From phones to cameras to music players, how we power our electronics has evolved. For decades, people looking to manage hearing loss have hoped for a similar progression, and the industry is finally realizing the promise of a robust rechargeable hearing aid battery.
Size 312 batteries are the most prevalent of the disposable batteries that have traditionally been used to power hearing aids. Today, 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 impacted by the presence of air. The user needs to tear a little tab off the back of a 312 zinc-air battery to activate it.
They will begin losing power as soon as they are completely 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 biggest drawback of disposable batteries. Some reports have estimated the standard life expectancy of a size 312 disposable battery to be from 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 buy 120 batteries, the user will have to change and properly dispose of batteries at least twice every week. That’s probably over $100 in batteries from a cost perspective alone.
Improvements in Rechargeable Batteries
Luckily, for hearing aid users looking for another alternative, there have been profound advancements to rechargeable hearing aids that now make them a feasible option.
The vast majority of people would wear rechargeable hearing aids if given an alternative according to various research. Until now these models have traditionally struggled to give a long enough charge to make them practical. But modern rechargeable batteries will hold a charge all day without requiring a recharge.
Users won’t see significant cost savings by switching to rechargeable batteries, but where they will see a demonstrated improvement is in quality of life.
These modern models provide less aggravation on top of maintaining a 24 hour charge because the user doesn’t deal with the burden of constantly swapping out the batteries. Instead, they only need to pop out the battery and place them in a convenient tabletop charger.
When a disposable battery nears the end of its life it won’t run your hearing aid at full power. And you can’t tell how near the battery is to quitting. So the batteries might die at the exact moment that a user needs them the most which could even put them in peril. Not only is this a safety hazard, but users may miss out on significant life moments due to a dead battery.
Types of Rechargeable Hearing Aid Batteries
Rechargeable batteries come in various different materials, each offering distinct advantages. The ability to maintain a charge for 24 hours is one reason why integrated lithium-ion batteries are one practical option that manufacturers provide. You may be surprised to know that this same kind of technology is what charges and powers your cellphone.
Silver-zinc technology is another material used for today’s rechargeable hearing aids. Originally, these revolutionary batteries were manufactured for Nasa’s 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 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 is not in use, the entire hearing aid can be put right into the charger
Whichever option you choose, rechargeable batteries will be substantially better than disposable batteries. You just have to do some research to decide which solution is best for your needs.
Take a look at our hearing aid section if you’re looking for more information about what battery would be best for you or any other info about hearing aids.