Hearing Aid Batteries: Everything You Need to Know
Hearing aids run on batteries, and various battery types may apply depending on the hearing aid model.
The two main categories of hearing aid batteries are:
- Disposable batteries.
- Rechargeable batteries.
Hearing aids with rechargeable batteries are increasingly available, and if you’re looking to buy new hearing aids today, they will likely be rechargeable.
Disposable hearing aid batteries are becoming less common. They come in a variety of sizes. The battery size usually depends on the size of the hearing aid and how much power it needs to function optimally for at least a few days.
This guide aims to help you:
- identify the hearing battery you have or need to buy
- change batteries in a variety of hearing aid types
- properly dispose of a hearing battery
- get the most life out of your hearing aid batteries.
Disposable Hearing Aid Batteries
The tried-and-true disposable or “button” batteries used in hearing aids are commonly zinc-air batteries. They come in four different sizes relevant to hearing aids:
- size 675
- size 312
- size 13
The table below details the specifications and features of each of the four battery sizes.
|Hearing Aid Battery Sizes||Size 675||Size 312||Size 13||Size 10|
|Cell Diameter||11.6 mm||7.9 mm||7.9 mm||5.8 mm|
|Cell Height||5.4 mm||3.6 mm||5.4 mm||3.6 mm|
|Nominal Voltage Range||1.4V-1.45V||1.4V-1.45V||1.4V-1.45V||1.4V-1.45V|
|Zinc Air mAh||600 mAh||160 mAh||280 mAh||90 mAh|
Disposable hearing aid batteries are typically sold in packages or cards of five individual batteries.
Note the coloured plastic tabs that prevent air from contacting the zinc inside the battery while providing a quick size reference.
Don’t remove the coloured plastic tab until you are ready to use the battery in your hearing aid. Zinc-air batteries are activated once you pull the plastic tab off and the battery comes into contact with air.
After removing the plastic tab, wait a couple of minutes before inserting it into your hearing aid. Waiting will give the zinc-air reaction time to start.
How to Change a Disposable Hearing Aid Battery
Firstly, it’s essential to remove a completely discharged battery immediately. A dead battery can swell in size and become hard to remove.
Also, wash your hands thoroughly before handling hearing aid batteries. Dirt and grease from your hands can transfer to the battery and into your hearing aids, which may cause damage.
How Long Do Disposable Batteries Normally Last?
Battery life usually ranges from three to ten days or more. How long your hearing aid battery will last depends on:
- its size
- the hearing aid type
- the amplification setting of the hearing aid
- how frequently the hearing is used; and
- how often it is connected or streaming to other devices such as your smartphone.
4 Signs Your Hearing Battery Needs Changing
There are four common ways to know when your hearing aid battery may need to be changed.
- First, there is commonly a “beep” or voice notification to let you know your hearing aid battery is low.
- Sounds become distorted.
- You have to turn your volume up more than usual.
- You haven’t changed the battery for a long time, usually two weeks or more.
After opening the battery compartment cover of your hearing aid, remove the old battery and put it in a sealed container until you can properly dispose of it.
Open the packaging on the new battery and remove the sticker. Let it sit for a minute or two to allow the zinc-air reaction to start before placing it in the battery compartment. Then replace the compartment cover.
How To Replace a Disposable Hearing Aid Battery
The videos below show you how to replace a battery in an ITE (In-The-Ear) and a BTE (Behind-The-Ear) hearing aid. We won’t list multiple brands as most have a similar battery change process.
Some hearing aids may differ slightly, so if you get stuck, refer to your hearing aid user manual or search online for the instructions specific to the brand/model of your hearing aid.
How to Store Used Batteries Safely
Before disposal, it’s essential to store your used button batteries in a safe place out of sight and the reach of children and pets. Store them in a secure container that would be difficult for a child or pet to open.
Button batteries pose a real danger to pets and small children if swallowed.
If you suspect a child or any person has swallowed a button battery, go to your nearest hospital emergency department or call emergency services on 111.
