Hearing Aid Batteries: Tips for Longer Life

Hearing aids are certainly an improvement over the ear trumpet. But that unexpected extended beep in your ear that means your hearing aid battery is about to go dead can be annoying. This is especially true if you don’t happen to have any spares.images The life of a hearing aid battery is unpredictable, even in controlled studies with many factors accounted for. One battery may last a week, another just two or three days. In part this is because the shorter-life battery may be defective, but it also depends on the kind of hearing aid you have, how you use your hearing aid, the kind of batteries you buy, the assistive-listening devices you may use.

Even controlled studies fail to accurately measure battery life, however. A 2013 article in Audiology Online reported that the real-life performance of most of the batteries tested deviated significantly from the standardized measurements reported by the manufacturers.

Among the factors that reduce battery viability are the kind of features that come with high-end hearing aids, like feedback canceling and noise reduction programs. The real battery sapper, however, is wireless streaming. Audiology Online found that the difference between consumption during “normal” use and in streaming mode was nearly double. For instance, if you are using your hearing aid to stream the audio from your TV, your battery is likely to go dead twice as fast. Adding to the confusion however, is the fact that this varies according to the device being used.

Here are some tips for getting longer life out of your batteries – and saving money.

*Open only when you’re ready to use. Hearing aid batteries come in four sizes (10, 13, 312 and 675). Each hearing aid style will use only one size. Most come in sealed packs with plastic tabs on the back of each battery. Don’t remove the tab until you are ready to insert the battery. As soon as the back of the battery comes into contact with air it is activated and using up energy.

*Store batteries in a cool, dry place. Always carry a packet of spares with you.

*Use clean hands to change the battery. Grease and dirt can damage the hearing aid.

*Open the battery door at night or anytime the hearing aid is not being used. This will not only minimize battery drain but spare your family and pets the whine of a hearing aid with battery intact but not being used.

*Don’t buy in bulk. Unopened batteries have a long shelf life but they do begin to deteriorate. I find that if I need to use my old hearing aid for some reason, I have to try two or three of my old batteries before I find one that is still working (even though they have not previously been opened). You can do this by buying a micro-battery hearing aid pack. This will include 6 to 8 packs of different brand, with about 48 batteries altogether. The cost varies, but it’s about $25 for eight brands.

*Shop around. Battery costs also differ significantly and it’s worth it to shop around. (Make sure that the discount isn’t because the battery pack is almost out of date.) Drug stores, big box stores like Costco and Walmart, electronics stores all sell batteries. You can check for the best prices online.

Hearing aid batteries are expensive. A pack of 48 will cost you around $30, depending on where you buy them. Keep in mind that the expiration date is important. If you’re not going to use 48 batteries in the course of a year, it’s probably better to buy them in smaller (and more expensive per item) quantities.

*Two gadgets that you may want: One is a keychain battery holder, which you can buy at Harris Communications for $1.50

The other is a battery tester. These vary in quality but they will show you if the battery you are about to install is dead, and sometimes if it’s dying. Some of the more expensive models will show you how much battery life is left. You can see different models on the Harris Communications website.

*Rechargeable hearing aid batteries are beginning to come on the market. Most reports say they last a full day. You can read more about rechargeable batteries in this article in Hearing Review.  Audiology Online offers many caveats about using rechargeable batteries. It’s worth reading their article “Ask the Experts: Can I Put a Rechargeable Battery in My Hearing Aid” before you try them.

In the meantime, simple common sense will help extend the battery life: buy batteries with a distant sell-by date, turn off or open the battery door whenever the hearing aid is not being used, store in a cool dry place.

This article first appeared in a slightly different form on AARP Health.

6 thoughts on “Hearing Aid Batteries: Tips for Longer Life

  1. They quit manufacturing silver oxide hearing aid batteries years ago. I switched to the Duracell 303/357 watch battery that is the same size as the 675 hearing aid battery. They last two weeks plus and always have a positive charge with my battery tester. I do not like the zinc oxide batteries because they do not have enough power and lose power once they are installed in my hearing aids. Silver oxide hearing batteries do not cause contamination as much as flash light batteries which are discarded in our landfill more than silver oxide hearing aid batteries could ever do. Silver Oxide Watch Batteries are also mercury free and maintain their power longer. My hearing aids are Phonak brand. behind-the-ear with telecoils, WRDC (wide range dynamic compression) program, directional microphones that allows background noise to be lowered and manual volume control. They were purchased March 2000 with a $100 repair bill
    needed twice since I owned them. I am not a fan of digital behind-the-ear hearing aids that have batteries that are so small and cannot purchased be purchased as Silver Oxide batteries. These tiny batteries do not last long.

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  2. Should disposable hearing aid batteries be stored in drying containers overnight along with hearing aids? My understanding is that the battery should be removed to sit in a cool, presumably dry place outside the container so as to avoid dryness reducing battery life. But I’ve also read that storing the battery in the container can be helpful by minimizing moisture in the battery. Perhaps this is only advisable for those living in high-humidity areas. Your view?

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    • I don’t know. Good question. I always put my hearing aid with the battery in it (door open) in the Dri Aid at night. I put my cochlear implant processor in there too. Mostly for convenience and safety, but I figure the drier environment is probably good for the c.i. processor.

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  3. To extend the life of batteries make sure your hearing aids are working well. Use a drying container when the humidity is high, wipe the aids clean with a soft cloth, use the wax remover if necessary and check the tubing to make sure there are no cracks. Have them checked once a year by an audiologist or reliable hearing aid technician.

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  4. There is nothing wrong with having batteries in the dry aid. Also, batteries work beyond their expiration date, but just not quite as long. On the other hsnd, I’ve had a package or two of duds that were supposed to be in their prime working years. I never leave home without extra batteries , because otherwise I feel uneasy. Being caught without is no fun.

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    • Never leave home without extra batteries. If attending an important function check your batteries with a meter and put in new ones if not sure. You do not want your hearing aid to quitworking during an important meeting and have to stop listening to change them.

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