Hearing aid batteries have come a long way, and it’s only been relatively recently that they have become so small and efficient. And, these batteries are still evolving. After all, it hasn’t been that long that they’ve been able to last an entire day.
Why think about hearing aid batteries? Truth is, you won’t have the best possible use of your hearing aid without the highest quality and most efficient batteries. Hearing aid consumers have long advocated for the best batteries for a variety of reasons, including:
- Ease of use
- Cost effectiveness
- Environmental friendliness
Here is everything you’ll ever need to know about hearing aid batteries.
Rechargeable Hearing Aid Batteries
Rechargeable hearing aid batteries may seem new, but their technology has actually been around for several decades. Rechargeable hearing aid batteries are built into the device and don’t require regular removal. Charging is as easy as placing the hearing aids in a charging unit, much as you would a smartphone, usually at night while sleeping.
Rechargeable batteries are generally only available in behind-the-ear hearing aid models. They are powered by two types of batteries: lithium-ion or silver-zinc. While most manufacturers now use the lithium-ion for its advanced technological features, with the silver-zinc batteries, you have the option switch them up and also use disposable batteries.
Simple to use: No need to fuss with tiny batteries that need regular changing.
Efficient: Stay charged for 24 to 30 hours; a single rechargeable battery equals about 100 disposable batteries; lithium-ion batteries last approximately five years (once a year replacement required for silver-zinc batteries). Consumers can eliminate up to 120 battery replacements per year with rechargeable batteries.
Easy to charge: Takes about five hours to charge; charger can be used with common power sources.
Cost-effective: Once purchased, no need to keep buying batteries such as with disposables.
One dimensional: Batteries must be replaced by the manufacturer; lithium-ion batteries can’t be replaced with disposable batteries.
Risk for heavy users: For those streaming a lot of audio (e.g. TV or mobile phone), both types of rechargeable batteries (lithium-ion and silver-zinc) may not stay charged a full 24 hours.
A potential danger: Lithium-ion batteries can be hazardous if swallowed by children or pets.
Inconvenience: Silver-zinc batteries changed yearly by manufacturer; fewer hearing aid styles accommodate rechargeable batteries; must depend on a charging unit.
Disposable Hearing Aid Batteries
Despite the rising popularity of rechargeable batteries, most wearers still use disposable batteries (also called “button batteries”). Disposable hearing aid batteries come in different sizes and styles, usually depending on the size of the hearing aids and the amount of hearing loss (e.g. more profound hearing loss usually requires larger batteries and more power).
Color-coding for Disposable Hearing Aid Batteries
Manufacturers are required to use hearing aid battery sizes in color codes, which makes your disposable battery shopping easier.
- 10 yellow
- 312 brown
- 13 orange
- 675 blue
- Size 10 – 5.8 mm wide by 3.6 mm high
- Size 312 – 7.9 mm wide by 3.6 mm high
- Size 13 – 7.9 mm wide by 5.4 mm high
- Size 675 – 11.6 mm wide by 5.4 mm high
Portability: No need to travel with a charger, just hearing aids and batteries.
Convenience: Easy to carry small replacement batteries for changing anytime and anywhere.
Life expectancy: Most commonly used disposably batteries are sufficiently long-lasting, with a life expectancy from three to ten days.
Cost: Battery costs are relatively low.
Sensitive to conditions: Environmental factors (e.g.humidity), amount of usage and other factors can greatly impact battery quality and longevity.
Volume of purchase: Wearers need at least 100 battery changes per year.
Changing requirements: Degree of dexterity needed to replace batteries and must follow certain steps for maximal use.
Tips for Extending Battery Life
How long do hearing aid batteries last? That can depend a lot on how users take care of them. Many users admit to not knowing the basics about extending battery life. These basics include the following tips.
- If you’re not using your hearing aid, turn it off and open the battery door. Better yet, when not using your hearing aid for an extended time, remove the batteries entirely. This helps to avoid trapped moisture and lessens corrosion.
- Note the expiration date on batteries. Even just sitting in a package, battery power slightly drains over time. Buy the newest batteries you can find. It’s best to have an expiration date a year or longer from the time of purchase.
- Check your supply. Use the oldest dated battery packages first.
- Store packaged batteries in a cool dry place. Batteries should be started at temperatures ranging from 50 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Extreme temperatures wear out the batteries.
- Install in a timely manner. Do not remove plastic seal until ready to install, since as soon as you open the package, the power starts draining. After removing that seal, wait five to seven minutes before using. This will permit the air to most efficiently activate the battery.
- Wash your hands. Dirt and moisture can be left on the batteries, and also compromise your hearing aid. Before handling and installing the battery, make sure to wash your hands.
- Invest in a hearing aid dehumidifier. This inexpensive device sucks up the moisture caused by humidity and sweat. The dehumidifier requires no batteries or electricity and using it every night can help increase the longevity of your batteries and hearing aid.
Whether it is hearing aids or their batteries, an experienced audiologist is well equipped to help you make the choice that is right for you. At Sonora Hearing Care we can evaluate your hearing, and help you to understand your choices of hearing devices.