Rechargeable hearing aid batteries are a great idea – in principle. But are they sensible in real life? When first introduced, rechargeable hearing aid batteries didn’t fit into any models other than the over-the-ear type because they were so large. They also didn’t hold a charge for very long and took a long time to recharge. Instead of the 12 to 14 hours of use that hearing aid wearers need, these early batteries commonly lasted only 5 to 6 hours.
Technological advances since then have improved many things – the size of the batteries, the materials used to make them (and thus how long they hold a charge), and in the rechargers themselves. Together, these enhancements propelled rechargeable hearing aid batteries so far forward that they are now more eco-friendly and often more cost-efficient than disposable batteries. A typical binaural hearing aid user would go through about three hundred disposable batteries in a three-year period at a cost of $300 or more. In contrast, the hearing aid wearer using rechargeable batteries would only need 6 of them for that same three-year period, none of which needed to be thrown away; total cost (including the recharger) would be in the range of $100-200.
One advantage of replaceable batteries that you might not immediately think of is not having to deal with the plastic containers that disposable batteries come in, which tend to be challenging for those over seventy, and thus most in need of hearing aids. With some rechargeable hearing aids, you don’t even need to open them to remove the batteries; simply place the entire aid in a recharging unit over night, and it’s all done for you automatically. There are even portable battery rechargers, the size of a pen, which you can use anywhere because they don’t need to be plugged into a wall socket.
As a result, it can be said that rechargeable batteries are a viable option for hearing aids, one that can help you both to save money and to save the environment. And, you can always revert to disposable batteries in a pinch. If you don’t have access to your charger, just pop in a few disposable batteries in the meantime.