Rechargeable hearing aid battery solutions have existed for a few decades, but until recently, they were not commonly used. In the recent years, rechargeable battery technology has improved in terms of battery life as well as varietals of battery size. These major improvements in rechargeable technology have led to solutions that benefit both the hearing aid wearer and the environment.
In the past, hearing aids required battery changes once a week on average. Over the course of a year, the cost of batteries could be daunting. Furthermore, disposing of batteries posed an environmental issue, with lead seeping out in landfills. Consumers called for a more sustainable solution, and the major hearing aid manufacturers have answered: rechargeable hearing aids.
Rechargeable hearing aids are powered by lithium-ion batteries, similar to the ones found in your phone or laptop. Rechargeable hearing aids are simple and easy to use: simply drop them into their recharging station before bed and wake up to fully charged devices.
Rechargeable hearing aids and rechargeable hearing aid batteries are a great solution for many wearers. For those with dexterity concerns, small hearing aid batteries that require frequent replacement are challenging to say the least. Furthermore, rechargeable hearing aid batteries save wearers a substantial amount of money on replacement batteries, not to mention the environmental costs of tossing out old batteries. When it comes to rechargeable, hearing aid wearers have two options. They can purchase rechargeable hearing aids with the recharging function built right into the device or they can modify their current devices to use rechargeable hearing aid batteries.
As modern hearing aids offer more advanced technology, the devices required more battery power. Rechargeable hearing aids offer wearers a newfound sense of confidence. In the past, hearing aid batteries could run out at any time – and doesn’t always seem to go that they run out at inopportune times? If you forget to pack a spare pair of batteries, you’d be out of luck until you could replace them. Rechargeable hearing aids offer a longer battery life and an easy way to check their levels. Many manufacturers even offer portable battery charger packs for people on the go.
The eCharger is a simple device and easy to use: hearing aid wearers simply place their Siemens/Signia hearing aids into a chamber overnight (at least 6 hours) and wake up to fully charged batteries. The eCharger also functions simultaneously as a dehumidifier. Siemens and Signia rechargeable hearing aids require one pair of rechargeable batteries per year.
Sivantos Group, the parent company of Siemens and Signia, manufacturers the eCharger. The eCharger is compatible with several Siemens and Signia hearing aid models: Carat and Pure (both receiver-in-canal), as well as Motion (behind-the-ear).
Starkey VFusion Rechargeable Battery
Starkey's VFusion rechargeable battery is a great solution for those seeking a way to cut back on the number of batteries they purchase each year - however it does not help those with dexterity issues.
The VFusion is a USB device that recharges special batteries produced by Starkey for reuse in your hearing aid. A single charge gives batteries 18+ hours of power, which then gives hearing aid wearers a level of confidence in their hearing aids as they make their way through the day. To use VFusion, simply place batteries into a USB thumb-drive (which holds two batteries). You could even use your computer to charge these batteries through the USB drive!
The VFusion costs $130 upfront, and then hearing aid wearers only need to purchase two pairs of rechargeable VFusion batteries annually.
Phonak Audeo Marvel: Optional Rechargeable Models
Phonak’s Audeo Marvel is the first hearing aid to offer users the ability to stream audio from bluetooth devices into both ears - without the need for an app or intermediary device. Phonak included optional rechargeability with the groundbreaking Marvel hearing aid release. Marvel models with rechargeability include a lithium-ion battery for use with any of Phonak's three battery charging stations.
Phonak Charger Case Combi
The Phonak Charger Case Combi is a charger, drying kit and protective hard case all in one. The Combi kit includes a cleaning tool in the splash-proof casing.
Phonak Power Pack
For charging rechargeable hearing aids on the go, the Phonak Power Pack can be easily attached to the bottom of the Phonak Charger Case Combi.
Phonak Mini Charger Case
The Phonak Mini Charger Case, with standard USB-C charging outlet, is a compact charger for two Audéo M-R or Audéo M-RT hearing aids.
Learn more about the Phonak Marvel Here
Phonak Audeo B-R Haaring Aids
Phonak’s Audeo B-R is the company’s first hearing aid with a rechargeable battery system. The Audeo B-R is a receiver-in-canal hearing aid that is powered by a new lithium-ion rechargeable battery. Along with brand-new features with the Belong Processing Platform, the Audeo B-R is the first hearing aid with a built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery that provides 2 hours of hearing.
Additionally, the Phonak B-R offers the fastest charging time, for the longest lasting battery power. B-R wearers only need to charge their batteries for 30 minutes, which gives 6 hours of immediate use. A longer charging time yields longer battery life. Phonak B-R hearing aids are charged with the new Phonak Charger Case, and the lithium-ion battery lasts through the lifetime of the hearing aid, which means wearers will no longer need to buy batteries!
ZPower offers a silver-zinc (AgZn) rechargeable battery, which consists of three parts: a rechargeable battery, a charger, and a new battery door custom made for selected hearing aids. ZPower batteries last 24 hours on a single charge. It requires that a new battery door is custom-fitted on your existing hearing aids. ZPower batteries need to be replaced just once a year. Contact us to find out if your current hearing aids can be adapted to the ZPower system.
Why the need for rechargeable?
Advanced hearing aid technology leads to increased battery consumption.
In the past decade, hearing aid technology has come a very long way. These days, most hearing aids are wireless devices that are able to connect to your smartphones and even one model that connects directly to the Internet.
Hearing aid wearers are now able to stream phone conversations, music, and other media from their smartphones directly to their hearing aids through a wireless connection. Aside from these conveniences, hearing aids are also powered by very fast processing platforms and operating systems, providing wearers with incredible features to amplify sound, recognize speech, and locate sounds within their environment.
As with many of our portable electronic devices, hearing aids require a great amount of energy to perform these functions. All of these technological improvements lead to high battery consumption, which comes with its own set of complications.
The real costs of disposable batteries
Most hearing aids operate in the 1 to 1.6 voltage (V) range, with the most common battery being the zinc air. With traditional hearing aids that do not boast new digital and wireless technology, zinc air hearing aid batteries could last anywhere between one to two weeks, which meant binaural hearing aid wearers used, on average, 100 zinc air batteries a year.
However, with the higher energy usage of wireless technology, zinc air batteries last one to two days, on average. This means that 150 billion zinc air hearing aid batteries are disposed of annually by wearers. Obviously, this comes at a cost to both the hearing aid wearer and the environment. Depending on usage, some hearing aid wearers estimate spending approximately $150 a year on hearing aid batteries.
ENVIRONMENTAL COSTS OF DISPOSABLE HEARING AID BATTERIES
Zinc air batteries are not recyclable and therefore harm the environment. Zinc air batteries become an environmental hazard when they end up in landfills and run the risk of seeping lead and acid into underground water supplies.
This begs the question: how do we efficiently and responsibly power our new, advanced hearing aids while ensuring limited battery waste?
The answer: Rechargeable hearing aids.
Phonak Audéo™ Marvel
The Phonak Audeo Marvel hearing aid was released in October of 2018 by the Swiss based hearing aid manufacturer, Phonak. The Marvel is currently the only hearing aid on the market that enables wireless streaming to both hearing aids at once from any Bluetooth-enabled device.Learn more
The Signia Styletto hearing aids are truly innovative in terms of both design and function, offering a slim receiver in canal style and portable charging station. These hearing aids are considered a new category of wearing style, called the SLIM-RIC (Slim Receiver in Canal).Learn more