Rechargeable hearing aid batteries

Rechargeable Hearing Aid batteries may be repeatedly charged and are typically charged every night to provide continual daily use. The daily battery life varies by battery size, chemistry, the amount of energy stored in the battery, the hearing aid programming,and the listening habits of the user. The batteries themselves will typically last as long as one year. There are 3 major types of rechargeable batteries.

Nickel metal hydride (NiMH) hearing aid batteries do not have sufficient energy to last a full day. In addition, they cannot be charged more than 300 times (i.e., cycle life) and, therefore, do not last a full year.

Silver-zinc  batteries offer greater daily and overall battery life than NiMH batteries. Silver-zinc batteries operate on a lower voltage,(1.6-1.7V) and are non-toxic and non-flammable, and there are fewer risks if swallowed or ingested by their family, or pets.

Lithium-ion batteries, on the other hand, operate at a higher voltage (3.6-3.7V) and do carry considerable risks related to flammability and toxicity. Due to these risks, lithium-ion batteries are sealed into the hearing aid case.

Disposable batteries as a backup

Silver-zinc rechargeable hearing aid batteries are often removable from the hearing aid case, and interchangeable with disposable zinc-air batteries. This provides flexibility to hearing aid users when they go “off the electric grid”, or there is a power outage and need to use disposable batteries temporarily. Forgetting to charge your hearing aid batteries is also less of a problem when disposables are available as a backup.

How long do rechargeable hearing aids last on a single charge?

Depending on the hearing aid model, and the number of hours of wireless streaming, the rechargeable batteries provide anywhere from 7.7 (with full time streaming) to 24.7 (without streaming) hours of use time. But, wireless streaming has a significant impact on how much life you can expect out of your hearing aid battery.

Four primary factors influence battery performance:

  1. Advanced features
  2. Wireless streaming
  3. Amount of amplification
  4. Battery current drain

Advanced features

Modern hearing aids employ a number of advanced features, which provide louder, cleaner, more comfortable sound. Technologies like noise suppression and feedback cancellation continuously monitor and process sound in the hearing aid built-in computer. This increases power consumption leading to higher battery drain. These features not only differ among the hearing aids but also by the hearing aid user.As an example, a person with a more pronounced hearing loss may require more feedback cancellation and result in a shorter battery life.

Wireless streaming

A significant amount of energy is used every time you stream audio from your smartphone, TV, iPad, or other wireless accessories. Wireless streaming also happens when your left and right hearing aids communicate with each other to exchange audio or data.

Amount of amplification

For those with more severe hearing loss this means more power consumption.  Also, if one ear has more hearing loss than the other ear, the battery life on the more impaired ear could be shorter.

Battery current drain refers to how fast the hearing aid drains power from the battery. Hearing aid manufacturers typically publish current drain figures for every new hearing aid they produce. When current drain is measured by the manufacturer, hearing aids are put into a “test mode,” which disables advanced features and wireless connectivity which under-states true battery drain in actual use.

Tips for charging your hearing aids

  • Rechargeable hearing aids should be charged every night to maximize battery life. If you charge the battery every other night, this will not help extend the battery life, and could lead to issues down the road. Silver-zinc chemistry must have the opportunity to recharge to full capacity every night to get the best performance from the battery.
  • Leave your hearing aids in the charger when they are not being worn. The charger will not overcharge the hearing aids and will ensure the batteries stay at full charge. Leave in the charger when not in use.
  • Do not unplug the charger while the hearing aids are inserted. If the charger is not receiving power, then the hearing aids will automatically be turned on. This will cause the hearing aids to turn on, and the batteries to begin discharging.
  • Remember, your hearing aids may take up to 7 hours to recharge fully, and the charging lights will turn from blinking to solid green when charging is complete.
Zpower Charger

Storing your hearing aids

  • Short term storage – If you don’t plan to wear your hearing aids for a few days,leave the hearing aids in the charger with the charger plugged in.
  • Long term storage  it’s best to remove the rechargeable batteries from your hearing aids and store them separately.

Hearing aids price & product development update

Hearing Aid merger will effect consumer price and product choices

How will the new Widex and Sivantos MERGER effect the hearing aid community? I will review some of the probabilities.

Usually, when two big companies combine in an industry that’s already highly concentrated, antitrust regulators are suspicious. It can mean less competition, higher prices, slower innovation, and weaker customer service.

But the hearing-aid industry is already in the midst of technology-driven economic change. New low-priced competitors are now challenging the Industry leaders by taking advantage of constant reductions in the costs of advanced hearing-aid technologies. And in the U.S., the “Over-The-Counter Hearing-Aid Act” Which deregulated hearing aid sales is expected to continue making it easy for new competitors to enter the retail market.

The largest Six hearing-aid manufacturers have already responded to increased competition by lowering prices for their entry-level products. At the same time, they have consolidated their leadership in the premium-priced high end of the market with a succession of new, high-tech innovations. And the profits from those high-end sales are helping them continue their traditional investments in hearing-technology improvements.

Widex and Sivantos MERGER should be able to compete more effectively at the entry level on price with affordable, high-quality products. And they will probably continue to compete with the other leading manufacturers to be first to develop and deliver the latest new products and technologies to high-end customers.

So consumers looking for the latest advancements in high priced hearing aids should be able to continue looking forward to a constant stream of innovation from the “Biggest Five Manufacturers,” including Widex/Sivantos. At the same time, they should continue seeing more moderate prices for entry-level custom hearing aids.

“Sivantos” was grown out of the former “Siemens”hearing-aid business in 2015 with backing from EQT Partners, a private equity firm funded by Sweden’s Wallenberg family. EQT is known as a patient investor that has said it’s committed to the company’s long-term growth.

“Widex” has been a family-owned company since its introduction decades ago and is known for its commitment to R&D and constant development. The merger should help meet Widex’s need for a stronger financial foundation to continue competing at both the high-end and entry level of the hearing-aid market.

So, hearing-aid sellers can expect continuity from their sales, supplier and support relationships. And professionals should look forward to more cutting-edge products and technologies coming from the combined company.

However there are countless uncertainties. Especially about how it will impact consumers and the professionals who depend on both companies.

For example, if there’s a big push to save money, consolidation of Home-office functions could impact the professionals who rely on consistent product and sales support from each company. The details will be revealed when the merger is finalized, in about one month

More important will be how the combined companies respond to competition from new market entrants. If Widex/Sivantos and the rest of the “Big Five” are able to compete successfully with new, lower-priced competitors while continuing to lead the industry in hearing-technology innovation, then everyone wins.