Rechargeable Hearing Aid Batteries

Smart Hearing Aid Technology and Energy Sources

Many hearing aid manufacturers offer products that link up with apps that allow the wearer to control programs and volume wirelessly.

Hearing aid technology has come a long way in the past decade, matching the most advanced smart electronic devices on the market. Many hearing aid manufacturers offer products that link up with iPhones, tablets, televisions, and digital sound systems, with apps that allow the wearer to control programs and volume wirelessly.

These new features certainly increase wearer accessibility. Hearing aid wearers are now able to stream phone conversations, music, and other media from their smartphones directly to their hearing aids through a wireless connection. Through downloadable apps, wearers have a whole world of features at their fingertips.

For people who need an extra boost, the smartphone or tablet activates the microphone to act as an assistive listening device. In particularly challenging noise situations, hearing aid wearers are now able to place their devices near the sound source they wish to hear, whether it is a speaker or music, and directly stream these sounds to their hearing aids. This offers hearing aid wearers two benefits: unfettered, clear sound signals and an added layer of discretion in controlling their hearing aids.

Certain downloadable apps allow wearers to tailor volume and hearing aid features to meet their specific needs, from the control of their smartphone or electronic devices. For people who suffer from tinnitus, some hearing aid manufacturers offer tinnitus solutions in the form of sound therapy, which allows wearers to control the nature or static sounds as well as the “color” of the sound for their specific tinnitus symptoms.

Additionally, many hearing aids are now able to geo-tag locations through the use of GPS. When wearers change their listening preferences, the app has the ability to tag this and archive user options. When hearing aid wearers return to these locations, the hearing aid automatically switches to pre-set preferences, adding a layer of accessibility and seamlessness in the listening experience.

With these innovations, however, comes a new problem to solve: how to efficiently and responsibly power these newer hearing aids with wireless features?

The Problem with Hearing Aid Batteries

Now, with the higher energy usage of wireless technology, zinc air batters last no longer than one to two days, on average.

The more advanced technology a hearing aid boasts, the more energy it inevitably uses. Most hearing aids operate in the 1 to 1.6 voltage (V) range, with the most common battery the zinc air.

Prior to new wireless features, zinc air hearing aid batteries could last anywhere between one to two weeks, which meant binaural hearing aid wearers used, on average, 100 zinc air batteries a year. Now, with the higher energy usage of wireless technology, zinc air batters last no longer than one to two days, on average. It is estimated that 150 billion zinc air hearing aid batteries are disposed of annually. This comes as a cost to both the hearing aid wearer and the environment.

Some hearing aid wearers may find they are spending up to $150 a year on hearing aid batteries alone. At the same time, with so many new advanced features, wearers may find there is less confidence in the lasting power of batteries. Instead of feeling confident that your hearing aids will work for you anywhere you go, you must remember to bring an extra set of batteries with you, just in case. If you lead an active lifestyle, or find yourself often in louder settings, the hearing aid processes more auditory information and drains more battery than normal, leaving you vulnerable if you do not have an extra set.

Consider the math: if you wear two hearing aids, you are replacing two batteries every few days or once a week. Even with rechargeable batteries, they still need to be replaced once a year. Annually, 150 billion zinc air batteries make their way to landfills. As they are not recyclable, these batteries become waste product which run the risk of seeping lead and acid into underground water supplies and become an environmental hazard.

Rechargeable Hearing Solutions

hearing aid wearers may go through their days with confidence, knowing they will not drain their batteries

For the past few decades, rechargeable hearing aids have been available, but were not commonly used. In recent years, rechargeable hearing solutions have undergone major improvements. In early incarnations of rechargeable hearing aids, recharging stations were difficult to operate and still, the battery life was not reliable. Nowadays, rechargeable battery technology has improved in terms of battery life as well as varietals of battery size.

