Today’s advanced hearing aids are miniature miracles, offering a host of features designed to not only enhance your hearing experience, but also enhance your lifestyle. Modern hearing aids can be personalized just for you.
Tiny batteries keep these small wonders working, and the choice of battery may be just as important to lifestyle as your choice of hearing aid. There are a number of hearing aid batteries to choose from, but just two main types – rechargeable and disposable. We’ll compare the pros and cons of both, how long hearing aid batteries last, how to extend battery life and how to care for your batteries.
Currently, rechargeable batteries are only available for behind-the-ear (BTE) style hearing aids. These batteries are best recharged at night when you take out your hearing aids to sleep.
Advantages include a long shelf life and long charge time. Lithium-ion batteries last up to 5 years and can hold a charge up to 30 hours. Rechargeable batteries pose less risk to small children and pets, who have a habit of putting all manner of objects in their mouths, including small disposable button batteries.
If dexterity is an issue, rechargeable batteries may be for you. Disposable button batteries are smaller than a dime and easy to fumble even with the finest of motor skills, much less actually place in the hearing aid properly.
Rechargeable batteries do have a few disadvantages, such as slightly increased cost, a required charging unit, and no control over the battery life, requiring a trip to your audiologist for replacement or any other issues.
There are various disposable batteries available, which are all zinc-air button batteries. These “button batteries” are activated by interaction with oxygen, so they remain inactive until you peel off a sticker to allow it to activate. Once the sticker is removed, it cannot be replaced and the power will continue to drain regardless of whether you use the battery.
Disposable batteries also come in different sizes and styles depending on your hearing aid’s power needs. The larger the hearing aid or the more gadgets and hearing aid wizardry involved, the larger the battery required.
The four sizes are assigned numbers that don’t give any indication of the actual size – 10, 312, 13 and 675, from smallest to largest. A more helpful feature for sizing is their color-coded packaging, making finding the right battery much easier.
Disadvantages include primarily that tiny size. The small nature of disposable batteries poses a myriad of problems. In the danger category, according to the National Capital Poison Control Center, over 3,500 Americans, and not just children, swallow disposable button batteries every year – not to mention pets.
Then there’s the aforementioned dexterity issue. You have to open that tiny door, extract a tinier battery from its packaging, and correctly insert the tiny battery properly in its tiny compartment and hope you’ll hear those blessed chimes indicating you’ve done it correctly. Some manufacturers include a magnetic tool to help. It’s tiny, of course, and you’d have to keep it with you at all times and find it in a pinch.
Battery life can also be a disadvantage, as you’ll likely always require spare batteries on hand no matter where you are.
Assuming a 14-hour day of wearing your hearing aid, you can expect your disposable battery to last from two days to two weeks or longer, depending on the power needed and the size of the battery. If your battery isn’t living its life to the fullest, you should check the manual or contact your audiologist to be sure there isn’t an issue with the hearing aid.
|Size code – smallest to largest||Average battery lifespan in days||Used in hearing aid type(s)||Color||Dimensions (actual size)|
|10||3 to 7||Mini RITE, CIC||Yellow||5.8 mm x 3.6 mm|
|312||3 to 10||Mini BTE, RITE, ITC||Brown||7.9 mm x 3.6 mm|
|13||6 to 14||BTE, ITE||Orange||7.9 mm x 5.4 mm|
|675||9 to 20||Power BTE||Blue||11.6 mm x 5.4 mm|
Key: RITE, receiver in the ear; CIC, completely in the canal; BTE, behind the ear; ITC, in the canal; ITE, in the ear.
The following tips may help you get all the juice you can squeeze out of those little batteries:
Batteries are available just about anywhere: the pharmacy, the grocery store, your hearing care professional, your recliner where you peruse the wares on Amazon. Whether you’re purchasing name-brand batteries, getting privately labeled batteries from your audiologist’s office or scoring a wholesale lot of size 312 hearing aid batteries on Amazon, most batteries are made by reputable companies that manufacture other kinds of batteries and electronics.
There are a variety of locations in Western New York that will collect and recycle batteries, such as Best Buy, Home Depot, and Lowe’s.
Call or head to your nearest Signia store to help with all your hearing loss prevention, hearing aid, accessory and battery needs: https://www.signiausa.com/store-locator/ .