What Are The Best Hearing Aid Batteries For 2020?
Hearing aids in the past were powered by a number of different means. There were electronic hearing aids, carbon transmitters, vacuum tube technology and transistor technology (and who can forget the ear trumpet which needed nothing to power it!).
Choosing what you want to power your hearing aid is just one of the important considerations you need to make when selecting the device that’s right for you. It’s important not to run out of power. Currently, you have two choices of battery power: Disposable batteries vs. rechargeable batteries.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of both these power sources to power your devices
Disposable Hearing Aid batteries
- Convenience – if the battery runs out, you can just change it with your spare, no need to power up.
- Size - smaller hearing aids use disposable hearing aids so if you’re after a tiny device, you’ll want the disposable battery.
- Reliability – less malfunctions with disposable batteries than with rechargeable batteries and if there is a problem with the battery compartment, it’s easy to fix.
- Cost – initial cost of hearing device is cheaper than buying a hearing aid with a rechargeable battery.
- Size – they are so small they can be difficult to see if you have vision problems and they are difficult to manage if you have dexterity issues.
- Power drain – due to the size, they run out of power quickly with most only lasting a few days.
- Dangerous – for young children and pets, they are easy to swallow so should not be left around.
- Cost – there is an ongoing cost of purchasing disposable batteries.
Care of disposable batteries
If you do go with disposable batteries, here are some tips to keep them working well in your hearing aids:
- Know the correct size and type of battery for your hearing aid.
- Make sure your batteries are fresh and not past their expiration date. Keep them in a cool dry place.
- Allow the battery to ‘breathe’ for 3-5 minutes after removing the tab – this activates the battery properly.
- Have clean hands when changing the battery to stop grease or dirt from ‘tainting’ the battery.
- Leave the battery door open at night.
- Remove batteries completely if not using the hearing aids for a long period.
In Australia there are no laws regarding safe disposal of hearing aid (button cell) batteries, however they can damage the environment so should be disposed of safely. Ask your Hearing Clinic how they recommend you dispose of your hearing aid batteries. You can support the Australian Battery Recycling Initiative and follow their guidelines for safe recycling of your hearing aid batteries.
Rechargeable Hearing Aid batteries
Now let’s look at the positive and negative aspects of rechargeable hearing aids.
- Convenience – charge up overnight, not having to change batteries or worry about carrying spares.
- Less stress - ease of use if you can’t manipulate fiddley disposable batteries.
- Cost – no ongoing expenditure for batteries. Once you’ve purchased your hearing aid with rechargeable battery, that’s the only cost required for batteries.
- Eco-friendly – due to their long life (up to six years) they are more environmentally friendly than disposable batteries which are dangerous landfill. Australians throw away 8000 tonnes of batteries a year with only 4% of them recycled.
- Power drain – if you use a lot of Bluetooth streaming services with your hearing aid, the length of power will shorten, before you need to re-charge.
- Dead battery – if your battery does go dead, you have to wait until it powers up again, unlike disposable batteries where you just replace the battery.
- Cost – the initial cost for hearing aids with rechargeable batteries is substantially more than for hearing aids that run off disposable batteries.
- Maintenance – if there is a problem with the rechargeable battery the hearing aid needs to be sent away for repairs.
Getting the most out of your rechargeable batteries
There are a few tricks to ensure you charge your hearing aid correctly and get the most out of your power:
- Put your hearing aid in the charger before you go to bed and you’ll have a full power charge when you wake up in the morning – just like you do with your phone.
- Chargers may vary so check with your clinician the correct way to place your hearing aids in the charger. An indicator light will let you know the battery is charging successfully. The light will change from red to green when your hearing aids are fully charged.
- Different rechargeable batteries will vary on how long you need to charge your hearing aid and how long the charge will last. Some brands will give you up to 30 hours of power, however if you stream with your hearing aids, the charge won’t last that long.
- Store your hearing aids in the charger when not in use to ensure they’ll be powered up ready to go when you next wear them.
Choosing your hearing aids should also include a robust discussion with your provider about the type of battery you want for it.
Both disposable and rechargeable hearing aid batteries have arguments for convenience. Think about size, ease of use, cost, maintenance and safety aspects before you make up your mind and what will suit your needs best.