From phones to cameras to music players, how we power our electronics has advanced. For years, individuals looking to manage hearing loss have wished for a similar progression, and the industry is finally realizing the promise of a robust 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”.
Disposable Hearing Aids Have a Downside
As the name would imply, a zinc-air battery is affected by the presence of air. The user has to pull a little tab off the back of a 312 zinc-air battery in order to activate it.
They will begin draining power as soon as they are completely oxygenated. So the power is depleting even if the user isn’t actively using it.
The biggest downside to disposable batteries, for most users, is how long they last. With 312 batteries, the user may be changing the batteries in their hearing aids about 120 times per year because they drain in 3 to 12 days according to some reports.
Because of this, besides needing to buy 120 batteries, the user will need to switch and correctly dispose of batteries at least twice a week. That’s most likely over $100 in batteries from a cost outlook alone.
Advancements in Rechargeable Batteries
Rechargeable hearing aid technology has advanced to the point where it’s now a practical option and that’s good news for people who wear hearing aids.
The vast majority of people would use rechargeable hearing aids if given a choice according to various studies. Over the years, these models were impractical because they didn’t maintain a charge long enough. But modern rechargeable batteries will last all day without requiring a recharge.
Users won’t see substantial cost benefits by changing to rechargeable batteries, but where they will see a demonstrated improvement is in quality of life.
These new models give less aggravation on top of maintaining a 24 hour charge because the user doesn’t have the burden of constantly changing out the batteries. Instead, they only need to take out the battery and place them in a convenient tabletop charger.
A disposable battery approaching the end of its life simply can’t operate at full power. There’s also no exact way to know how close to being inoperable the battery really is. So the batteries might 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 important life moments.
Hearing Aids Come in Different Types
Rechargeable batteries come in a variety of different materials, each providing 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 provide. You may be surprised to know that this same kind of technology is what charges and powers your cellphone.
Silver-zinc technology is another material used for modern rechargeable hearing aids. This innovative approach was initially developed for NASA’s Apollo missions to the moon. You can even use this technology to update and retrofit the existing hearing aids you’re comfortable with by converting the device to rechargeable power. These batteries, like lithium-ion, will also last all day before needing to be recharged.
Some models even let you recharge the battery without removing it. During the night, or at some other time when the hearing aid isn’t in use, the entire hearing aid can be put directly into the charger
While each of these rechargeable strategies provides considerable benefits over disposable batteries, each approach should be properly vetted to get a complete picture and to identify if it’s right for you.
If you’re searching for more information about hearing aid technology or how to select the proper hearing aid to meet your needs, we encourage you to check out our hearing aids section.