As an audiologist, I have seen firsthand the significant impact that hearing aids can have on someone’s life. They can help improve communication, enhance the quality of life, and reduce social isolation. However, one of the challenges that come with hearing aids is managing their power source. Hearing aids require energy to function, and all people have to choose between disposable batteries or rechargeable options.
When I started my career, there was only one option: zinc-air batteries. Now rechargeable hearing aids are in their 4th generation and have about 80% of the market share vs disposable batteries. Most people choose rechargeables but is it the right choice for you
The Convenience of Rechargeable Hearing Aids
One of the most significant benefits of rechargeable hearing aids is their convenience. With disposable batteries, users have to replace them frequently, which can be challenging, especially for older adults with mobility or dexterity issues. In contrast, rechargeable hearing aids only require users to place them on a charging station overnight, ensuring that they are ready to use the next day. This is easier to do, as long as you remember to put them on the charger.
Counter Argument: Why Zinc Air Batteries May Be Better for Some
While rechargeable hearing aids may be a convenient option for many, it’s important to consider that they may not be the best choice for everyone. In particular, individuals who do not have access to reliable electricity may find that zinc-air batteries are a more practical option.
Zinc air batteries are designed to be long-lasting (about a week for the 312) and provide reliable power for extended periods of time. They are also readily available and can be easily purchased at most drugstores or online. This makes them a great option for those who live in areas where electricity may be unreliable or unavailable.
Additionally, for those who enjoy outdoor activities such as camping, rechargeable hearing aids may not be a practical choice. Without access to an electrical outlet, the batteries may not be able to be charged, leaving the individual without a hearing aid.
While rechargeable hearing aids may offer convenience and cost savings for many, it’s important to consider individual circumstances and needs when choosing a hearing aid. For some, the reliable and easily accessible power of zinc-air batteries may be the better choice.
Cost-effectiveness Of Rechargeable Hearing Aids
While rechargeable hearing aids may have a higher initial cost than disposable battery hearing aids, they are more cost-effective in the long run. Rechargeable batteries can last up to five years, and the cost of replacing them is generally lower than purchasing new disposable batteries regularly. See a full breakdown of all costs with hearing aids over multiple years.
Disposable batteries are a significant source of environmental waste. It is estimated that over 600 million disposable batteries are discarded every year in the United States alone. In contrast, rechargeable hearing aids use fewer batteries, and the batteries they do use can be recycled at their end of life. This means that using rechargeable hearing aids is a more eco-friendly option.
A rechargeable hearing aid now uses lithium-ion batteries.
Another benefit of rechargeable hearing aids is that they often have a long battery life.. Many rechargeable hearing aids can last up to 24 hours on a single charge (the newest last over 51 hours per charge), which is often more than enough for most people’s daily needs. In contrast, disposable batteries can die unexpectedly, which can be inconvenient and frustrating.
Rechargeable hearing aids are more accessible to people with disabilities, particularly those with visual impairments or the elderly. Disposable batteries can be challenging to manage, especially for people with limited dexterity or vision impairments. Rechargeable hearing aids require less maintenance, making them more accessible and user-friendly.
Rechargeable hearing aids are compatible with modern technology, making it easier for users to integrate them into their daily lives. Many rechargeable hearing aids come with smartphone apps that allow users to control their hearing aids, adjust settings, and access advanced features such as Bluetooth connectivity. This compatibility with modern technology can improve the overall user experience.
Rechargeable hearing aids offer several benefits over disposable battery hearing aids, including convenience, cost-effectiveness, environmental impact, longer battery life, accessibility, compatibility, and comfort. While rechargeable hearing aids may have a higher initial cost, they are more cost-effective in the long run and offer a better user experience. If you are considering hearing aids, I recommend discussing the benefits of rechargeable hearing aids with your audiologist to determine if they are the right choice for you. If you would like to see my recommendations, check them out!