Modern technology has evolved the way we power electronics of every type, from radios to cameras to phones. A robust, rechargeable hearing aid battery is finally living up to the hopes of hearing aid makers to replace the outdated disposable power sources of the past.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 typically been used to power hearing aids. The most prominent form of this battery, now, is “zinc-ion”.
Disposable Hearing Aids Have a Downside
As the name would indicate, a zinc-air battery is impacted by the presence of air. 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’s activated and operational.
They will begin losing power as soon as they are completely oxygenated. So the power is draining even if the user isn’t currently using it.
The biggest disadvantage to disposable batteries, for the majority of users, is how short they last. Some reports have estimated the average life expectancy of a size 312 disposable battery to be between 3 and 12 days, which means users may have to switch out their batteries around 120 times per year.
Because of this, besides needing to purchase 120 batteries, the user will need to switch and properly dispose of batteries at least twice every week. That’s most likely over $100 in batteries from a cost perspective alone.
Rechargeable battery Advancements
Fortunately, for hearing aid wearers in search of another alternative, there have been profound improvements to rechargeable hearing aids that now make them a practical option.
Studies have revealed that most individuals overwhelmingly prefer to wear rechargeable hearing aids. Until recently these models have historically struggled to provide a long enough charge to make them practical. But modern rechargeable batteries will hold a charge all day without needing a recharge.
Users won’t see significant cost benefits by changing to rechargeable batteries, but where they will see an obvious improvement is in quality of life.
These new models give less frustration on top of maintaining a 24 hour charge because the user doesn’t deal with the burden of continuously swapping out the batteries. They just need to put the battery on the charger.
A disposable battery nearing the end of its life simply can’t work at full power. There’s also no exact way to know how near to being inoperable the battery actually is. As a result, users risk putting themselves in a position where their battery may die at a crucial time. A faulty battery will not only cause a safety hazard, it could cause the user to miss out on important life moments.
Types of Rechargeable Hearing Aid Batteries
There are unique benefits 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 might be surprising.
Another type of modern rechargeable battery is a silver-zinc. This innovative technology was originally developed for NASA’s Apollo missions to the moon. You can even use this technology to upgrade and retrofit the existing hearing aids you’re comfortable with by changing the device to rechargeable power. These batteries, similar to lithium-ion, will also last all day before requiring a recharge.
Some models even let you recharge the battery without removing it. At night, or at some other time when the hearing aid isn’t in use, the entire hearing aid can be placed directly into the charger
While all of these rechargeable strategies provides considerable advantages over disposable batteries, each option should be carefully vetted to get a complete picture and to discover if it’s best for you.
If you’re searching for more information about hearing aid technology or how to pick the proper hearing aid to satisfy your needs, we encourage you to look at our hearing aids section.