Contemporary technology has changed the way we power electronics of every type, from radios to cameras to phones. For years, those looking to manage hearing loss have hoped 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. Nowadays, the most popular version of these batteries is generally known as a “zinc-air” battery.
Disposable Hearing Aids Have a Disadvantage
As the name would indicate, a zinc-air battery is impacted 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.
As soon as it is fully oxygenated, it starts to lose power. That means power is beginning to drain even if the user isn’t ready.
Most users consider the length of life to be the most significant drawback of disposable batteries. With 312 batteries, the user could be replacing the batteries in their hearing aids about 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 a week to change them, and properly dispose of each. From a cost point of view alone, that likely equates to over $100 in battery purchases.
Improvements in Rechargeable Batteries
Fortunately, for hearing aid wearers looking for another alternative, there have been profound advancements to rechargeable hearing aids that now make them a viable option.
The vast majority of people would use rechargeable hearing aids if given a choice according to various research. Until recently these models have historically struggled to give a long enough charge to make them practical. However, modern developments now facilitate an entire day of use per charge.
Users won’t see substantial cost savings by changing to rechargeable batteries, but where they will see an obvious improvement is in quality of life.
In addition to providing 24 hours of use time, these new models result in less aggravation for the user, since there’s no more changing and correctly disposing of batteries. They just need to place the battery on the charger.
When a disposable battery nears the end of its life it doesn’t run your hearing aid at full power. And you can’t tell how near the battery is to quitting. So the batteries could die at the exact moment that a user needs them the most which could even put them in danger. A faulty battery will not only result in a safety concern, it could cause the user to miss important life moments.
Hearing Aids Come in Different Types
Rechargeable batteries come in a number of different materials, each providing unique advantages. The ability to maintain a charge for 24 hours is one reason why integrated lithium-ion batteries are one worthwhile option that manufacturers provide. You may be surprised to know that this same type of technology is what charges and powers your cellphone.
Another type of contemporary rechargeable battery is a silver-zinc. This innovative technology was originally manufactured for NASA’s Apollo missions to the moon. With this technology, even your current hearing aids can probably be updated to run on rechargeable batteries. These batteries, similar to lithium-ion, will also last all day before needing to be recharged.
Some models even let you recharge the battery while it’s still in the hearing aid. During the night, or at some other time when the hearing aid isn’t in use, the whole hearing aid can be put directly into the charger
Whichever option you choose, rechargeable batteries will be significantly better than disposable batteries. You just need to do some research to decide which option is best for your needs.
If you’re looking for more information about hearing aid technology or how to determine the proper hearing aid to meet your needs, we encourage you to take a look at our hearing aids section.