Have you ever wondered why hearing aids are not rechargeable?
Dr. Teresa Burns, Audiologist at Teresa Burns Hearing explains,
“Rechargeable battery technology and size of batteries has really improved over the past few years. We now have models that change in only a few hours and last 20+ hours on a single charge. This makes hearing aid much more eco-friendly and really easy to use.”
Lots of new choices in rechargeable hearing aids have been launched in the last 1-2 years.
There are now two different types of rechargeable batteries on the market.
The first is Silver Zinc which looks like a gold coloured normal hearing aid battery and can be swapped out, as needed, for a regular non-rechargeable zinc air. This type seems to be most common and is generally supplied from Z Power, a battery company. The silver zinc batteries need to be replaced once per year and cost about $20-$30 each.
The initial investment for the charger is about $400, in addition to the cost of the hearing aids.
The other type of rechargeable battery in hearing aids is a very small Lithium Ion battery which is permanently embedded in the aid. This type needs to be replaced every 3-5 years and must be sent back to the manufacturer to swap out. Having a ‘closed’ case for the hearing aid provides for extra waterproofing, which is good news.
Some hearing aid manufacturers are promising free battery replacement for 6 years.
At this stage all rechargeable hearing aids are the behind the ear/ receiver in the ear style and plug in to a charger every night. A green light illuminates to let you know when the aid is charging and changes when it’s finished. An overnight charge lasts about 20 hours. We may see rechargeable in-the-ear custom hearing aids coming on the market within the next 1-2 years.
“Many people are interested in rechargeable hearing aids, for ease of use, cost and benefits for the environment” says Dr. Burns, “Most of the styles are behind-the-ear, so we need to work out if this style suits you and whether the investment in the charger is worthwhile compared to the normal price of batteries. It’s good to have choices. Talk to your local Audiologist to see what is right for you.”
For more information about hearing, communication and hearing aids you can contact Teresa Burns, Audiologist and Owner of Teresa Burns Hearing Ltd, Auckland New Zealand.
+64 (09) 475 9849 or teresaburnshearing.co.nz
Very interesting! nothing worse than being out & suddenly the battery goes flat & how on earth are my arthritic fingers going to change a minute wee battery .
Absolutely! These new rechargeables will be a huge help for hearing-aid wearers.
I have the Lithium Ion battery in my hearing aids and find the case in which I store and charge them every night extremely useful and I believe keep them clean, dry and safe. Theresa fitted me up a couple of months ago and I wear them all day and love them
That’s very encouraging for others struggling with little batteries – thank you so much for that feedback.
I have two aids with zinc batteries & can confirm that they are so convenient. No more problems of flat batteries when you are out.
It is gratifying to know that the new technology is working out so well!
I have been using hearing aids for eight years with incredible frustration having small batteries that generally last about 2 days before signalling that they need replacing. Not only is this a regular cost but fiddly and infuriating.
Last Tuesday I started trialling a new set of aids that come with rechargeable batteries. It is a short time to feel so delighted with a whole week not having to change fiddly wee batteries but I am unexpectedly even finding these new aids give me better reception. Hearing amid a noisy crowd is even easier that it was previously.
I am really optimistic that things are looking up.
It sounds as if a new freedom is ahead for everyone with this new technology!