Contemporary technology has evolved the way we power electronics of all types, 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A robust, rechargeable hearing aid battery is finally living up to the hopes of hearing aid manufactures to replace the outdated disposable power sources of the past.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 among manufacturers, with size 312 batteries being one of the more common battery types. The most popular form of this battery, now, is “zinc-ion”.
The Drawback to Disposable Hearing Aid Batteries
The presence of air impacts a zinc-air battery, as the name suggests. When it comes to the 312 batteries used in a lot of hearing aids, the user is required to pull a little tab off the back of the battery before it is turned on and functional.
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.
Most users consider the length of life to be the biggest disadvantage of disposable batteries. Some reports have estimated the average life expectancy of a size 312 disposable battery to be between 3 and 12 days, which means users could switch out their batteries around 120 times every year.
That also means users may need to purchase 120 batteries, spend the time twice a week to replace them, and correctly dispose of each. That’s probably over $100 in batteries from a cost outlook alone.
Rechargeable battery Improvements
Fortunately, for hearing aid wearers looking for another approach, there have been significant improvements to rechargeable hearing aids that now make them a viable option.
The vast number of individuals would use rechargeable hearing aids if given a choice according to various research. Until now these models have historically struggled to supply a long enough charge to make them worthwhile. But today’s rechargeable batteries will last all day without needing a recharge.
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 use time, these new models lead to less frustration for the user, since there’s no more swapping and properly disposing of batteries. They simply need to place the battery on the charger.
A disposable battery nearing the end of its life simply can’t operate at full capacity. There’s also no real way to identify how close to being inoperable the battery actually is. As a result, users risk putting themselves in a situation where their battery may die at a critical time. Not only is this a safety concern, but users could miss significant life moments due to a faulty battery.
Hearing Aids Come in Different Types
There are distinct advantages to each of the different materials that rechargeable batteries are constructed from. 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.
Another type of contemporary rechargeable battery is a silver-zinc. Initially, these innovative 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 requiring a recharge.
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 substantial benefits over disposable batteries, each approach should be properly vetted to get a complete picture and to see if it’s best for you.
Take a look at 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.