Rechargeable vs. Disposable: Which Hearing Aid Battery Should I Choose?

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Hearing aid technology has exploded in recent years with a variety of designs from In-the-ear (ITE) to In-the-canal (ITC) to Behind-the-ear (BTE) and it seems everything in between. These various hearing aids all come with a myriad of features such as tinnitus masking, Bluetooth connectivity, and wireless capabilities. With the right fittings and adjustments hearing aids become powerful listening devices!

But, what would a hearing aid be without its battery?

Millions of Americans use hearing aids, and according to much of the research now coming out treating hearing loss with these devices can lead to improved health, communication and relationships, but it’s just as important to consider the batteries that make it all possible.  

The most common type of hearing aid battery currently on the market is the zinc-air disposable battery. These little batteries come in several color-coded sizes, #675, #13, #312, #10, and #5, for use in various hearing aids and are the more powerful and safer replacement to the older mercury-based batteries. They have an average lifespan of 5 to 14 days depending on size, use, and maintenance. Zinc-air batteries are air-activated meaning they come with a small tab attached that, when removed, activates the battery.

These aren’t the only batteries now on the market, though. Hearing aid users now have more options than ever, thanks to new rechargeable hearing aid batteries. Several sizes are now available for use in many of the common styles of hearing aids. Rechargeable hearing aid batteries can also be charged in just a matter of hours and can last an average of one year making their higher price comparable to that of disposable batteries. There are two types of rechargeable batteries to know about:

  • Nickel Metal Hydride rechargeable batteries (NiMH) – While these have been in use in hearing aids for many years, they are generally unable to power the new hearing aids with wireless features for a full day.
  • Silver Zinc rechargeable batteries – These are the rechargeable batteries that patients and providers are talking about thanks to their ability to easily power the newest hearing aids for a full day, at the least. The Hearing Review summed these batteries up with the statement: “Silver-zinc rechargeable chemistry in hearing aid batteries appears to be among the most exciting advancement since we first transitioned from silver-oxide and mercury batteries to zinc-air.”  

Rechargeable batteries may not be compatible with certain hearing aid models and features. Discuss your needs with a hearing healthcare provider before purchasing.

Whether you opt for a disposable zinc-air hearing aid battery or a rechargeable hearing aid battery, proper care can help to extend its life and save you money. Battery life is highly dependent upon usage and battery size, but following these tips can help you maintain your hearing aid battery:

  • When your hearing aid is not in use, leave the battery door open to allow moisture to escape
  • Store batteries in a dry place at room temperature
  • Keep batteries in original packaging until use
  • Clean hands prior to changing out hearing aid batteries

Whichever type of hearing aid battery you’re considering for use with your hearing aid, it’s important to work with your hearing healthcare provider. Before purchasing batteries, discuss options and needs to determine the best choice for you.  

 

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