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Rechargeable Hearing Aids

Aug 18, 2022

While rechargeable in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids have been in use for some time, their popularity has increased since manufacturers began to introduce devices with longer-lasting batteries. Since Phonak launched the first integrated Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery-powered hearing aid three years ago, the other major brands have brought out rechargeable models. Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids have been rechargeable for about five years.

With the continued improvements that are increasing battery life, rechargeable batteries are now so sought after that it’s expected they may soon replace disposable batteries for hearing aid models as the consumer choice.

The following are the main types of rechargeable batteries for hearing aids:

  • Lithium-Ion (Li-ion)
  • Zinc – Air (disposable battery technology)

Hearing Aids ITE vs BTE

There are loads of different hearing aid types available, with the two most popular being behind-the-ear (BTE) and in-the-ear (ITE). 

BTE hearing aids for mild or severe hearing loss are larger than many, with a piece fitted behind and another that slides inside the ear. These are connected by a thin, clear tube or a thin invisible wire. The device is more visible from behind than other kinds of aids. A modest amount of hair usually obscures the presence of that style of hearing aid.

The ITE hearing aids for mild or severe hearing loss are much smaller, sitting inside the ear and often come in skin tones, so they’re almost invisible. A custom mould will usually be made to ensure the aid fits inside your ear. 

The New Rechargeable Hearing Aid

Life for those with hearing loss promises to be easier with a new generation of hearing aid models embracing the latest technologies such as rechargeable hearing aids with Bluetooth. Lithium-Ion rechargeable hearing aid technologies, landed on the market in 2016 with Zinc Air being the mainstay of disposable batteries.

The Lithium Ion rechargeable batteries usually last all day on an overnight charge. The rechargers also have the option of storing energy for up to three days so you can travel and top up your hearing aid battery without the need to plug the unit into a power outlet for this length of time.

Lithium-Ion Rechargeable Hearing Aids

Lithium-Ion is the lightest of all rechargeable batteries and is now used in probably most if not all rechargeable devices like cameras, laptops, power tools, mobile phones, and even cars. 

These batteries provide the quickest recharging time, and they are the longest-lasting battery sold today. Lithium-ion lasts approximately with the capacity declining marginally across this time span.

The Lithium-Ion hearing aid system is an integrated, sealed power pack which means the device is safe from moisture, dust and mishandling.  The downside is the hearing aid must be sent back to the manufacturer for replacement batteries since this cannot be done by hearing aid users or the audiologist. 

However, hearing aids usually come with a warranty that covers the cost of rechargeable battery replacement. Some manufacturers, such as Bernafon, have a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery that can be changed at the Hearing Clinic.

The Pros and Cons of Lithium-Ion Hearing Aids

Few devices, be they new hearing aids, mobile phones, computers, laptops, or cameras, are without a downside, large or small. Lithium-Ion rechargeable hearing aids are no exception. The following is a guide only:

The Pros:

  • With rechargeable hearing aids, you get more than 24 hours of use, and this includes the time spent direct streaming – listening to music or talk shows, watching TV, talking on your mobile, and all of this after only one charge overnight.
  • And the charging is easy, just pop your hearing aids into the charger, and they’re ready for the day in the morning. It’s hassle-free.
  • So, say goodbye to fiddly battery changes and the inconvenience and expense of buying and throwing out disposable hearing aid batteries. Lithium-Ion rechargeable batteries are also much more practical for those who struggle with dexterity. There is also improved safety reducing the risk of swallowing by small children.
  • Your hearing aids will live longer thanks to the Lithium-Ion battery being sealed, making the aids more moisture and dust-resistant. This reduces the need for extra maintenance, improves performance and increases the lifespan of your hearing aids.

The Cons:

  • Your hearing aid can’t run on a disposable battery, so if you forget to recharge, or your aid runs out of battery power while in use, you have to recharge before you can use them again. When a Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery wears out in about five years, you have to send it back to the manufacturer for replacement.
  • For instance, your rechargeable batteries might run out before 24 hours if you stream lots of audio from your mobile phone.
  • Lithium-Ion batteries are larger than other models. However, this is not a problem with behind-the-ear aids.
  • Lithium-Ion is toxic, and since hearing aids are small enough to swallow, they are a hazard for children and pets. Also, if severely damaged, Lithium-Ion can explode or catch fire. 

Call Ace Audiology Today

For more information on the best rechargeable hearing aids, digital hearing aids, hearing aid prices, Bluetooth enabled devices, hearing tests, and Melbourne-wide best service, call us at Ace Audiology in either Bulleen on 03 9850 8888 or Ivanhoe on 03 9440 9409. We have qualified hearing specialists who can answer all your questions. We’re here to help you hear your world.

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