Getting the Most Out of Your Hearing Aid Batteries


Hearing Aid Batteries
Zinc-air-battery-types by Marc Andressen is licensed under Attribution CC 2.0

You could make a strong case that the most crucial component of your hearing aid is the battery: without it, nothing else works, and if it fails, your hearing fails with it. In this short guide, we’ll reveal to you everything you need to know about hearing aid batteries so that you can get the maximum benefit out of your hearing aids.

How Hearing Aid Batteries Work

Hearing aids take a unique kind of battery called zinc-air batteries. Each one has a sticker that covers small holes on the top of the battery. Once the sticker is removed, air enters the battery through the holes, triggering a chemical reaction that activates the zinc and makes the battery live. When the battery is live, it starts discharging power and reapplying the sticker will have no influence in preserving its life.

Hearing Aid Battery Types

Zinc-air hearing aid batteries come in four standard sizes, marked with standard number and color codes. The four sizes, from biggest to smallest, are:

  • 675-blue
  • 13-orange
  • 312-brown
  • 10-yellow

Each hearing aid uses only one of the sizes, and your hearing specialist will tell you which size you require. Bear in mind that the numbers and colors above are manufacturer independent, but that manufacturers oftentimes add additional letters or numbers to its packaging.

Hearing Aid Battery Life

Hearing aid battery life is dependent on various factors. Many patients get up to one week of life out of a battery if they use the hearing aid for 12 or more hours a day, but this will vary depending on:

  • The size of the battery – larger batteries have a longer life.
  • The level of hearing loss – More serious hearing loss requires additional power.
  • Hearing aid features – wireless capabilities, noise reduction applications, and multi-channel processing, for instance, demand more power to work.
  • Temperature – hot and cold temperatures can lessen battery life.

Your hearing specialist will discuss all of this with you, and can help you discover the right balance between hearing aid capability and battery life.

How to Extend the Life of Your Hearing Aid Batteries

You can very easily extend the life of your hearing aid batteries with one basic trick. Just after you remove the sticker to activate the battery, wait 5-7 minutes before placing the battery in your hearing aids. By removing the sticker and laying the battery flat side up for a few minutes, air is able to fully activate the battery before you start making use of it, which lengthens its life.

A few other tips:

  • Keep the batteries away from coinage, keys, or other metal items that could short the battery.
  • When the hearing aid isn’t being used, turn it off and store it with the battery door open. If you don’t intend on using your hearing aids for an extended period of time, remove the batteries completely.
  • Unopened batteries can last for years; nevertheless, fresher batteries are preferred because each year that goes by reduces the life of the battery.
  • Store your batteries at room temperature. This advice is so crucial that the next section is dedicated to the issue.

How to Store Your Hearing Aid Batteries

There’s a dangerous myth out there proposing that storing your batteries in the refrigerator extends their life. This is not only false; it produces the opposite effect!

The reasoning behind storing your batteries in the refrigerator is that the cold temperature will decrease the discharge of power. While this may be technically true, the amount of power you will save will be negligible, and the harmful effects of moisture will generate far greater negative consequences.

Storing zinc-air batteries in a cold environment enables micro condensation to form in an on the battery, resulting in corrosion and a high risk of premature failure. Therefore, for ideal performance, simply keep your batteries away from extreme hot or cold temperatures and store at room temperature.

Managing Your Hearing Aid Battery Supply

Once you identify how long your batteries last, on average, you’ll want to keep a month’s supply. If your batteries last 1 week, and you make use of 2 batteries (1 for each hearing aid), then you’ll end up using roughly 8 per month. Simply set 8 as your reorder point, and once you consume your supply down to 8, order another pack. Alternatively, you may want to look into the cost savings associated with bulk purchases and maintain a supply that lasts longer than one month. If you’re not sure, we are more than happy to help you set up a strategy and will handle all of your hearing aid battery needs. Just give us a call!


Have any other questions? Speak to one of our hearing specialists today!

Questions to Ask Your Hearing Specialist Before You Buy Hearing Aids

Question Mark

When it’s time to purchase a car, most of us know exactly what to do. We carry out some research, assess options, and compose a list of questions to ask the dealership. We do this so that by the time we’re set to stop by the dealership, we have an idea of what we’re looking for and we know which questions to ask.

