Rechargeable Hearing Aid Experts
Rechargeable Hearing Aids
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Rechargeable Hearing Devices, Not a New Thing
Rechargeable hearing aids have stormed back into the hearing aid world in the last two years. It seems that they have caught the imagination of both the public and the professional. Rechargeable hearing devices have been around for many years, however, the battery life was always a problem. The battery never lasted a full day, especially when the user was using any type of wireless accessory.
Modern Rechargeable Hearing Aids
The difference between older rechargeables and the modern rechargeable hearing aids is the new battery pack technologies. There are two new rechargeable battery pack technology types being used in modern hearing aids, one is lithium-ion, the other is silver-zinc. These battery technologies have radically changed the efficacy of rechargeable hearing aids. They will now last a full day of use, even with wireless streaming.
Types of Rechargeable Hearing Aids
As we said, there are two types of modern rechargeable hearing aid technologies. Silver-zinc which is provided by ZPower, a US company. Lithium-ion is the second and each hearing aid brand has their own proprietary battery pack. Each of these technologies has its own pros and cons.
Pros & Cons of Silver-Zinc Rechargeable Hearing Aids
Many of the big hearing aid brands have introduced rechargeable hearing aids powered by the ZPower silver-zinc system. However, it seems that many are considering introducing their own lithium-ion powered devices. For instance, Starkey first introduced a ZPower system, however, they introduced their own lithium-ion powered system in February of 2018. There are rumours that others are about to do the same, but that remains to be seen.
Once a Year Replacement: Silver-Zinc batteries need to be replaced once a year. This represents a cost, however, they are cheap enough.
Power Limitations: This is less of a problem with Silver-Zinc technology, because they are much more power dense. However, if you stream a lot of audio (from an MP3 player or mobile phone, etc.), there’s a possibility that the batteries may not last the full 24-hour day.
No more battery changes: The technology ensures that you no longer have to worry about the expense of disposable hearing aid batteries, nor do you have to worry about changing them except for once a year.
24 hours continuous use: This technology delivers a full days use. You should be able to get up to 24 hours use with up to 5 hours streaming.
Flexibility: Because they are removable, the rechargeable batteries can be easily replaced by standard disposable hearing aid batteries in the event of an emergency.
Safety: Silver-zinc is non-flammable, non-toxic and 100% recyclable.
Smaller footprint: Higher energy density means a silver zinc battery can come in a smaller hearing aid.
The Pros & Cons of Lithium-Ion Rechargeable Hearing Aids
Three hearing aid brands have now introduced lithium-ion powered rechargeable hearing devices. Phonak was the first brand to introduce the devices and they were quickly followed by Signia. As I said earlier, Starkey then followed in February 2018. Initially, there was some concern within the professional world about the longevity of lithium-ion battery packs. However, after accelerated testing by some of the brands that fear has reduced. It seems that you can expect a lithium-ion power pack to continue to offer a full days use for at least six years.
Safety: Lithium-ion is a poison, and hearing aids are small enough to swallow, presenting a hazard to children and pets. Lithium-ion also has the potential to go on fire if damaged badly enough.
Sealed Case: The fire hazard of the tech dictates that the lithium-ion battery is integrated into a sealed case. If it runs out of power while still in use, the hearing aid cannot run on a normal disposable battery but must be taken out of commission while it recharges. When a lithium-ion battery reaches the end of its life, it can’t be replaced by the user but must be swapped out by the manufacturer.
Power Limitations: If you stream a lot of audio (from an MP3 player or mobile phone, etc.), there’s a possibility that the batteries may not last the full 24-hour day. In fact, Phonak seem to think that if you stream up to about five hours, the aids will last 14 to 16 hours. This shouldn’t affect most people though since 12-16 hours would be a typical day of hearing aid use.
Larger Footprint: The footprint of Lithium-Ion is bigger than the other option which means slightly bigger hearing aids.
No more battery changes: The technology ensures that you no longer have to worry about the expense of disposable hearing aid batteries, nor do you have to worry about changing them.
24 hours of continuous use: The technology has finally reached the one-charge-per-day standard. You should be able to get up to 24 hours use with up to 5 hours streaming.
Easy charging: Simply drop it in your charger, no hassle.