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How do I know if rechargeable hearing aids are right for me? Which patients do you recommend rechargeable hearing aids to?

Julie Link, AuD

Doctor of Audiology in Centennial

22 May 2018 - 962 Views

I would consider the following questions in helping to determine if rechargeable hearing aids are a good fit for you:

  • Do you enjoy other rechargeable devices such as your cell phone?
  • Are you ok with your aids potentially being slightly larger to give you the rechargeable option?
  • Do you have poor dexterity or vision?
  • Do you wish you didn't have to carry batteries around with you everywhere you go?
  • Do you go "off the grid" often on trips or camping where you will not have access to electricity?
  • Are you comfortable with wearing behind the ear hearing aids?

I recommend rechargeable hearing aids to my patients with low vision and poor dexterity all the time. It is so nice for them to not have to fumble through changing batteries! I like to give the option of rechargeability to everyone who is recommended behind the ear hearing aids. Right now there is not a rechargeable custom in the ear hearing aid option so that rules out some hearing aid users. Others who travel or camp (I'm in Colorado so this does come up pretty frequently) like the option of having batteries so they don't have to worry about charging them. They are a great option for most people so I would certainly ask your audiologist if they could work for you!

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Joe Baker
Joe Baker 22 May 2018
Perfect response, Julie. The only thing I could add is, with #5 (going off the grid), there is an option for a battery pack for Phonak rechargeables that can recharge hearing aids up to seven days.
Julie Link
Julie Link 22 May 2018 Replied to Joe Baker
Yes! Thank you for adding that Joe!

Shannon Parker, AuD

Hearing Healthcare Provider in Denver City

23 May 2018 - 898 Views

I recommend rechargeable hearing devices for most people. Rechargeable devices were specifically for people that have dexterity issues (arthritis, mobility issues) with their hands or people that have low vision. This is a wonderful way to make using a hearing device less cumbersome. Rechargeable devices are excellent for people that often forget to change their batteries or for those people living in a nursing home or assisted living facility. There are fewer pieces to keep track of (if you've ever dropped a hearing aid battery on the carpet- you know what I'm talking about) and it provides piece of mind for caregivers and family members that their loved one is always "tuned in" and you don't have to worry about a dead battery. Many of my patients keep their recharging port for their hearing aids right next to their cell phone charger which is an easy way to remember to "charge up" all your devices in one spot every night! 

I think rechargeable batteries have helped simplify hearing health care for almost all of my patients! Most devices have about an 18 hour charge on them, but my experience has been that it may be longer than that. The only con that I see is that depending on the company, some rechargeable batteries last anywhere from one year to three years; this also depends on how much you "drain" your battery or how hard you make them work (ie. power devices or more Bluetooth streaming etc...) Overall, most patients enjoy the simplicity of "put them on and go" without having to worry about changing batteries. For more information on rechargeable hearing aids and the brand that we carry, please click here.

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Matthew Pearson

Hearing Aid Audiologist in London

22 May 2018 - 933 Views

I would recommend rechargable hearing aids to patients who want a behind the ear solution as in the ear hearing aids are not currently rechargeable.

One trade off is the size of the devices. If you you wanted the ultimate in tiny behind the ear hearing aids for example the Unitron Moxi Now then you will either accept that you will have to regularly replace disposable batteries or accept a bigger device behind the ear.

I have had instances where some older patients have struggled with battery changes but have coped well with either Oticon or Unitron sporting the Z-Power silver zinc rechargeable technology. A replacement battery shouldn't be required for at least a year & no opening & closing of the battery door is required until this battery requires renewal.

I have also fitted the Phonak Lithium Ion rechargeable hearing aids & had more of a mixed response. Currently to switch them on after charging a long firm press of the button on the aid is required to switch the aid back on. There is however word of a firmware update which would allow you to have the aid switch on as the aid is removed from the charger. No firm date for this has been given. I haven't had any reports of batteries not making it through the day, however I had my first set of Z-Power battery doors/batteries replaced after only a few months because of reducing battery life possibly due to an increase in streaming activity.

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Vincent D'Auria, AuD

Doctor of Audiology in Scarsdale

22 May 2018 - 918 Views

I would recommend rechargeable hearing aids for any patient, but I strongly recommend them for patients with poor dexterity, poor vision, or for anyone who wants to be more environmentally friendly.

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Lisa Goulart, BA

Hearing Healthcare Provider in Auckland

22 May 2018 - 920 Views

All very well answered by colleagues here. 

Two other benefits of rechargeable:

1- More environmentally friendly. 