When it’s time to purchase hearing aids, in contrast, many people don’t know where to start. While the process is comparable to buying a car, it’s also in many ways more complicated (and probably not quite as fun). It’s more complicated because every individual’s hearing loss is unique and each pair of hearing aids requires customized programming. If purchasing a car was like this, it would be like you bringing it home and needing to install the transmission yourself.

Fortunately, you don’t need to know how to program your own hearing aids, but you do need to know the questions to ask to ensure that your hearing specialist covers all bases, accurately programming the most suitable hearing aids for your preferences and lifestyle. In this manner, producing a list of questions to go over with your hearing specialist is the single most important thing you can do before your hearing test.

But which questions should you ask? Here are 35 to get you started, separated by category:

HEARING LOSS

Specific types of hearing loss require specific kinds of treatment. The more you know about your own hearing loss, the better you’ll be able to compare hearing aid alternatives. You need to determine what type of hearing loss you have, if it will get worse, how soon you should treat it, and all of your treatment options.

Questions to ask:

  • What type of hearing loss do I have?
  • Do I have unilateral or bilateral hearing loss?
  • Can I have a copy of my audiogram?
  • Will my hearing loss worsen as time goes by if left untreated?
  • Will hearing aids enhance my hearing?
  • How much of my hearing will hearing aids restore?
  • What are my other choices aside from hearing aids?

HEARING AID STYLES AND FEATURES

Hearing aids are made in many styles, from multiple manufacturers, equipped with many features. You need a organized way to narrow down your choices to ensure that you get the most suitable hearing aid without wasting money on features you don’t need or want.

Questions to ask:

  • How many different kinds of hearing aid styles do you offer?
  • Which hearing aid style is most effective for my needs and lifestyle?
  • Which digital features would be imperative to me, and which could I do without?
  • What are telecoils and directional microphones and do I need them?
  • Do I need Bluetooth compatible hearing aids?
  • Do my hearing aids need to be professionally programmed?
  • Do I need one or two hearing aids, and why?

HEARING AID PRICES, FINANCING, WARRANTIES, AND TRIAL PERIODS

The total price of a pair of hearing aids often includes the professional fees associated with custom fitting and programming, along with several other services or accessories. You want to make sure that you understand what you’re getting for the cost, if financing is available, if insurance will help, what the warranty includes, the duration of the trial period, and if any “restocking fees” apply to the end of the trial period.

Questions to ask:

  • What is the total cost of the hearing aids, including professional services?
  • Do you offer any financing plans?
  • Will my insurance coverage help pay for hearing aids?
  • How much will my hearing aids cost me each year?
  • Do the hearing aids have warranty coverage?
  • How much do hearing aid repairs cost after the warranty has ended?
  • Are repairs handled at the office or somewhere else?
  • If my hearing aids have to be shipped out for repairs, are loaner hearing aids supplied?
  • Is there a trial period and how long is it?
  • Is there a restocking fee if I return my hearing aids during or after the trial period?

HEARING AID OPERATION, CARE, AND MAINTENANCE

Your hearing specialist should explain to you how to care for, clean, and control your hearing aids. To ensure that nothing is forgotten, see to it that all of these questions are addressed:

Questions to ask:

  • How do I operate my hearing aids?
  • How do I use hearing aids with telephones and other electronics?
  • Can you show me how to use all of the buttons, features, and settings for my hearing aids?
  • What are environmental presets, and how do I access them?
  • Do I require a remote control, or can I use my smartphone to operate the hearing aids?
  • What batteries do I need, how long will they last, and how do I replace them?
  • How should I clean and store my hearing aids?
  • Do I need to come back for follow-up appointments?
  • How long will my hearing aids keep working?
  • Do I need to update the hearing aid software?
  • Do I qualify for future hearing aid upgrades?

YOU’RE READY TO SCHEDULE YOUR HEARING TEST

Okay, so shopping for a pair of hearing aids may not be as enjoyable as shopping for a new car. But the quality of life you’ll achieve from better hearing might very well make you happier, as you’ll reconnect with people and enjoy the intricacies of sound once again. So go ahead and book that hearing test — your new pair of hearing aids are waiting for a test drive.

