Contemporary technology has changed the way we power electronics of all kinds, from cameras to phones to music players. A powerful, rechargeable hearing aid battery is finally realizing the hopes of hearing aid manufactures to replace the outdated disposable power sources of the past.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. Today, the most prominent version of these batteries is known as a “zinc-air” battery.
The Drawback to Disposable Hearing Aid Batteries
The presence of air impacts a zinc-air battery, as the name implies. The user needs to tear a small tab off the back of a 312 zinc-air battery in order to activate it.
They will start losing power the moment they are fully oxygenated. So the power is depleting even if the user isn’t actively using it.
The biggest drawback to disposable batteries, for most users, is how short they last. With 312 batteries, the user could be changing 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 every week to replace them, and correctly dispose of each. From a cost point of view alone, that likely equates to over $100 in battery purchases.
Improvements in Rechargeable Batteries
Rechargeable hearing aid technology has advanced to the point where it’s now a viable option and that’s good news for individuals who wear hearing aids.
The vast majority of people would use rechargeable hearing aids if given an alternative according to various studies. In the past, these models were not practical because they didn’t hold a charge long enough. But modern rechargeable batteries will last all day without needing a recharge.
Users won’t see significant cost savings by switching to rechargeable batteries, but where they will see an obvious improvement is in quality of life.
On top of supplying 24 hours of use time, these new models result in less aggravation for the user, since there’s no more swapping and properly disposing of batteries. Instead, they just need to pop out the battery and put them in a convenient tabletop charging unit.
A disposable battery nearing the end of its life simply can’t work at full power. There’s also no exact way to identify how near to being inoperable the battery actually is. So the batteries could die at the precise moment that a user needs them the most which might even put them in danger. A dead battery will not only result in a safety hazard, it could cause the user to miss key life moments.
Hearing Aids Come in Different Types
There are distinct benefits to each of the different materials that rechargeable batteries are constructed from. The ability to maintain a charge for 24 hours is one reason why integrated lithium-ion batteries are one practical option that manufacturers provide. And cellphones are powered by this same kind of battery which may be surprising.
Another kind of contemporary rechargeable battery is a silver-zinc. This innovative technology was originally developed for NASA’s Apollo missions to the moon. With this technology, even your current hearing aids can probably be updated to run on rechargeable power. These batteries, like lithium-ion, will also last all day before needing to be recharged.
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 being used, the entire hearing aid can be placed right 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 discover if it’s best for you.
If you’re searching for more information about hearing aid technology or how to select the ideal hearing aid to meet your needs, we encourage you to take a look at our hearing aids section.