When working with patients, I get a lot of questions about batteries and so I thought it would be a good topic to discuss.
How do hearing aid batteries work?
Let’s start out with understanding how the batteries work. Hearing aid batteries are a zinc-air battery. That means that they require oxygen from the air to work. The sticker tabs on the batteries are what keep the batteries fresh. As soon as the sticker is peeled from the battery, air is getting into tiny holes in the battery to activate it. That also means that the battery has a tiny amount of drain even if you aren’t using it. If you peel the sticker from a battery and never use it, a month later it will be dead. This is especially important to understand in case you peel a sticker off a battery and don’t use it right away.
How do I dispose of batteries?
At Constance Brown, we use Power One batteries. The batteries we use do contain trace amounts of mercury to maintain a better shelf life. Mercury is not only found in hearing aid batteries, but also other button cell batteries like watch batteries. In small amounts it is not considered to be harmful, but they should be brought to a battery recycling center instead of thrown directly in the trash. Kalamazoo County residents can bring batteries to the Kalamazoo County Household Hazardous Waste Center. Additionally, they can often be recycled at battery stores such as Interstate Batteries or Batteries Plus.
What brand is best?
In speaking with several large hearing aid manufacturers, most do not recommend a specific brand of battery. What they do recommend is that you purchase batteries from your hearing healthcare provider. Sometimes purchasing batteries off the shelf at a retailer especially those on sale, the freshness of the batteries can be questionable. Because we, at Constance Brown Hearing Centers, use batteries so frequently, our stock is always fresh and you’re guaranteed longer shelf life.
How do I store batteries?
Batteries should be stored in a cool, dry place in their original packaging or in a battery caddy. If batteries come in contact with each other they can short out and be dead before you ever use them. Allowing batteries to float freely in your case is not a good idea for this reason.
How can I maximize my battery life?
The best way to maximize battery life is by opening the battery door on your hearing aid whenever the hearing aid is not in your ear. Another tip I came across is to let the battery gain a full charge by allowing it to “air up” for a full minute before putting it in your hearing aid. This means to peel the sticker tab off the battery then allow the battery a full minute before putting it into your hearing aid. This allows it to reach its full charge and can increase the life of your battery.
Since batteries are an integral part of your hearing healthcare plan, it is important to know at least some of this basic information.
By Samantha King, Audiologist