For information about poisons or in case of poisoning, call the National Poisons Centre on 0800 764 766.
Contact your vet immediately if your pet has swallowed a battery.
Rechargeable Hearing Aid Batteries
Hearing aid batteries that are rechargeable are becoming more common. There are a few reasons for this, such as improvements in rechargeable battery technology and an increased production scale, lowering the overall cost for the manufacturers.
Rechargeable hearing aid batteries are usually not removable from hearing aids and don’t need removal for charging. Most are lithium-ion-based and have a docking station for charging. These batteries can hold a charge for up to 30 hours and may not need replacing for five years.
Rechargeable hearing aids may also cost a bit more upfront, but don’t forget to account for not buying disposable batteries.
Who Are They For?
Hearing aids with rechargeable batteries are perfect if you find it challenging to change disposable batteries.
With a rechargeable unit, you pop the hearing aid into the charging dock overnight, ready for use the next day.
Now, rechargeable hearing aid batteries may not be for everyone. There are circumstances like having access to a charging point while travelling, which might make them harder to live with.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Going Rechargeable?
There are many advantages of rechargeable that mostly centre around increased convenience.
- Not worrying about buying disposable hearing aid batteries is a clear benefit for your time, money and the environment.
- There’s one less thing to worry about because rechargeable hearing aids have fewer battery concerns.
- Recharging cases may double as drying stations that protect your hearing aids from moisture damage.
Rechargeable hearing aid batteries have some minor disadvantages.
- There is a slight lack of control over rechargeable hearing aid batteries compared to disposable ones.
- If something goes wrong with the rechargeable battery, you will have to take it to the place of purchase for repair, which may cause some downtime without your hearing aids.
- You are very dependent upon your charging dock. Just as we have learned to keep extra phone chargers with us, you may need to bring a hearing aid charger to work or keep one in your car.
How to Recharge Various Hearing Aids
The following videos are a small selection of rechargeable hearing aids and how to recharge them. This will hopefully give you some idea of how they function and if rechargeable options appeal to you.
7 Tips and Tricks for Long Battery Life
No matter which battery type you decide on, one thing is inevitable. You will want to get the most out of that hearing aid battery before you replace it.
- Ensure you turn your hearing aids off when not in use and leave the battery compartment open at night. This will ensure longer battery life, and any moisture accumulated during the day will evaporate.
- If you are not using your hearing aid for an extended time, try removing the battery. You should be able to store it right in your hearing aid container.
- Remove a dead battery from your hearing aid right away. Allowing a drained battery to stay within your hearing aid could cause it to swell and be difficult to remove.
- Also, it is crucial not to store your hearing aid batteries in a pocket or purse where they could come into contact with any loose metal. Things like coins or keys could short-circuit your hearing aid batteries.
- Heat and moisture can also shorten the life of your hearing aid batteries. Please don’t leave them in your car or the bathroom.
- Do not store batteries in a refrigerator; contrary to popular belief, this does not lengthen your battery life.
- For optimum battery lifespan, keep them at a relatively constant room temperature in a dry environment.
Dispose of Hearing Aid Batteries Correctly
The most important thing to remember is not to throw your hearing aid batteries in the bin with other household waste. When not disposed of correctly, they are an environmental pollutant and hazard to people and animals.
Most batteries use a combination of mercury, silver, lithium, and other heavy metals as their main component.
Because of this, if you handle a leaking battery, it can cause severe burns immediately. Therefore, ensure you take care when handling any battery, even if you believe the battery to be “dead”.
The best practice to dispose of used hearing aid batteries is to take them to your local battery recycling scheme.
Also, most council resource recovery centres or transfer stations provide battery collection services.
Some hearing aid retailer companies take hearing aid batteries for free.
Unfortunately, only an estimated 0.2% of household batteries are recycled in New Zealand. Improperly disposed of batteries can leach from solid waste landfills and pollute water sources.
You make a more environmentally-friendly choice by not throwing your hearing aid batteries in the trash every couple of weeks.