Hearing Aid Batteries
Just like any portable modern device, hearing aids need batteries to get their power. Whether you’re entirely new to hearing aids or just haven’t looked into them in a while, it may be worth reviewing the information below as new rechargeable technology has made a big impact on the hearing aid batteries market. Whether you choose hearing aids that use disposable or rechargeable batteries, Exceptional Hearing Care is here to help you find what you need.
Disposable Zinc-Air Batteries
Zinc-air has been a reliable, powerful choice for many decades now. These batteries work thanks to a reaction that occurs between zinc and oxygen. The batteries can remain stable for up to three years after manufacturing with the zinc component sealed against the air, after which point they degrade and do not provide the expected power.
For that reason, it’s usually a good idea to find the freshest zinc-air batteries available. Typically these come from a hearing care provider who restocks them more frequently, though you can also find these batteries at drug stores, department stores, grocery stores, electronics stores, and even some gas stations. If there is civilization nearby, you are usually not too far from a package of hearing aid batteries.
Zinc-air batteries, as mentioned, come with a seal that keeps the oxygen out of them until you are ready to use them. This seal is a color-coded sticky tab. The colors indicate the size of the battery, which is helpful especially if you live with someone who wears a different type of hearing aid than you do and needs their own stash of batteries. When you’re ready to use a battery, remove the tab and let it sit in the open air for about one minute before inserting it into your hearing aid. Once the tab is pulled, the batteries cannot be resealed, so try never to pull a seal unless you’re sure you’re going to start using the battery immediately.
The largest zinc-air batteries are about half the size of a dime in diameter. These are used in BTE (behind-the-ear) hearing aids and last from 9–20 days, depending on usage. As hearing aids get smaller and put less of a demand on the amplification system, the batteries also have to become smaller. The smallest zinc-air batteries can last about 3–7 days, again depending on the way they’re used and your individual hearing needs.
Hearing aids that use disposable batteries have an advantage over rechargeables in that you never need to spend time around a power source to use them. Simply bring batteries with you, and you could spend a week camping or on a sailboat without having to worry about charging your hearing aids.
On the other side, battery compartments create an opportunity for moisture and dirt to infiltrate the exterior of your hearing aids and damage the sensitive electronics inside. For this reason, it’s important at the end of each day to wipe your hearing aids with a clean, dry cloth, and leave the battery compartments open overnight to allow them to dry out. Periodic professional cleaning will allow your hearing care provider to clean the battery contacts and remove any accumulated debris and moisture from the compartment, as well.
Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Batteries
Lithium-ion technology is used today in everything from smartphones to electric cars. If there’s a rechargeable battery somewhere in your life, chances are it is lithium-ion.
Until recently, lithium-ion batteries could not be made small enough to feasibly power a set of hearing aids for a full day, especially as Bluetooth was becoming more common, but with advances in the battery technology as well as a new Bluetooth protocol that consumes less power, most rechargeable hearing aids easily last up to 20 hours, and sometimes more. Simply wipe them with a clean, dry cloth and place them in their charger overnight, and they’ll be ready again in the morning to provide another full day’s worth of power.
If you forget to charge them, the charging process only takes about three hours to provide a full charge, so you’ll still be able to use them for the bulk of your day.
Because rechargeable batteries last as long as your hearing aids themselves (usually about four to seven years), they don’t require an accessible battery compartment. Thanks to Bluetooth, hearing aids can also be controlled via smartphone, meaning it is no longer necessary for there to be knobs and switches on the body of the hearing aid, either. This means that your hearing aids can be much less susceptible to damage from moisture and dirt than ever before. Phonak has even released a model from their popular Audéo line that is waterproof up to about one and a half feet!
If you have any questions about the advantages of rechargeable or disposable batteries, or if you’re ready to schedule a hearing test, contact Exceptional Hearing Care today and find out what we can do to improve your hearing health!