Rechargeable batteries are becoming more and more commonplace in today’s hearing aids. Many rechargeable hearing aids used to use Z Power rechargeable hearing aids batteries, which could be taken out and replaced. However, there were a lot of problems with reliability with this form of battery and manufacturers are now using lithium ion rechargeable batteries. These seem to result in higher overall satisfaction and longer battery life for patients. When it comes to hearing aid batteries, there are always lots of questions, so I thought I would do a Question and Answer format, highlighting topics most often asked by patients.
Q: How long should my battery last?
A: This is a very difficult question to answer. This is often dependent on the type of technology in the hearing aid, the amount of hearing loss, along with the capacity of the battery. If the battery is brand new, it should have a high capacity and last at the upper end of the estimated daily length provided by the manufacturer. If the battery is older however, this capacity will diminish. Another factor that affects battery life is hours of streaming. The more time the patient streams music or phone calls from their cell phone or television from their media device, the more drain on the batteries and the shorter the daily life of the battery.
Many of the new hearing aids that have lithium ion batteries report that their batteries should last four to five years before needing to be replaced.
Q: Will using rechargeable batteries affect the life of my hearing aid?
A: Now many of you may be surprised by this question, as you never considered it! I only include this question because unfortunately, the very first rechargeable hearing aids (which are no longer on the market) were found to negatively affect the life of a hearing aid circuit. I would guess that those aids are no longer being worn as that technology is quite old. The rechargeable batteries that are out on the market today and for the past couple of years have been extensively tested by the manufacturers and found to not have any effect on hearing aids circuitry! So there is no need to worry about this.
Q: Can my batteries overcharge?
A: Your batteries will not overcharge if left on the charger. It is best practice to keep your hearing aids on your charger when not in use. This keeps them turned off and charged. Do not unplug your charger with the hearing aids still plugged into the charger. If that charger is unplugged the hearing aids will turn on and begin to drain.
For long term storage (if hearing aids will not be used for more than two weeks) remove the hearing aids from the charger and hold down the button for a long eight seconds. This will turn the hearing aids off. Store your hearing aids somewhere safe and hopefully you can get back to using them soon!
Q: How often should my batteries be charged?
A: Charge your hearing aids every night. Read your instruction manual to understand how the lights work on your charger, to ensure that your hearing aids have made proper connection within the charger. Charging your hearing aids every night does not affect long term battery life. A full charge for some hearing aids may take up to four hours, so it is best to charge your hearing aids overnight.
Q: What happens when the rechargeable batteries get low on power?
A: First, you will hear a low battery warning. This warning sound varies depending on the manufacturer so again, consult your user manual. Eventually they will turn off. You should have consistent power output until the battery goes dead.
Q: Can you get rechargeable custom hearing aids?
A: Starkey Labs is currently the only manufacturer (as of March 2020) to offer custom, in-the-ear and in-the-canal, rechargeable solutions.
Q: I used to always use a dryer at night for my hearing aids. Now I can’t because I have to use my charger! What do I do to combat moisture related problems?
A: Most manufacturers offer a dessicant pack that can be placed inside the charger to help with overnight drying. Remember, the lithium ion battery in the new rechargeable technologies is sealed inside the hearing aid, therefore moisture ingress is much less of an issue than in previous models.
Q: Can you get the same technology but use disposable batteries?
A: Yes! All hearing aid manufacturers offer both rechargeable and disposable battery options in all of their technology levels. Consider your lifestyle to decide what is best for you. Either way, you will benefit from the sound quality and performance of these new technologies!
I hope you have found any questions you had about your rechargeable hearing aids answered today. Please feel free to contact Adaptive Audiology with any questions!