Contemporary technology has evolved the way we power electronics of all types, from radios to cameras to phones. For years, individuals looking to address hearing loss have wished for a similar progression, and the industry is finally recognizing 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 prominent version of these batteries is 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 small tab off the back of a 312 zinc-air battery in order to activate it.
They will begin draining power as soon as they are completely oxygenated. That means power is beginning to drain whether the user is ready for it or not.
Most users regard the duration of life to be the most significant drawback of disposable batteries. Some reports have estimated the average life expectancy of a size 312 disposable battery to be from 3 and 12 days, which means users may need to switch out their batteries around 120 times every year.
That also means users may need to purchase 120 batteries, spend the time twice a week to replace them, and correctly dispose of each. That’s most likely over $100 in batteries from a cost perspective alone.
Improvements in Rechargeable Batteries
Luckily, for hearing aid users in search of another approach, there have been profound advancements to rechargeable hearing aids that now make them a viable option.
The vast majority of people would use rechargeable hearing aids if given an alternative according to some studies. Until now these models have traditionally struggled to give a long enough charge to make them worthwhile. However, recent innovations now enable a full day of use per charge.
Users won’t see substantial 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 charge time, these new models result in less frustration for the user, since there’s no more swapping and correctly disposing of batteries. Instead, they only need to pop out the battery and put them in a convenient tabletop charging unit.
When a disposable battery nears the end of its life it doesn’t run your hearing aid at full capacity. There’s also no exact way to identify how near to being inoperable the battery really is. As a result, users chance putting themselves in a position where their battery may die at a crucial time. Not only is this a safety hazard, but users may miss out on important life moments due to a faulty battery.
Hearing Aids Come in Different Types
Rechargeable batteries come in various different materials, each providing unique advantages. Integrated lithium-ion batteries are one option being used by manufacturers because they can hold a charge for 24 hours. And smart-phones are powered by this same kind of battery which may be surprising.
Silver-zinc technology is another material used for modern rechargeable hearing aids. Originally, these innovative batteries were developed for Nasa’s moon missions. With this technology, even your existing hearing aids can probably be upgraded to run on rechargeable batteries. These batteries, like lithium-ion, will also last all day before needing to be recharged.
Some models even allow you to recharge the battery without removing it. 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 solution you decide on, rechargeable batteries will be significantly better than disposable batteries. You just have to do some research to determine which option is ideal for your needs.
Check out our hearing aid section if you’re searching for more information about what battery would be the right choice for you or any other info about hearing aids.