposable batteries, for most users, is how short they last. With 312 batteries, the user could be replacing the batteries in their hearing aids around 120 times each year because they drain 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 replace them, and properly dispose of each. From a cost point of view alone, that likely equates to over $100 in battery costs.
Rechargeable battery Advancements
Fortunately, for hearing aid wearers looking for another approach, there have been profound advancements to rechargeable hearing aids that now make them a feasible option.
Studies have demonstrated that most people overwhelmingly prefer to wear rechargeable hearing aids. Until now these models have traditionally struggled to give a long enough charge to make them worthwhile. However, recent developments now allow a full day of use per charge.
Rechargeable batteries won’t save users significant amounts of money, but they will improve their quality of life.
On top of supplying 24 hours of use time, these new models lead to less frustration for the user, since there’s no more swapping and properly disposing of batteries. Instead, they only need to take out the battery and place them in a convenient tabletop charging unit.
A disposable battery approaching the end of its life simply can’t work at full capacity. There’s also no real way to identify how near to being inoperable the battery actually is. As a result, users risk putting themselves in a situation where their battery could die at a crucial time. Not only is this a safety hazard, but users could miss significant life moments because of a dead battery.
Hearing Aids Come in Different Types
Rechargeable batteries come in numerous 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 viable option that manufacturers supply. And smartphones are powered by this same kind of battery which may be surprising.
Another kind of modern rechargeable battery is a silver-zinc. 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 changing the device to rechargeable power. These batteries, like lithium-ion, will also last all day before needing to be recharged.
Some models even allow you to recharge the battery without removing it. For these, users will place the entire hearing aid on a charging station when they sleep or during another time when the hearing aid is not in use.
Whichever solution you decide on, rechargeable batteries will be substantially better than disposable batteries. You just have to do some research to determine which option is ideal for your needs.
If you’re looking for more information about hearing aid technology or how to select the best hearing aid to satisfy your needs, we encourage you to take a look at our hearing aids section.