Contemporary technology has changed the way we power electronics of all types, from radios to cameras to phones. For decades, people 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 typically been used to power hearing aids. These days, the most prominent version of these batteries is generally known as a “zinc-air” battery.
Disposable Hearing Aids Have a Downside
The presence of air effects a zinc-air battery, as the name implies. The user needs to tear a little tab off the back of a 312 zinc-air battery to activate it.
They will start draining power as soon as they are fully oxygenated. So the power is depleting even if the user isn’t currently using it.
Most users consider the length of life to be the biggest disadvantage of disposable batteries. Some reports have cited the standard life expectancy of a size 312 disposable battery to be between 3 and 12 days, which means users could replace their batteries around 120 times per year.
That also means users may need to buy 120 batteries, spend the time twice every week to change them, and properly dispose of each. That’s most likely over $100 in batteries from a cost perspective alone.
Rechargeable battery Advancements
Luckily, for hearing aid users in search of another approach, there have been significant advancements to rechargeable hearing aids that now make them a feasible choice.
Studies have demonstrated that most people overwhelmingly prefer to wear rechargeable hearing aids. In the past, these models were not practical because they didn’t keep a charge long enough. However, recent innovations now enable an entire day of use per charge.
Rechargeable batteries won’t save users significant amounts of money, but they will make quality of life better.
These modern models give less frustration on top of maintaining a 24 hour charge because the user doesn’t deal with the burden of continuously changing out the batteries. Instead, they just need to take out the battery and place them in a convenient tabletop charging unit.
A disposable battery nearing the end of its life simply can’t function at full power. And you can’t tell how close the battery is to failing. As a result, users chance putting themselves in a position where their battery may die at a critical time. Not only is this a safety concern, but users could miss important life moments because of a faulty battery.
Hearing Aids Come in Different Types
There are unique advantages to each of the different materials that rechargeable batteries are constructed from. Integrated lithium-ion batteries are one alternative being used by manufacturers because they can hold a charge for 24 hours. You may 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. This innovative approach was originally manufactured for NASA’s Apollo moon missions. With this technology, even your existing hearing aids can most likely be updated to run on rechargeable power. These batteries, like lithium-ion, will also last all day before requiring a recharge.
Some models even allow you to recharge the battery while it’s still in the hearing aid. At night, or at some other time when the hearing aid is not in use, the whole hearing aid can be put directly into the charger
While each of these rechargeable strategies offers significant benefits over disposable batteries, each option should be carefully vetted to get a complete picture and to identify if it’s best for you.
If you’re looking for more information about hearing aid technology or how to pick the proper hearing aid to satisfy your needs, we encourage you to take a look at our hearing aids section.