How Long do Hearing Aid Batteries Last?
Hearing aid batteries can last as long as 10 days in some hearing aids, but a span of five to seven days is more typical. Battery life depends mainly on the hearing aid power requirements and the size of battery used, so it’s perfectly normal to change batteries every few days in hearing aids that use the very smallest battery size. How many days a battery will last, naturally, relates to duration of use each day, so hours are a better measure of service life than days. Convention in the hearing aid industry considers a day of hearing aid use to be 16 hours.
At the time of this post, the most popular battery size is probably the 312 or 10, as these batteries are smaller, and are used in the more discreet devices that most people demand. Size 13 is still quite common among larger in-the-ear and behind-the-ear instruments, and 675 is usually reserved for only high-powered behind-the-ear devices. As stated above, the actual battery life will vary greatly, but a rough breakdown can be seen below:
- Size 10: 3-5 days
- Size 312: 6-12 days
- Size 13: 8-14
- Size 675: 14-30 days
In general, each battery should last about as long as the next, when used in the same hearing aid. Large fluctuations or irregular battery life may indicate a problem with either the hearing aid or the batteries. However, some variation is normal because several factors besides a battery’s size influence its service life. For example, noisy listening situations, use of wireless audio streaming, high temperatures, and high humidity increase battery drain, shortening battery life.
Many people are surprised to learn that, unlike watch batteries, which may last for months, hearing aid batteries require more frequent replacement. Even though hearing aids are very efficient, they still need more power than ordinary wristwatches—and there isn’t much space for batteries inside tiny hearing aids. That’s why hearing aids use a different type of battery than watches. Remember that hearing aids need power not only to provide amplification but also to run the sound processing. The sound processing chip makes thousands of calculations per second. There are a few things you can do to make the most of your hearing aid batteries.
Choose high-quality batteries
Some batteries really are better than others, so you may want to try a few brands to find the right balance of price and performance. There is nothing wrong with using lower quality batteries. They won’t harm your hearing aids, but may not last as long as the leading brands. In a scientific study published a few years ago, Duracell, Sony, and Rayovac emerged as top performers, but several other brands performed nearly as well (Penteado et al., 2013).
What is more, results varied for different battery sizes, suggesting that the same brand may not always be the best choice in every case. It’s also worth noting that manufacturers change their battery formulations from time to time to keep up or get ahead of the competition, the top performer today may slip down in the rankings tomorrow.
Whichever batteries you choose, consider these tips:
- Choose your batteries based on real-world performance. Different manufacturers may use different testing and reporting methods, so your experience matters than the specifications or manufacturer claims.
- Use high-power batteries only when required, for use in high-power hearing aids (or if you experience problems with standard batteries). Unless you need them, high-power batteries perform no better than standard batteries and won’t last as long.
- Try batteries from a different package if you are experiencing reduced battery life. Even the best batteries sometime have defects, or may be damaged during shipping and storage.
- When purchasing new batteries, check the date of expiry to make sure they will keep for a long time.
Keep batteries cool and dry during storage
Batteries last longer when stored at room temperature or cooler—and cooler is better. It’s also best to keep them dry, but not too dry. There is some debate about whether it’s best to leave batteries in or take them out when stowing hearing aids in a drying unit with desiccant (such as a Dry & Store product). Reducing moisture in the batteries can prolong their service life if in a humid environment, but may have the opposite effect in an arid environment. Experiment with a few batteries or ask your Zip Hearing provider for local advice.
Let the batteries breathe
Conventional hearing aid batteries are always packaged with a sticker sealing the back of the battery. Under the sticker you will find one or more small holes in the battery. The holes are meant to allow air ingress into the battery, while the sticker is used to prevent air circulation until you are ready to use the battery. Air is an essential part of the chemical reaction that fuels the battery, so once the sticker is removed allowing air into the battery, the battery begins to drain (gradually, not as fast as when the battery is in use). If the battery does not get enough air, it will struggle to produce enough power and may not work properly or last as long. To prevent this issue, just leave the battery out in the open for several minutes (after removing the sticker) before inserting it in the hearing aid. The battery needs air while in the hearing aid too, and you may find an inlet in or near the battery compartment. You will want to keep the inlet clean and free from debris to allow uninhibited airflow to the battery.
Consider rechargeable batteries
Conventional Zinc-air hearing aid batteries are reliable and inexpensive, but some people prefer the convenience and environmental friendliness of rechargeable batteries. Many hearing aids can be ordered new or retrofitted to accept either rechargeable or disposable batteries interchangeably. Most hearing aid manufacturers also offer purpose-built rechargeable models with an enclosed battery that does not require replacement for the life of the hearing aid. These batteries last a little longer on a full charge, compared to the interchangeable variety, but both types need to be charged nightly to allow uninterrupted use throughout the day.
Penteado SP, Bento RF. Performance analysis of ten brands of batteries for hearing aids. Int Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2013 Jul;17(3):291-304. doi: 10.7162/S1809-977720130003000010. PubMed PMID: 25992026; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4423287.
Pindzola K. Batteries: To dry or not to dry?. Hearing Review. 2008 Mar 14. Accessed 2018-07-04 http://www.hearingreview.com/2008/03/batteries-to-dry-or-not-to-dry/