Once you've purchased your hearing aids, there are generally a few accessories that are necessary to keep them operating properly and in the best condition.
Hearing aid batteries are not a one-size fits all.
While there are rechargeable hearing aid batteries available on the market, the most common type is still the zinc-air button battery. Traditionally hearing aid batteries were produced using trace amounts of mercury to assist with conductivity and stabilize internal components, but all major battery manufacturers now sell a mercury-free variety.
Because zinc-air batteries are air-activated, a factory-sealed sticker allows them to remain inactive until the sticker is removed. Once peeled off the back of the battery, oxygen in the air will interact with the zinc in the battery and “turn it on.” The battery will not be deactivated if the sticker is placed back on the device, so once it is removed the battery will remain in an active state until the power is drained.
Zinc-air batteries remain stable for up to three years when stored at room temperature and in a dry environment. It is important to note that storing zinc-air batteries in the refrigerator actually has no benefits and could actually cause water particles to form under sticker, which could activate the battery before desired use.
While the packaging of batteries will state 1.45 volts, most hearing aid batteries which are tabbed on the shelf will measure anywhere from 1.1 volts to 1.3 volts when tested them with a battery tester or volt meter. Once the tab is removed, the voltage rises sufficiently to power a hearing aid within one minute, but the entire cell could take as long as 24 hours to rise to the maximum 1.45 volts. Un-tabbed voltage after a maximum of one day is 1.45 volts. The important thing to remember is that the hearing aid does not require the full 1.45 volts to operate.
Hearing aids come in many different sizes and styles. Because there are various sizes of hearing aids with different features, the amount of power needed for the device to run differs. Larger hearing aids generally require larger hearing aid batteries. Additionally, hearing aids used for individuals with severe or profound hearing losses typically require larger batteries because more power is needed to help them operate.
There are four common sizes of hearing aid batteries available on the market. The sizes, from smallest to largest, are 10, 312, 13 and size 675. Because size differences may appear trivial to the regular eye or can be difficult to remember, hearing aid battery packaging is generally colour-coded to making finding and purchasing the correct ones easier.
One of the most common questions individuals have about hearing aid batteries is how long they will last. Generally speaking, hearing aid batteries can last anywhere from 5 to 14 days, based on a 16 hour per day use cycle. This is of course dependent upon the size and power usage of a hearing aid battery. Typically, smaller hearing aid batteries don’t last quite as long because their size restricts the amount of power stored in them.
If a hearing aid user is experiencing shortened battery life, it’s possible there is an issue with the hearing device. A hearing aid wearer should consult their device manual or contact their hearing healthcare professional to make sure everything is working properly.
While there generally aren't methods to extend hearing aid battery life, there are a few steps to follow to ensure the power isn’t being wasted.
When not in use, hearing aid batteries can be taken out of the hearing aid and stored in a small, safe place. If this isn’t an option, simply turn the hearing device off when not in use and leave the battery compartment door open overnight. Not only will this help keep battery power from being wasted, taking out the batteries of a hearing aid and leaving the compartment open can allow any moisture that has built up from daily use to evaporate overnight. Not only can leaving this compartment open help maintain battery life, it can help extend the life of a hearing device!
To get optimal performance from your hearing aid battery, always store them at room temperature. Heat exposure has been shown to shorten the life of hearing batteries, in addition to a humid environment such as a bathroom or inside the car.
Also, batteries shouldn’t be carried loose in pockets, a purse or a backpack where they might come into contact with other metal pieces. Items such as change or keys can short-circuit the hearing aid batteries.