March 2, 2011

Hearing Aid Battery Options in 2011

Parker,-Molly-NEWBy Dr. Molly Parker
Parker Audiology, PC
(Don White Hearing Aid Center)

My new patient, Sue, was in last week, and we had the discussion about hearing aid batteries.

“OK, so how long do hearing aid batteries last?”

“Depending on the size of battery, anywhere from three days up to three weeks.”

“WHAT? Why so little? And do I have to change the batteries myself? And how much is this going to cost me? And are there rechargeable batteries? And are there environmental options?”

A lot of valid questions… Hearing aid batteries are quite small and yet must have enough power to supply an entire sound system in addition to the computer processing that filters out background noise, reduces feedback, etc. The smaller the hearing aid, the smaller the battery must be, and the more often you will need to change the battery. It is not hard to change batteries but it does take a little initial practice. Cost for batteries generally ranges between 70 cents a battery to $2.25 a battery, depending on where you get them and how many you get. This will cost about $60 a year, and up to $150 a year. I suggest avoiding generic batteries as they tend to be far more variable; you get more bad batteries. To maintain consistency of performance, it is important to purchase the same brand from the same store. Hearing aid offices move their batteries quickly and always have a fresh supply—our office provides shipping at no additional cost to you.

Regarding rechargeable batteries, the technology for this is available but not 100 percent perfected. For a
separate charge (no pun intended), Siemens offers a rechargeable battery system that works with some of their behind the ear hearing aids. This system has had some success with their latest design, though they have gone through three designs in two years to get to this point. There is not a system for in-the-ear hearing aids.

New! Mercury Free Zinc Air batteries in 2011! These batteries have actually been available for a few months but they have been significantly improved for longer performance as of January 1, 2011. The older style zinc air batteries will be phased out in 2011 (these contained small amounts of mercury). I recommend Rayovac Proline batteries for these new mercury-free batteries, as they are the first to develop the longer performing mercury-free batteries.

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Dr. Molly Parker is an audiologist with Parker Audiology, PC, 1640 W. Locust Street, Davenport, Iowa. She can be reached at (563) 326-5441 or