How Hearing Aid Batteries Work
Hearing aids use zinc air batteries. Zinc air batteries need air to activate and "power up." Once the tab is removed, you can see the tiny holes on the battery; these holes are what allow air to enter the battery and power it up. To get the most out of your batteries you should let the battery sit for 5 minutes after removing the tab, before closing the battery door of the hearing aid.
The reason to let the battery set is to allow air time to get into the battery. If you take the tab off and immediately put the battery in the hearing aid, you limit the amount of air it is exposed to. This could cause the battery to seem “dead” because the voltage could not reach the necessary level to power on the hearing aid. If this happens when you first put the battery in the hearing aid, take the battery out and let it set. This allows air to enter the cell and increase voltage. After 5 minutes, put the battery back into the hearing aid and try it again.
There is no definite answer for how long your hearing aid batteries should last. There are numerous factors that affect how long a battery will last and each person has a different combination of these factors. Essentially, each person has a unique hearing loss "fingerprint." No one fingerprint will be exactly alike; therefore, no one person will have the exact same battery life as another.
Factors that affect battery life:
- Amount of hearing loss: As the severity of hearing loss increases, increased amplification is required. This causes an increase in the current being drained from the battery, which reduces battery life. Therefore, the more severe hearing loss a person has, the shorter the battery life.
- Amount of hearing aid usage: Most people refer to days when referencing battery life, but what is the definition of “a day” to each person? Some people only wear their hearing aids 4 hours a day, others wear them 16 hours a day. Hours that the battery lasts is a more accurate way to compare battery life.
- The hearing aid itself: The more advanced the aid is, the more power is required. This concept is similar to a cell phone. The more features you use on your phone, the faster the battery dies.
The best way to get a good estimate on what your battery life should be is for you to test the battery. Write down the date you started using a battery and the date it died. Once you use up all the batteries in a package, you should get a good range of how long your battery should last. Your Audiologist will also be able to give you a general estimation of how long your battery will last based on your individual factors.
Store batteries at room temperature. Batteries should not be carried loosely in your pocket or purse. If a battery comes into contact with a metal object such as coins, keys, or other batteries, the battery may short out, leak, or in rare incidences even rupture.
A fresh battery is better than an aged battery. When batteries set on a shelf or in a warehouse, they slowly lose their energy.
Temperature fluctuations and the slow seepage of air into the battery are some of the factors that can affect the life of the battery while it sets.
Use a "dry aid kit" in the summer months to help fight the harmful effects of humidity on hearing aids. This keeps the circuitry, electronic components, and battery compartment of the hearing aid free of moisture from the air and/or perspiration. Remove the battery from the aid while using the dry aid kit. A good rule of thumb to use is when your skin feels dry and needs moisture; it is time to stop using your dry aid kit.
*The Place for Better Hearing offers hearing aid batteries at Buy One Get One Free (BOGO) during the months of June and December.