Emily Martinson, AuD, PhD
Whether you are brand new to hearing aids, or have been wearing hearing aids for years, your audiologist or hearing health provider has probably told you all about batteries. With so many different types of batteries, however, it can be confusing to navigate the different types, models, and styles. Today I’d like to walk through the different types of hearing aid batteries to help you figure out the best type for you.
There are two main types of batteries: disposable and rechargeable. Within those categories, there are four sizes of disposable (sizes 10, 312, 13, and 675) and two main types of rechargeable (ZPower rechargeable and Lithium-Ion rechargeable). Let’s talk about each type.
The most common type of battery used in hearing aids historically has been disposable. These single-use batteries are sold in almost any drug store or pharmacy and come in a number of different sizes, depending on your hearing aid model. The hearing aid user removes a protective tab from the battery to activate it, then manually inserts the battery into the hearing aid’s battery compartment. The compartment is then closed, and the battery powers the hearing aid. Make sure to check with your audiologist or hearing health provider if you are unsure about your battery size.
Disposable batteries are reliable, inexpensive, and easy to find at stores. They are also a great option for people who like to camp, or who do not have reliable access to electricity.
Some patients choose to avoid disposable batteries for a variety of reasons. One of the most common reasons is that they are less environmentally friendly than rechargeable. Additionally, getting batteries in and out of hearing aids requires hand dexterity that people with arthritis, tremors, or other hand conditions may not have. Lastly, many people find changing batteries can sometimes be an inconvenience.
Rechargeable batteries have made massive gains in popularity over the past few years. Although this is just speculation on my part, I suspect this is because people are used to charging their cell phones every night, and so hearing aid batteries are just an extension of what they are already doing.
The first type of rechargeable battery is called ZPower and looks similar to a disposable battery. ZPower batteries can be differentiated from disposable batteries because of their gold-colored top. ZPower batteries are charged nightly on an electric charger but can also be removed in the case of a power outage. This style of battery is popular with campers, as both disposable and rechargeable can be used in the same hearing aid.
The second type of rechargeable battery is called Lithium-Ion. This style is completely contained within the hearing aid, and therefore cannot be removed. The hearing aids are charged every night in an electric charger, and then removed for use in the morning. If you are ever travelling and do not have access to electricity, many manufacturers also make portable chargers to give you extra days of power.
Make sure to touch base with your audiologist or hearing care provider on what style is best for you!