Modern 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 wished for a similar advancement, and the industry is finally recognizing the promise of a robust rechargeable hearing aid battery.
Size 312 batteries are the most common of the disposable batteries that have typically been used to power hearing aids. Nowadays, the most popular version of these batteries is known as a “zinc-air” battery.
Disposable Hearing Aids Have a Downside
As the name would indicate, a zinc-air battery is affected by the presence of air. In the case of 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 is turned on and operational.
As soon as it is fully oxygenated, it begins to lose power. So the power is draining even if the user isn’t actively using it.
Most users consider the length of life to be the biggest drawback of disposable batteries. With 312 batteries, the user might be replacing the batteries in their hearing aids about 120 times every year because they die in 3 to 12 days according to some reports.
Because of this, besides needing to buy 120 batteries, the user will need to change and correctly dispose of batteries at least two times a week. From a cost point of view alone, that likely means more than $100 in battery purchases.
Advancements in Rechargeable Batteries
Luckily, for hearing aid wearers in search of another approach, there have been significant developments to rechargeable hearing aids that now make them a practical option.
The vast number of people would use rechargeable hearing aids if given a choice according to various studies. Until recently these models have traditionally struggled to supply a long enough charge to make them worthwhile. But today’s rechargeable batteries will last all day without requiring a recharge.
Rechargeable batteries won’t save users significant amounts of money, but they will improve their quality of life.
These modern models give less frustration on top of maintaining a 24 hour charge because the user doesn’t have the burden of continuously changing out the batteries. Instead, they just need to pop out the battery and place them in a convenient tabletop charger.
A disposable battery nearing the end of its life simply can’t operate at full capacity. There’s also no exact way to identify how near to being inoperable the battery actually is. So the batteries could die at the exact moment that a user needs them the most which could even put them in danger. A dead battery will not only lead to a safety concern, it could cause the user to miss out on important life moments.
Types of Rechargeable Hearing Aid Batteries
There are distinct advantages 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 worthwhile option that manufacturers provide. You might be surprised to learn that this same kind of technology is what charges and powers your cellphone.
Another type of contemporary rechargeable battery is a silver-zinc. This revolutionary technology was initially developed for NASA’s Apollo moon missions. With this technology, even your existing hearing aids can probably be upgraded to run on rechargeable power. Just like lithium-ion, silver-zinc can also produce enough power to last you all day.
There are also models that allow you to recharge the hearing aid without removing the battery at all. At night, or at some other time when the hearing aid isn’t being used, the whole hearing aid can be placed right into the charger
Whichever option you decide on, rechargeable batteries will be significantly better than disposable batteries. You just need to do some research to decide which solution is ideal for your needs.
If you’re looking for more information about hearing aid technology or how to select the best hearing aid to satisfy your needs, we encourage you to check out our hearing aids section.