This brings greater benefits to hearing aid wearers as well. As hearing loss is a common condition in older Americans, who may also experience difficulty with dexterity and arthritis, rechargeable hearing aids offer ease of use. Rather than struggling with the small components of the hearing aid to replace the tiny batteries, wearers simply remove their hearing aids, place them in the recharging station at night, and wake up to fully charged batteries in the morning.

Additionally, rechargeable hearing aids reduce the level of lead and acid that seeps into our water supply from disposed batteries. They are also more cost-effective. And, since rechargeable hearing aids are designed to keep their charge for a specific amount of time, hearing aid wearers may go through their days with confidence, knowing they will not drain their batteries.

Siemens/Signia eCharger

From Sivantos Group, certain Siemens and Signia hearing aid models offer the option of rechargeable batteries powered with the eCharger. The eCharger is a chamber into which you insert your hearing aids to simultaneously charge your batteries and dehumidify your hearing aids to remove any moisture.

The eCharger is compatible with Siemens and Signia hearing aid models Pure (receiver-in-canal), Motion (behind-the-ear) and Carat (receiver-in-canal). Before going to bed, place your hearing aids into the eCharger and six hours later, they are fully powered up for use. Siemens and Signia rechargeable hearing aids require one pair of rechargeable batteries per year, saving you from weekly battery replacements.

Starkey V Fusion Rechargeable Battery

Starkey Hearing Technology offers the VFusion Rechargeable Battery System that recharges batteries via USB, for their non-wireless models. The VFusion device charges special batteries produced by Starkey, which have lasting power of 18+ hours. This longevity gives Starkey hearing aid wearers a level of confidence in their hearing aids as they make their way through the day.

The VFusion system is simple to use: simply place your hearing aid batteries into a USB thumb-drive, which holds two batteries. A magnetic surface holds the batteries as they charge, while the USB component makes it simple to charge your batteries with a device or USB-electric power charger. Though the VFusion costs $130 upfront, consider it an investment for the year: hearing aid wearers only need to purchase two pairs of rechargeable VFusion batteries annually – as opposed to the large number with traditional zinc air batteries.

Starkey V Fusion Rechargeable Battery

Starkey Hearing Technology offers the VFusion Rechargeable Battery System that recharges batteries via USB, for their non-wireless models. The VFusion device charges special batteries produced by Starkey, which have lasting power of 18+ hours. This longevity gives Starkey hearing aid wearers a level of confidence in their hearing aids as they make their way through the day.

The VFusion system is simple to use: simply place your hearing aid batteries into a USB thumb-drive, which holds two batteries. A magnetic surface holds the batteries as they charge, while the USB component makes it simple to charge your batteries with a device or USB-electric power charger. Though the VFusion costs $130 upfront, consider it an investment for the year: hearing aid wearers only need to purchase two pairs of rechargeable VFusion batteries annually – as opposed to the large number with traditional zinc air batteries.

ZPower

ZPower offers a silver-zinc (AgZn) rechargeable battery, which consists of three parts: a rechargeable battery, a charger, and a new battery door custom made for selected hearing aids. The ZPower recharging system is more versatile and may work with a number of hearing aids – not just specific batteries as in the case of Starkey (which requires VFusion specific batteries).

The ZPower system is incredibly effective and offers long battery life. Even with wireless hearing aids, the AgZn battery lasts at least 24 hour before it needs another charge. In terms of performance and fit, AgZn batteries do not interfere with the electrical and audio components of your hearing aid. After a battery door is custom-fitted on your hearing aid, you will only need to access this door once a year when it is time to replace the rechargeable battery. This ease of operation comes as a relief to many hearing aid wearers, especially ones who experience dexterity issues such as arthritis.

Since the ZPower system only requires replacement batteries once a year, this is one of the most cost-effective energy solutions.

zpower-hearing-aid-batteries

Find Hearing Aid Providers

It is important to remember that you are not alone in this process. If you are an important friend or family member in the life of a hearing impaired person, you can be that guide. Hearing loss has the potential to be an isolating experience. For people who have been living with hearing loss, finding the right solution is life-changing. Click below to find the right hearing care provider today.

Find a Provider