Are all rechargeable hearing aids created equally?

Are all rechargeable hearing aids created equally?

Last year Siemens and Phonak led the way with rechargeable hearing aids, finally bringing to market a decent rechargeable option for hearing aids.

Prior to this, rechargeable batteries were fraught with problems, but in using the same type of battery as you would get in a mobile phone (Lithium-Ion), Siemens and Phonak had a battery that was reliable and would last all day.

Other hearing aid manufacturers, wanting to capitalise on the popularity of rechargeable hearing aids have now brought out rechargeable options of their own.

•  Unitron – brought out the Tempus range of rechargeable aids in March 2017

•  Resound have the new Linx3D recahrgeable that has just come out this month (September 2017)

•  Oticon’s rechargeable option for the Opn range is coming out in October 2017

Are these companies all using Lithium-Ion technology as well?

No, none of them are. Even Unitron, sister company to Phonak aren’t using it and they clearly have ready access.

Well what are they using instead?

They are using Silver-Zinc batteries. These have taken 10 years to develop for hearing aids, previously they have been mainly used in military and aerospace applications and were originally conceived by NASA.

Similarities with Lithium Ion

•  A full day’s charge

•  Reliable technology

•  Suitable for hearing aids that use Bluetooth

Disadvantages compared to Lithium-Ion

•  Lithium-Ion batteries need to be changed only every 3 to 4 years, SIlver-Zinc need to be changed once per year.

Advantages of Silver-Zinc

•  The components that connect the battery to the hearing aid are three times larger in Lithium-Ion, resulting in a significantly smaller hearing aid if Silver-Zinc is used instead.

•  If you forget to charge the hearing aid, a normal battery can be used temporarily.

•  You can convert your existing hearing aid (if compatible), it’s a five minute job that the audiologist can do.

•  Even though the battery needs replacing after one year, this can be done yourself or by the audiologist. With Lithium-Ion, the hearing aids have to be returned to the manufacturer for them to do it.

•  Environmentally friendly, 95% of Silver-Zinc components are recycled whereas Lithium-Ion are not usually recycled at all.

So which Rechargeable hearing aid should I buy then?

The one that helps you to hear the best! Too many people get hung up on the aspects of a hearing aid that are not focused on the main point which is helping you to hear better. If you haven’t already done so, have a read of this article What are the best hearing aids of 2017.