rechargeable hearing aids 

 

There is currently a lot of discussion surrounding rechargeable hearing aids. All hearing aid brands currently carry a rechargeable hearing aid model. Many patients prefer a rechargeable hearing aid option, as changing a hearing aid battery weekly can become a nuisance over time. Here are some facts about rechargeable hearing aids:

1. Rechargeable Hearing Aids are Currently not Available in All Models!

Custom style hearing aids do not have a rechargeable option. This Is true for all hearing aid manufacturers. If a patient prefers a custom hearing aid due to issues with dexterity or arthritis in their hands, custom hearing aids are often the preferred choice. Rechargeable hearing aids would not be an option for those patients with more specific needs. However, hearing aid manufacturers are constantly investing in research and development to improve their products, and it is possible that in the future, a rechargeable custom hearing aid will be available.

2. There are Different Types of Rechargeable Hearing Aid Options Available on the Market.

Lithium Ion:

Hearing aids with a lithium ion battery have a built-in battery pack which is never removed and is permanently encased in the hearing aid. Lithium ion hearing aids are placed in a charger overnight to regain power.  The charger also doubles as a dehumidifier to remove built-up moisture in the hearing aids, ultimately extending the lifetime of the devices. Typically, a lithium ion rechargeable hearing aid lasts 24 hours on a full charge.

Patients may find this model disadvantageous if they are in a situation where they’ve forgotten or misplaced their charger, as a regular hearing aid battery cannot be used as a temporary replacement.  In a metropolitan area, a replacement charger could be purchased at a hearing aid clinic for a cost; however, if patients find themselves in remote areas, purchasing a replacement charger may be more difficult due to reduced amount of hearing aid dispensaries.

Z Power:

This type of rechargeable hearing aid uses rechargeable hearing aid batteries. The hearing aids are placed in a charger in a similar fashion to the lithium ion rechargeable hearing aids. The total time of use before a recharge is required varies on the manufacturer, the degree of hearing loss, and the amount of time spent streaming audio from the hearing aid. The average amount of time before a recharge is required is 12-19 hours. Rechargeable batteries are typically replaced once a year for a cost dependent on the clinic where the hearing aids were dispensed.

Unlike the hearing aids using a lithium ion battery, rechargeable hearing aids compatible with Z power batteries can also function with regular, disposable hearing aid batteries.  This is advantageous to the patient if they forget their charger and their hearing aids need a recharge. Hearing aid batteries are readily available at drug stores and hearing aid dispensaries.

NiMH:

The nickle metal hydride (NiMH) rechargeable battery is similar to Z-Power in that it can accommodate a disposable battery and rests in a charger to power the rechargeable units . This system was a popular choice in the past, prior to the greater streaming capabilities of current hearing aid technology. You might hear about these types of rechargeable batteries in the market, but they are far less common, if not an obsolete system, due to their shorter operating time and battery life cycle.