Hearing aids these days are powered by either one of two types of batteries: Disposable “button” batteries or rechargeable batteries. For the most part, disposable batteries are still the more common option, though more and more hearing aid manufacturers are making rechargeable hearing aids.
With Americans purchasing about 180 tons of batteries every year, it bodes well for every one of us to go battery-powered at whatever point conceivable. Be that as it may, does that incorporate utilizing battery-powered listening devices? That depends, says Tim Cross, a meeting instrument authority and proprietor of Earline Hearing Care in Hillsboro, Ohio. The focal point of purchasing a listening device, he says, ought to be on the advantages of the instrument itself, not its highlights.
“Everything else being equal, if you can get the same benefits with a product that is or isn’t rechargeable, rechargeable can be a big advantage. But it isn’t something you get because your friend has it.”
What is rechargeable hearing aid?
Battery-powered listening devices have worked in batteries that don’t require ordinary expulsion, contrasted with amplifiers with conventional expendable batteries. Rather than expelling the batteries themselves, you dock your portable hearing assistants every night on a charging unit, like how cell phones energize.
Can I just switch out the batteries?
Switching to rechargeable hearing aid batteries is more complicated than simply going to the drugstore and purchasing rechargeable button batteries in the correct size. You may be able to find the batteries and a corresponding charging station, but they may not be compatible or reliable with your current hearing aid.
Instead, the best thing you can do is talk to your hearing healthcare professional about purchasing new hearing aids that are already equipped with Rechargeable Hearing Aids. Keep in mind there won’t be as many choices available to you.
“The vast majority of hearing aids are not designed to be rechargeable as far as original intent by manufacturer,” Cross said.
So how do you decide if rechargeable hearing aids are right for you? Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of rechargeable hearing aids can go a long way to helping you and your hearing care practitioner pick the best style for you.
Advantages of using rechargeable batteries
Long shelf life. Current generations use lithium ion batteries, which can hold a charge for up to 30 hours and last approximately five years before they need to be replaced.
“It’s a far cry better than what they were in the past,” he said. Previous generations used nickel metal hydride batteries, which lasted about one year. Silver metal zinc batteries—the first to power hearing aids—only lasted six months before they needed to be replaced.
Meanwhile, hearing aids with disposable batteries require new batteries every few days to weeks, depending on the hearing aid model.
Safer for kids. Disposable button batteries are extremely dangerous if accidentally swallowed by pets or kids, yet it happens fairly often. Rechargeable hearing aids don’t pose this risk, unless the entire hearing aid is swallowed (which does happen!).
Easier to handle. People who have dexterity issues or those who don’t want to worry about constantly buying and changing batteries might benefit from wearing rechargeable hearing instruments. That’s because disposable batteries tend to be tiny, and the packaging can be difficult to manipulate.
A 90-year-old patient of Cross’s found them to be invaluable. “Quite frankly, you could drive down the street and hear her television or pound on the door and she would not hear you,” he said. “She had limited dexterity and sight — and wouldn’t wear hearing aids because she couldn’t change the battery.”
He fit her with rechargeable hearing aids and kept an extra charger in his office so she wouldn’t have to live without her hearing aids if a problem occurred.
“It totally changed her life,” he said, “and gave her family peace of mind.”
Disadvantages of rechargeable batteries
But not everyone is well suited to wear rechargeable hearing technology.
Cross said that In general, this is exceptionally basic and fundamental, although some people probably won’t think about the past of normal daily practice and procedure, (for example, control blackouts or if grandchildren Incidentally unplug the charging unit). An exceptionally dynamic way of life may require quick access and should not be an opportunity to activate, “he said . “Under these circumstances, it is very easy for the battery to fly to another system.”
Other disadvantages include:
- Lack of user control. “In many rechargeable hearing aids, the battery is encased in the instrument and the user cannot remove it themselves,” he said. “If it happens the battery has to be replaced, you usually have a down time where you don’t have your hearing aids. That can be inconvenient because even a loaner (hearing aid) doesn’t have your particular settings.”
- Dependency on a charging unit. “The battery does have to be recharged every single day,” Cross said. “If you interrupt the charge cycle and assume your batteries are charged and fully functional and then get into your day, one of your instruments may stop working. You also have to deal with what happens if you forget your charger, it stops working or the cord goes bad.