Contemporary technology has evolved the way we power electronics of all types, from radios to cameras to phones. For years, those looking to address hearing loss have wished for a similar advancement, and the industry is finally realizing the promise of a powerful rechargeable hearing aid battery.
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 Disadvantage
The presence of air impacts a zinc-air battery, as the name suggests. Regarding 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’s turned on and operational.
They will begin draining power the moment they are fully oxygenated. That means power is beginning to deplete whether the user is ready for it or not.
The biggest disadvantage to disposable batteries, for most users, is how short they last. Some reports have estimated the standard life expectancy of a size 312 disposable battery to be between 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. That’s probably over $100 in batteries from a cost outlook alone.
Advancements in Rechargeable Batteries
Rechargeable hearing aid technology has advanced to the point where it’s now a viable solution and that’s great news for people who wear hearing aids.
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. But modern rechargeable batteries will last all day without needing a recharge.
Users won’t see significant cost benefits by switching to rechargeable batteries, but where they will see an obvious improvement is in quality of life.
On top of providing 24 hours of use time, these contemporary models result in less frustration for the user, since there’s no more swapping and correctly disposing of batteries. They just need to place the battery on the charger.
A disposable battery approaching the end of its life simply can’t work at full capacity. And you can’t tell how near the battery is to quitting. As a result, 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 important life moments because of a dead battery.
Hearing Aids Come in Different Types
There are unique 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 viable option that manufacturers provide. And cellphones are powered by this same type of battery which may be surprising.
Silver-zinc technology is another material used for modern rechargeable hearing aids. This innovative approach was initially developed 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 all day.
Some models even allow you to recharge the battery while it’s still in the hearing aid. During the night, or at some other time when the hearing aid isn’t in use, the entire hearing aid can be put right into the charger
Whichever option you decide on, rechargeable batteries will be substantially better than disposable batteries. You just need to do some research to decide which option is best for your needs.
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 look at our hearing aids section.