The Ins and Outs of Hearing Aid Batteries
One of the most surprising elements of getting your first pair of hearing aids can be how often they require fresh batteries. While there are some models that rely on an internal rechargeable battery, it’s often the case that the smaller models need replaceable batteries in order to operate.
Given how much work those tiny instruments are doing, and how often they do it (typically being worn for an average of twelve hours every day), it’s not all that surprising that hearing aids require weekly or biweekly battery replacements. Once we’ve come to accept this aspect of our hearing aids, we can begin to dive into the different options we have when selecting the best hearing aid battery for our specific model, our budget, and our lifestyle.
The most important element to consider when selecting a hearing aid battery is that it can provide a steady supply of power to enable the hearing aids to run continuously and effectively. Even the slightest differences in battery quality can mean a deviation from clear performance to poor sound and volume control.
That said, it’s also important not to get swooned by over-the-top claims that can actually be more of a sales tactic than an accurate claim. This is especially true when evaluating promises about how long a specific brand of battery will last. The typical range for a standard battery to provide power to hearing aids is anywhere from 3 days to 22 days. The length of daily usage, the hearing aid type, and the power and volume outputs all determine how much and how fast energy is drained from the battery. Your hearing aid professional can give you an accurate idea of how long you can expect your batteries to last with your specific hearing aid model and usage trends.
You’ll know when you need to change your hearing aids’ batteries when the sounds become distorted or you have to crank the volume up to hear sounds you could normally hear fine before (like the TV at its regular volume). Some hearing aid models will even make a slight beep or tone when the battery is low on power, and if yours do this it’s a good idea to make it a habit to switch those batteries right when you hear that signal. Few things are more frustrating than having your hearing aids die while you’re in the middle of a conversation or other important situation, and the unfortunately reality is that hearing aid batteries are known to die fairly quickly. Another good practice is to carry an extra set of batteries with you at all times to avoid the complications a sudden loss of power can create.
Like other kinds of batteries, hearing aid batteries can also lose their charge. You can help prevent this charge loss by keeping your batteries away from magnets and other metal objects like coins and keys. You also don’t want to have stockpile of batteries sitting too long in your cupboard as that will also slowly result in their charge dissipating. It’s important to only every purchase batteries in unopened packages with the seal on each battery intact for this same reason. As soon as that protective seal is removed, the battery begins to slowly lose its charge. Another acceleration of battery drain is when they are exposed to large temperature fluctuations, so be wary of leaving your hearing aids or extra batteries in a parked car or outside in the cold.
A commonly recommended practice to help extend the life of your batteries while they’re inside your aids is to turn off your hearing aid and simply open the battery door when your hearing aids are removed at night. This will turn the power off while you’re not using them as well as allow any accumulated moisture to dry out. If you won’t be wearing your hearing aids for a day or more, removing the batteries entirely will help them maintain their charge. When putting new batteries in your hearing aids, allow them to sit for about 5 minutes after you remove the protective seal before installing them into your hearing aids. This enables air to reach the materials within the battery and helps to activate them.
And lastly, when your hearing aid batteries do die, be sure to remove them promptly, as discharged batteries can actually swell within the compartment and be harder to remove later on. Luckily, hearing life clearly again is worth all the batteries in the world!