Modern technology has evolved the way we power electronics of every kind, from cameras to phones to music players. For decades, those looking to manage hearing loss have wished for a similar advancement, and the industry is finally realizing the promise of a powerful rechargeable hearing aid battery.
Size 312 batteries are the most prevalent of the disposable batteries that have typically been used to power hearing aids. The most popular form of this battery, now, is “zinc-ion”.
The Downside to Disposable Hearing Aid Batteries
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 in order to activate it.
As soon as it is fully oxygenated, it begins to lose power. That means power is beginning to drain even if the user isn’t ready.
Most users regard the duration of life to be the greatest disadvantage of disposable batteries. With 312 batteries, the user might be changing the batteries in their hearing aids around 120 times per year because they drain in 3 to 12 days according to some reports.
That also means users may need to buy 120 batteries, spend the time twice a week to replace them, and properly dispose of each. That’s probably over $100 in batteries from a cost perspective alone.
Rechargeable battery Advancements
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 demonstrated that most individuals overwhelmingly prefer to use rechargeable hearing aids. Until now these models have historically struggled to provide a long enough charge to make them practical. But today’s rechargeable batteries will hold a charge all day without needing a recharge.
Users won’t see significant cost savings by changing to rechargeable batteries, but where they will see a demonstrated improvement is in quality of life.
These new models provide less aggravation on top of maintaining a 24 hour charge because the user doesn’t have the burden of continuously swapping out the batteries. Instead, they only need to pop out the battery and put 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. There’s also no real way to identify how close to being inoperable the battery actually is. So the batteries could die at the precise moment that a user needs them the most which could even put them in danger. Not only is this a safety hazard, but users could miss important life moments because of a faulty battery.
Types of Rechargeable Hearing Aid Batteries
Rechargeable batteries come in a variety 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. And cellphones are powered by this same type of battery which might be surprising.
Silver-zinc technology is another material used for today’s rechargeable hearing aids. Originally, these revolutionary batteries were manufactured for Nasa’s moon missions. With this technology, even your current 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.
Some models even let you recharge the battery while it’s still in the hearing aid. At night, or at some other time when the hearing aid is not being used, the whole hearing aid can be put right into the charger
While each of these rechargeable strategies offers substantial benefits over disposable batteries, each option should be carefully vetted to get a complete picture and to see if it’s right for you.
If you’re searching for more information about hearing aid technology or how to pick the best hearing aid to satisfy your needs, we encourage you to look at our hearing aids section.