Rechargeable vs. Disposable Hearing Aid Batteries: What Are the 3 Key Advantages and Disadvantages of Each?

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As a green revolution sweeps across the globe, no industry is immune to its effects. Rechargeable hearing aid batteries are quickly becoming the go-to option for those in need of hearing assistance. But what are the benefits of rechargeable hearing aid batteries? Are they really better than their disposable predecessors?

Rechargeable Hearing Aids—The Advantages

Rechargeable hearing aids have been around for almost two decades. However, they have only emerged as a serious option in recent years as new advances in rechargeable technology have allowed for longer battery lives and added convenience.

  • Automatic Adjustments—Many rechargeable hearing aids feature additional features beyond a rechargeable battery. It is possible to get rechargeable hearing aids that automatically adjust to provide an enhanced listening experience, including better signal processing.
  • Long Battery Life—Rechargeable lithium batteries now have a battery life of around 30 hours, a vast increase from years gone by.
  • No Intricate Battery Replacement—For patients who struggle with dexterity and have vision problems, changing the battery on a hearing aid can be a challenge.

The Disadvantages

  • No Charging on The Go—Rechargeable hearing aids must be charged at a power source. This means, if you run out of juice outside the home, you will need to go without hearing assistance or find somewhere to wait and charge them. With disposable batteries, on the other hand, you could simply replace the batteries and enjoy your hearing assistance.
  • Cost—Most rechargeable hearing aids cost more than their disposable battery counterparts. Included in the price is the cost of the rechargeable battery and the charging unit. This inevitably drives the price up.
  • Size—Because lithium batteries are larger than zinc ones, hearing aids that feature rechargeable batteries tend to be slightly wider than their disposable counterparts.

Disposable Batteries—The Advantages

  • Cheaper to Buy—Hearing aids that run on disposable batteries are provided for a lower up-front cost than rechargeable hearing aids. However, you will have to buy batteries separately.
  • Compact—Disposable batteries are smaller than lithium batteries. Therefore, hearing aids that take disposable batteries are often slenderer and less bulky.
  • Independence—Because you are not dependent on a charging unit, hearing aids with disposable batteries offer more independence. If the power runs out, you can replace the battery on-the-go and continue your day without interruption.

The Disadvantages

  • Not Suitable for Children—Disposable batteries are highly dangerous if swallowed by a child or pet. Therefore, those with hearing aids that function on disposable batteries must be aware of where their batteries are at all times and keep them out of reach of young children.
  • Requires Repeated Battery Changes—If you have an aversion to changing batteries, or struggle with your eyesight or dexterity, hearing aids that run on disposable batteries may not be for you. The persistent battery changes will soon become a source of frustration.
  • Less Features—Hearing aids with disposable batteries often do not come with the latest hearing aid technology, leaving users without many of the modern audio adjustment features.

The decision ultimately comes down to personal preference. However, if you would like to know more about the differences between rechargeable hearing aid batteries and disposable ones, talk to your hearing care professional.

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