Overview of Common Hearing Aid Battery Sizes and Types

“What kind of battery do I buy for my hearing aid?” is a difficult question give a single answer to, because there are numerous different models of hearing aids, and each takes a battery that fits it and provides sufficient energy to supply it with power. If you already use a hearing aid, review the device’s manual or the hearing care professionals who sold it to you to identify the correct battery type and size. In the event that you’re still shopping for a hearing aid and attempting to choose which type is right for you, you may wish to do some comparison shopping to assist you in your selection. The explanation for this is that hearing aid batteries differ in price and in battery life, and so a rough knowledge of how many batteries you’ll need over time can affect your choice of which hearing aid to get.

In order to make things easier for customers, hearing aid makers and the companies who make the batteries for them have created a standardized system of color coding to make them easier to find. Batteries of the same type and size will always have the same color code on their packages, no matter who manufactured them.

The 4 most common types are:

Size 312 / Brown – The color brown corresponds to Size 312 batteries. Size 312 batteries are on the smaller end of the spectrum and typically maintain a charge approximately 175 hours. Size 312 batteries are commonly found in In-The-Ear (ITE) and In-The-Canal (ITC) hearing aids.

Size 13 / Orange – Hearing aid batteries carrying a color code of orange are Size 13, and common in In-the-Ear (ITE) and Behind-the-Ear (BTE) types of hearing aids; their battery lifespan is commonly around 240 hours.

Size 10 / Yellow – Batteries with a yellow color code are Size 10, and may be the easiest to locate because they are commonly used in Completely-In-Canal (CIC) and In-The-Canal (ITC) types of hearing aids; their battery life is shorter, an average of 80 hours.

Size 675 / Blue – Blue indicates Size 675 batteries. These batteries are rather large and can hold a longer charge – as much as 300 hours. Size 675 batteries are common in cochlear implants and larger Behind-the-Ear (BTE) hearing aids.

These 4 battery sizes cover most hearing aids, but there are some exceptions that necessitate different batteries. Purchasing alternate sizes can be a tad harder since many places don’t stock or advertise them, but if you ask they can be ordered for you.

Be sure to study your owner’s manual carefully before purchasing large quantities of batteries. If your device runs on rechargeable batteries, you will only need throw away ones for emergencies. Also know that batteries lose their charge over time. You’ll get the best battery life by buying batteries that are new and keeping them in the sealed original package in a cool location until you are ready to use them.

Should You Fix an Old Hearing Aid or Replace It?

One of our most frequently asked questions is, “My hearing aid is broken or is no longer working – should I replace it with a new one, or have it repaired?” The answer is “Depends.” The matter of whether to repair or replace depends on many factors, and the “right answer” is as individual as the people asking the question.

It is worthwhile to state in advance, that all hearing aids, regardless of their original quality or price, should be expected to break down at some point. They operate, after all, in an environment (your ear canals) that is hostile to them because it contains cerumen (ear wax) and moisture. Both moisture and ear wax are natural, but your hearing aids dislike them both. Water can damage the tiny electronics while wax can ‘gum up’ the interior. In addition, there is obviously the possibility of breakage due to an accident or dropping the aids, and the internal tubing and other components inevitably break down over time, so after a few years you can expect your aids needing repair or replacement.

So how do you decide between repair and replace? The most important factor really is you, and whether you like your current hearing aids. If you do, it may be better for you to have them repaired rather than change to newer digital hearing aids with a notably different set of sound characteristics.

A second thing to consider, obviously, is price – while a new pair of hearing aids may cost thousands, your current aids might cost only a couple of hundred dollars to repair. Countering this, however, some people have insurance that will fully or partly cover the cost of new hearing aids, but which will not cover fixing them.

If you decide to have your hearing aids fixed, another question that arises is, “Should I take them to the clinic I bought them from, or send them to one of the many laboratories who advertise on the Internet?” There are many added benefits bringing them to a local hearing specialist versus working with a distant repair lab directly. First off all, they can figure out if repairs are actually necessary. Second, they may be able to get the repairs done on site reducing the length of time you are without your hearing aid. For hearing aids which do require laboratory or manufacturer repairs, the clinic will manage all the communications and paperwork for you. Don’t assume the price will be higher for these added services, because hearing specialists deal with repair labs in larger volumes.

If you opt to replace your hearing aid, you’ll have many additional options to look at since the last time you shopped for one. More recent hearing aid designs may have features that you are interested in, and can be fine-tuned and programmed to match your individual hearing needs. The answer to the “repair or replace” question is still your responsibility, but hopefully the information we have provided will help you.