2- Safer option. Phonak rechargeable aids are sealed and can’t be open. Great if the aid is fitted on a toddler or anyone with cognitive issues or even family with pets sniffing and chewing things around the house! :) 

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Sheri Gostomelsky, AuD

Doctor of Audiology in Deerfield

22 May 2018 - 922 Views

Rechargeable batteries are a personal preference and are always given consideration for receiver in the ear (behind the ear) devices.  Discussions always center on convenience and dexterity.  As an example, a person who spends time camping most of the summer, may do best with batteries that they can replace.  

There are rechargeable products that have the batteries built in  (non removable) and there are products that can use either a disposable or rechargeable battery.  In our practice we always give patients choices when it comes to options. 

There are a few  custom rechargeable products in the marketplace..  These tend to be less discreet due to size. Coming soon, we will see rechargeable custom products in a smaller package.  We can't wait!

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Mark Butler, AAS

Hearing Healthcare Provider in Sparks

22 May 2018 - 945 Views

Rechargeable hearing aids have been available for many years but are becoming much more popular for a number of reasons.  Some of the new sealed units now offer up to 24 hours of continuous use as well as streaming to smart phone capability.  Their size is also getting smaller and is not much different that a similar battery powered hearing aid.  With no battery door the new rechargeables will shut themselves off when placed in the charger and turn themselves back on when removed from the charger.  Dexterity is my primary consideration when recommending rechargeable aids.  Patients who have difficulty replacing batteries will find it much easier to use.  The single biggest issue to not use them is the fact they need charged nightly.  If you don't have power available you don't have the option to switch to a regular battery.  The charges do come with the option to charge them from a USB port though.  Many new vehicles and most all computers have USB ports available.  You can get an adapter for the cigarette lighter in older vehicles to use USB.  I have many patients who choose rechargeables just because of the convenience even though they don't have any dexterity issues.  The sealed batteries have an estimated life of up to six years for some brands.  I wear a pair of the new Signia Charge N Go NX 7's myself and love them.

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Evan Grolley, AuD

Audiologist in Silverdale

22 May 2018 - 952 Views

Rechargeable hearing aids are great for convenience or when patients are unable to see or handle disposable batteries, but they cost more up front. If you're looking for rechargeable hearing aids to save on battery costs, realize that it will probably end up costing you the same as disposable batteries will over the life of the hearing aids. That's because the rechargeable battery and the charger are more expensive than conventional disposable batteries.

I usually recommend rechargeable hearing aids for patients who: (1) can't remember to change the batteries regularly; (2) can't see the disposable batteries; (3) can't pick up or handle the disposable batteries because of medical issues like arthritis or neuropathy; (4) just want it for convenience or to be environmentally friendly.

Keep in mind that the rechargeable batteries do not last forever and will lose capacity over time (just like the battery in your cell phone). So you are probably going to need to change the rechargeable batteries in 1-3 years depending on which type you go with.

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Carly Jean Girard, AuD

Doctor of Audiology in Libertyville

22 May 2018 - 962 Views

In my opinion, the use of rechargeable hearing aids is a personal preference.  Some patients prefer the convenience of not needing to change batteries while others prefer to just change the battery on a schedule.  For patients that have dexterity issues or memory concerns, rechargeable hearing aids can be very beneficial.  If you do get a rechargeable hearing aid and you travel a lot, I recommend getting a rechargeable hearing aid that allows you to also use a disposable battery.  That way you will not need to bring your charger along or worry about having enough battery life in the event of a layover or delay!  In the end, it's a personal decision and I would recommend discussing your unique situation with your audiologist to find the right solution for you!

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Discussion

Member
Member 23 July 2018
Most brands of rechargeable hearing aids do not provide for use simultaneously with a hearing aid dryer. For those of us with moisture-problems, drying overnight is very important, but these brands leave us with the option of either drying, or recharging overnight, but not both. I'd like to see manufacturers provide a charger that is capable of charging and drying at the same time. Preferably USB powered and small enough for travel, too!
Member
Member 24 July 2018 Replied to Member
Here here! Totally agree! I need to dry my hearing aids every night in the dryer unit to prevent moisture issues and I see that it seems that you can’t simultaneously dry and charge your batteries with the rechargeable hearing aids/chargers. (Actually from memory there may be one manufacturers aids where you can do this, but the dryer is not an ‘active’ drying unit but rather one of those ones where you need to replace the desiccant frequently.) It’s all far from ideal, because given the choice and for very practical reasons, I’d prefer to keep changing batteries and have the cost associated with that as opposed to not having to change batteries but be without my hearing aids for days due to having to send them off for repairs and that extra cost (the cost which would far exceed ongoing disposable betters costs).
Abram Bailey
Abram Bailey 02 October 2018

Check out our quiz to find out if you are a good candidate for rechargeable hearing aids: https://www.hearingtracker.com/are-rechargeable-hearing-aids-right-for-me

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