Hearing aid batteries are always a topic of conversation in the clinic, usually encompassing a few similar questions, such as, “how long should my battery last?” “What can I do to make my batteries last longer?”
The size of the battery and the type of hearing aid are the main determining factors impacting battery life. The smaller the battery, the shorter the lifespan. Fifteen years ago, disposable batteries lasted twice as long as they do today. This is because technology has drastically changed, or in other words, improved. And that improvement came at the cost of battery life. Today, a battery that would last two weeks now lasts a week. And remember, when your audiologist tells you what the expected battery life will be with your hearing aids, they are assuming you will be wearing them between 12 to 16 hours day at most. If you plan to wear your hearing aids for longer than 16 hours a day, your battery life will be less than predicted.
Disposable batteries are zinc air batteries, which means you must peel the sticker off the top in order to activate the battery. Peeling off this sticker allows air into the cell, mixing with the components and creating a charge for your hearing aids to draw from. Now, this brings up an important point regarding battery longevity. Wait up to a full minute between peeling off the battery sticker and putting the battery in the hearing aid. This will allow the battery to get adequate air into the cell, therefore allowing it to essentially “charge up”.
As part of general use of disposable batteries, it is important to open the battery door at night. Leaving the battery door shut results in the battery running all night long, and your functional battery life will be drastically reduced!
People often ask if cold or hot weather can affect a battery’s life, and the answer generally appears to be no. Wearing your hearing aids outside in hot or cold weather shouldn’t affect battery life, however extremely hot temperatures have been known to cause excessive battery drain. It is best to store your hearing aids in a dry place with a controlled temperature, like a dresser drawer. Try to avoid storing your batteries, or your hearing aids, in humid environments, like a bathroom.
If you use a hearing aid dryer, you can typically leave the batteries in the dryer with the hearing aids. The only exception for some hearing aid users would be in dryer climates, as the battery is probably already dry and putting it in a dryer might reduce battery life. It may take some experimenting to see what works best for you.
Hearing aid batteries must be disposed of safely, so that they don’t fall into the wrong hands. Because hearing aid batteries sold today are mercury free, they can be thrown away in the trash. Some recycling centers or battery stores offer recycling of zinc air batteries as well.
With these tips in mind, you should have the information necessary to maximize the efficiency of your hearing aids. I hope this article helped provide the knowledge necessary to increase your confidence as a hearing aid user. If you are experiencing unusually short battery life, talk with your audiologist. You may need your hearing aids professionally cleaned and adjusted, or you might have to send your hearing aids in for repair in order to rectify the situation.