Hearing Aids With Rechargeable Batteries – Pros and Cons
Rechargeable hearing aids with integrated Lithium-Ion batteries have taken off over the past couple of years since Phonak introduced its model, with other manufacturers taking advantage of the technology. Ongoing improvements to rechargeable hearing aids mean smaller devices with longer battery life and rechargeable times. Rechargeable batteries are so alluring that industry watchers predict they will probably be the preferred option and replace disposable battery hearing aid solutions. But what are the pros and cons?
Rechargeable Versus Disposable Batteries
If you are a hearing aid wearer who spends a lot of time off the grid with no access to power, or you stream audio through your hearing aids for more than 15 hours a day, you may need disposable batteries. With such constant use, it’s possible that rechargeable hearing aids won’t be feasible for you (mind you, you’ll be using a lot of batteries).
Lithium-Ion Rechargeable Batteries
Lithium-Ion batteries are the lightest of all rechargeable batteries and are now commonly used in rechargeable hearing aids. Lithium-Ion batteries are built into rechargeable hearing aids and have a lifespan of three to four years. Rechargeable hearing aids usually have a recharging case with a power cord to plug into a power point so you can charge them anytime, but most users plug them in overnight.
If you’re new to wearing a hearing aid, you’ll soon become accustomed to charging your devices, especially if you usually charge your phone overnight. Many of our clients at ACE Audiology have made it very clear they prefer rechargeable hearing aids rather than those with disposable batteries.
The Pros and Cons of Rechargeable Hearing Aids
There are upsides and downsides to anything, man-made or not. It all depends on your point of view and what use you make of the thing. Rechargeable hearing aids are no exception, so here are the pros and cons:
You never need to carry batteries with you or keep spare ones in the glovebox of your car, your handbag, or your desk at work just in case your hearing aid batteries die at an inconvenient time. Providing you charge up your rechargeable hearing aids with inbuilt batteries for three to six hours a day or night, they can last the whole day.
2. Ease of handling
With rechargeable hearing aids, it means there’s no messing around with small batteries and constantly having to make sure you have enough. In rechargeable hearing aids, the batteries are built-in, which is an excellent benefit for those with arthritic hands who find it hard to handle small, fiddly tasks or have poor eyesight.
3. Better for the environment
When you think about the number of batteries that must end up in recycle bins and landfills, then add the 50 or more you would probably use each year in your non-rechargeable hearing aids, it’s not very eco-friendly. Most hearing aid clinics provide battery recycling, although too many disposable batteries will still end up in land-fill. Most rechargeable hearing aids are therefore much better for the environment.
5. Easy to recharge
Most of us are now in the habit of plugging in the mobile phone to a charger at night before we go to sleep, so if you have rechargeable hearing aids, it’s a simple matter of plugging both the phone and the aids in at the same time.
6. Hearing aids are kept clean and dry
Since your rechargeable hearing aid batteries are built-in, you can’t access them, which means no opening and closing a battery case to change batteries, so there’s less chance of exposure to dust and moisture. This helps the batteries and your aids to last longer.
7. Rechargeable hearing aids best for streaming
You can stream music and connect to your mobile phone with ease using your modern hearing aids via Bluetooth technology. However, these features do use up a lot of disposable battery power quickly. But rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries let you stream for up to five hours, and if you need more power you can opt for a portable charger.
The battery can’t be removed by the user of a rechargeable hearing aid, so there’s less chance of accidental damage to the aid or the battery.
9. No swallow hazards
Rechargeable hearing aids have built-in batteries, and the user cannot gain access to them. This means they don’t pose a swallow hazard to children or animals, and children can’t poke them up their noses or into their ears.
1. The size of your rechargeable hearing aid
Rechargeable hearing devices do need to be larger than those devices that use disposable batteries. So if you want a smaller device that is not as visible, some rechargeable hearing aids won’t suit you. However, the manufacturers are now making more compact rechargeable hearing aids that are more discreet.
2. You have to remember to recharge
If you don’t always wear your aids, you should remember to take them with you when you go out, or if you go on holiday to take the charger, but to recharge them daily. With disposable battery-powered devices, you can change them, but not with rechargeable hearing aids. They must be recharged daily.
Rechargeable hearing aids and those that come with hearing aids that come with a rechargeable battery do cost a little more. When it comes to choosing the ‘right’ hearing aid, it’s always best to discuss all the options with your hearing care clinician.
4. Swallow hazard
If disposable hearing aid batteries are left lying around, they could pose a swallow or insertion hazard.
Call us today to schedule an appointment with an ACE Audiology hearing professional to discuss your rechargeable hearing aid and discuss the pros and cons, and your options. Phone our Bulleen clinic on 03 9850 8888 or Ivanhoe on 03 9440 9409.