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Hearing aids can come with either disposable or rechargeable batteries. Rechargeable options are becoming increasingly popular with users and manufacturers.
Rechargeable hearing aids have built-in batteries that require regular charging, using a charging station or dock.
Non-rechargeable hearing aids require the removal and changing of disposable batteries.
This article explores the pros and cons of rechargeable hearing aids, a list of these models from different brands, alternatives, and hearing aid health.
Some people may prefer rechargeable batteries as they just have to plug them in to charge rather than physically changing the batteries. A few other advantages of rechargeable hearing aids are:
- Cost-effective: A person does not need to regularly purchase spare batteries that are compatible with their hearing aids.
- Durability: The battery does not come out of the hearing aid, so there is less chance of damage to the device and the battery.
- Longer battery life: Most rechargeable hearing aids use lithium-ion batteries that last for years before needing a replacement.
- Easy to use: Compared to disposable batteries, rechargeable hearing aid batteries do not require a person to have visual accuracy to use.
- Eco-friendly: A person does not need to dispose of batteries regularly, so they are better for the environment.
- No swallow or insertion hazards: Disposable batteries create hazards for children and animals if left lying around. A child can swallow small batteries or place them in their ear or nose.
Some potential disadvantages of rechargeable hearing aids include reliance on charging points. Style options may also be more limited than with disposable battery models.
There are, however, some companies that sell various styles of rechargeable hearing aids.
Many brands offer a rechargeable hearing aid option. Here are examples from three leading hearing aid manufacturers.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based.
This Starkey model is their most recent adaptation and is available in the following styles: Behind-the-Ear (BTE), Receiver-in-Canal (RIC), In-the-Ear (ITE), and In-the-Canal (ITC). All of these styles are rechargeable.
Starkey offers a variety of different chargers. They claim that the aids have 24-hours of battery life when fully charged. They also state that a person can fully charge the battery in 3.5 hours.
Starkey sells a Mini Turbo Charger, which is pocket-sized and wireless, making it ideal for travel. When fully charged, Starkey says this mini charger can charge a pair of hearing aids four times.
This rechargeable Phonak model is only available in a RIC style. It also has Bluetooth connectivity with all mobile phones.
The company indicates that the hearing aids will work for 24 hours after a 3-hour charge, for 6 hours after a 30-minute charge, and 3 hours after a quick 15-minute charge.
Phonak states that they test their rechargeable models to last 6 years and are 15% more reliable than disposable battery models. They also claim that 9.4 out of 10 customers said they were satisfied with charging time and battery life.
Phonak offers a mini charger that is portable and suitable for travel.
The Signia Pure Charge&Go X model is one of a few rechargeable Signia models. This model also has acoustic-motion sensors, Bluetooth connectivity, and is available in various colors.
Signia claims that a full charge takes 3-4 hours, but 30 minutes of charging will provide a person with 6 hours of use.
This model contains a lithium-ion battery. Signia says that this means the model has a longer daily runtime, longer overall lifetime, and less charging time.
A few different Signia chargers are available, but none appear to have a portable design.
An alternative option to rechargeable hearing aids includes using hearing aids with disposable batteries. A person may find that there is a greater range of styles with disposable batteries than rechargeable.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says that by the year 2050, nearly
The WHO identifies some causes of hearing loss and deafness. Some of these potential causes are:
- genetic factors
- infections such as rubella and meningitis
- cytomegalovirus (CMV) and rubella infections in utero
- problems at birth, such as lack of oxygen or a low birth weight
- chronic ear infections or fluid build-up during childhood
- chronic diseases
- nutrition deficiencies
- noise exposure
- medication exposure
- congenital anomalies
Fluid build-up in the ear canal, such as in an ear infection, can cause a reversible form of conductive hearing loss.
The NIDCD says that hearing aids are most useful for people who have sensorineural hearing loss. This is damage that disease, aging, or noise-related or medicine-related injury can cause.
The NIDCD suggests the following tips for taking care of hearing aids:
- keep hearing aids away from moisture and heat
- regularly clean hearing aids as instructed
- avoiding hair care products, such as hairspray when wearing them
- turning them off when they are not in use
- replacing batteries as soon as necessary
Many people consider rechargeable hearing aids more convenient, environmentally friendly, and safer around children and animals. However, there are fewer styles and options of rechargeable hearing aids available. People opting for disposable battery models might have more choices.
A person may wish to consider their budget and their preferred style before making a final purchase.