Contemporary technology has changed the way we power electronics of all types, from radios to cameras to phones. A robust, rechargeable hearing aid battery is finally realizing the hopes of hearing aid makers to replace the outdated disposable power sources of the past.
Size 312 batteries are the most common of the disposable batteries that have traditionally been used to power hearing aids. The most prominent form of this battery, now, is “zinc-ion”.
Disposable Hearing Aids Have a Downside
The presence of air impacts a zinc-air battery, as the name indicates. In the case of the 312 batteries used in a lot of hearing aids, the user needs to pull a little tab off the back of the battery before it is activated and operational.
They will start draining power as soon as they are completely oxygenated. That means power is beginning to deplete whether the user is ready for it or not.
The biggest disadvantage to disposable batteries, for the majority of users, is how long they last. With 312 batteries, the user may be replacing the batteries in their hearing aids about 120 times per year because they die 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 replace them, and properly dispose of each. That’s most likely over $100 in batteries from a cost outlook alone.
Rechargeable battery Improvements
Rechargeable hearing aid technology has progressed to the point where it’s now a practical solution and that’s good news for individuals who use hearing aids.
The vast number of individuals would use rechargeable hearing aids if given an alternative according to some research. Until recently these models have historically struggled to give a long enough charge to make them practical. However, modern advancements now facilitate a full day of use per charge.
Rechargeable batteries won’t save users significant amounts of money, but they will improve their quality of life.
On top of supplying 24 hours of charge time, these new models result in less frustration for the user, since there’s no more swapping and correctly disposing of batteries. They simply need to place the battery on the charger.
A disposable battery approaching the end of its life simply can’t operate at full power. There’s also no real way to identify how close to being inoperable the battery actually is. Because of this, users risk putting themselves in a position where their battery might die at a critical time. Not only is this a safety concern, but users could miss significant life moments due to a dead battery.
Hearing Aids Come in Different Types
There are unique benefits to each of the different materials that rechargeable batteries are made of. The ability to hold a charge for 24 hours is one reason why integrated lithium-ion batteries are one viable option that manufacturers provide. And cellphones are powered by this same kind of battery which might be surprising.
Another kind of contemporary rechargeable battery is a silver-zinc. This revolutionary approach was initially manufactured for NASA’s Apollo moon missions. With this technology, even your existing hearing aids can most likely be upgraded to run on rechargeable batteries. Just like lithium-ion, silver-zinc can also supply enough power to last you for a full day.
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 isn’t in use, the whole hearing aid can be put right into the charger
While each of these rechargeable solutions provides significant benefits over disposable batteries, each approach should be carefully vetted to get a complete picture and to see if it’s right for you.
If you’re looking for more information about hearing aid technology or how to pick the ideal hearing aid to meet your needs, we encourage you to take a look at our hearing aids section.