From cameras to phones to music players, how we power our electronics has progressed. A powerful, rechargeable hearing aid battery is finally realizing the hopes of hearing aid manufactures to replace the outdated disposable power sources of the past.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 traditionally been used to power hearing aids. The most prominent form of this battery, now, is “zinc-ion”.
Disposable Hearing Aids Have a Disadvantage
As the name would suggest, a zinc-air battery is impacted by the presence of air. The user has to pull a little tab off the back of a 312 zinc-air battery to activate it.
They will begin draining power the moment they are completely oxygenated. That means power is beginning to deplete even if the user isn’t ready.
The biggest downside to disposable batteries, for the majority of users, is how short they last. Some reports have estimated the average life expectancy of a size 312 disposable battery to be from 3 and 12 days, which means users could replace their batteries around 120 times every year.
That also means users may need to purchase 120 batteries, spend the time twice every week to change them, and correctly dispose of each. That’s probably over $100 in batteries from a cost outlook alone.
Rechargeable battery Advancements
Rechargeable hearing aid technology has advanced to the point where it’s now a practical option and that’s good news for people who use hearing aids.
The vast number of people would wear rechargeable hearing aids if given an alternative according to some studies. Until recently these models have historically struggled to supply a long enough charge to make them worthwhile. But today’s rechargeable batteries will last all day without requiring a recharge.
Users won’t see substantial cost benefits by switching to rechargeable batteries, but where they will see a demonstrated improvement is in quality of life.
On top of providing 24 hours of charge time, these contemporary models result in less aggravation 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 nearing the end of its life simply can’t function at full power. And you can’t tell how near the battery is to failing. Because of this, users chance putting themselves in a situation where their battery may die at a crucial time. A dead battery will not only cause a safety concern, it could cause the user to miss key life moments.
Hearing Aids Come in Different Types
There are unique benefits to each of the different materials that rechargeable batteries are constructed from. Integrated lithium-ion batteries are one alternative being used by manufacturers because of their ability to hold a 24-hour charge. You might be surprised to learn that this same type of technology is what charges and powers your smart-phone.
Another kind of contemporary rechargeable battery is a silver-zinc. Originally, these innovative batteries were developed for Nasa’s moon missions. You can even use this technology to modify and retrofit the existing hearing aids you’re comfortable with by converting the device to rechargeable power. Just like lithium-ion, silver-zinc can also produce enough power to last you for a full day.
Some models even allow you to recharge the battery without removing it. For these, users will place the entire hearing aid on a charging station when they sleep or at another time when the hearing aid isn’t in use.
While each of these rechargeable strategies offers considerable benefits over disposable batteries, each option should be carefully vetted to get a complete picture and to see if it’s best for you.
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.