Modern technology has changed the way we power electronics of all kinds, from radios to cameras to phones. A robust, rechargeable hearing aid battery is finally realizing the hopes of hearing aid manufactures to replace the outdated disposable power sources of the past.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. Nowadays, the most popular version of these batteries is generally known as a “zinc-air” battery.
The Drawback to Disposable Hearing Aid Batteries
As the name would imply, a zinc-air battery is impacted by the presence of air. In the case of the 312 batteries used in many hearing aids, the user needs to pull a little tab off the back of the battery before it is turned on and operational.
They will start losing power the moment they are fully oxygenated. That means power is start to deplete even if the user isn’t ready.
Most users regard the duration of life to be the most significant drawback of disposable batteries. Some reports have cited the standard life expectancy of a size 312 disposable battery to be from 3 and 12 days, which means users may have to replace their batteries about 120 times every year.
That also means users may need to buy 120 batteries, spend the time twice a week to change them, and properly dispose of each. From a cost perspective alone, that likely equals more than $100 in battery purchases.
Improvements in Rechargeable Batteries
Thankfully, for hearing aid users in search of another approach, there have been profound developments to rechargeable hearing aids that now make them a practical solution.
Studies have demonstrated that most people overwhelmingly prefer to use rechargeable hearing aids. In the past, these models were not practical because they didn’t maintain a charge long enough. However, recent developments now enable a full day of use per charge.
Rechargeable batteries won’t save users substantial amounts of money, but they will improve their quality of life.
On top of supplying 24 hours of use time, these contemporary models lead to less aggravation for the user, since there’s no more swapping and correctly disposing of batteries. They simply need to put the battery on the charger.
When a disposable battery nears the end of its life it can’t run your hearing aid at full capacity. And you can’t determine how close the battery is to quitting. Consequently, users risk putting themselves in a situation where their battery might die at a crucial time. Not only is this a safety concern, but users could miss out on significant life moments due to a dead battery.
Types of Rechargeable Hearing Aid Batteries
Rechargeable batteries come in numerous different materials, each offering unique advantages. The ability to hold a charge for 24 hours is one reason why integrated lithium-ion batteries are one viable option that manufacturers supply. You may be surprised to learn that this same type of technology is what charges and powers your smart-phone.
Silver-zinc technology is another material used for modern rechargeable hearing aids. This innovative technology was initially manufactured for NASA’s Apollo missions to the moon. With this technology, even your current hearing aids can most likely be upgraded to run on rechargeable power. These batteries, similar to 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. During the night, or at some other time when the hearing aid is not in use, the whole hearing aid can be placed right into the charger
While all of these rechargeable strategies offers considerable benefits over disposable batteries, each option should be properly vetted to get a complete picture and to discover if it’s best for you.
If you’re looking for more information about hearing aid technology or how to determine the ideal hearing aid to satisfy your needs, we encourage you to take a look at our hearing aids section.