How Long Do Hearing Aid Batteries Last
Survey reveals differences between brands and sizes
23 December 2019
Hearing aid batteries are an important consideration for anyone looking to purchase a new pair of hearing aids. If you are new to the world of hearing aids, you’re probably asking yourself the following questions:
- How long do hearing aid batteries last?
- Does wireless audio streaming impact battery life?
- Are some hearing aid brands better than others when it comes to battery life?
Hearing Tracker recently surveyed over 1000 hearing aid users to help get a better idea of how long hearing aid batteries really last. We asked participants about their battery size, their hearing aid style, what brand of hearing aids they use, and whether they use streaming technologies, etc.
Hearing Aid Battery Current Drain
Hearing aid manufacturers have long provided information about their products’ battery usage in the “datasheets” that cover the technical specifications of each hearing aid. As an example, Resound’s datasheet for the Resound LiNX2 LS61 shows that the hearing aid (which uses a size 312 battery) drains 1.3 milli-Amps (mA) from the battery when tested in “test mode” via the ANSI S3.22 standard.
In theory, it should be easy to estimate the expected battery life of the hearing aid. Given that a size 312 battery has a capacity of 145 milli-Amp-hours (mAh), one merely divides 145 mAh by 1.3 mA to arrive at an estimated battery life of 111.5 hours.
According to our survey (details below), the average receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aid user reports 76 hours of total use-time per battery. Considering that the average hearing aid user reports wearing their hearing aids 13 hours per day, this would give you an expected 5.8 days of battery life. By comparison, Resound’s datasheet suggests the user will receive 8.5 days per battery, assuming the same daily usage.
The problem with calculating these estimates?
Yep, you guessed it. Estimating your battery life based on battery current drain is notoriously difficult. When battery current drain is measured hearing aids are put into “test mode,” which often disables advanced processing technologies such as feedback cancellation and digital noise reduction. Wireless connectivity is also disabled in test mode.
What about estimates provided by hearing aid manufacturers?
Hearing aid manufacturers often provide estimates of battery life (in hours) along with their products. While this is certainly an improvement over battery current drain figures, we encourage caution when reading manufacturer provided estimates. Manufacturers often overestimate battery life, and due to the individual factors involved (such as your lifestyle, the hearing aid’s configuration, and whether wireless streaming is used), it’s hard to estimate battery life until you are wearing the hearing aids yourself.
Another problem with manufacturer estimates is that estimates are not standardized. Some hearing aid manufacturers may use a higher capacity (mAh) battery, leading to an inflated estimate vs a manufacturer using a standard capacity battery of the same size.
For more technical background on hearing aid batteries, check out this excellent article: Performance analysis of ten brands of batteries for hearing aids.
|Battery Brand||Size 10||Size 312||Size 13||Size 675|
|Duracell Activair Zinc Air||100 mAh||180 mAh||310 mAh||650 mAh|
|Energizer Zinc Air||91 mAh||160 mAh||280 mAh||620 mAh|
|Power One Zinc Air||100 mAh||180 mAh||310 mAh||650 mAh|
|iCellTech Zinc Air||105 mAh||180 mAh||310 mAh||630 mAh|
|NEXcell Zinc Air||100 mAh||180 mAh||300 mAh||630 mAh|
|Panasonic Zinc Air||75 mAh||170 mAh||300 mAh||605 mAh|
|Average||95 mAh||175 mAh||301 mAh||630 mAh|
Hearing Tracker’s Battery Life Survey
Rather than try to explain the process in painstaking detail, we decided to just show you instead. Here’s a quick YouTube video showing the process.
Haven’t taken the survey yet? Take it now! We’ll be recompiling the results on a regular basis to keep this article fresh.
Hearing Aid Battery Life Survey Results
We’ve got a ton of data to share, and some findings which may actually surprise you. Let’s take it one step at a time and start with the number of survey submissions. The current count sits at 1012 total survey respondents. Respondents came from a total of 36 countries, with the top 3 countries being the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada. We are leaving the survey open, so we hope for that number to increase in the future.
What size batteries do you use?
The most popular hearing aid battery by far is the size 312 battery. Over half of all respondents reported using this size. The size 312 battery offers a good balance between size and battery life offering a relatively small size with more battery life than a size 10 battery, but less than the bulky size 13 battery required for high-powered hearing aids.
On an typical day, how many hours do you use your hearing aid(s)?
According to our survey, the average person uses their hearing aids around 13 hours per day, and receives just under 7 days worth of power before having to change their batteries.
How many days does your hearing aid last on a single battery?
What style of hearing aids do you wear?
In our survey, we asked participants about their hearing aid style. Most respondents use some form of behind-the-ear hearing aid with Receiver-In-Canal (RIC) the most popular style. Custom in-the-ear style hearing aids were less common, with only ~12% of respondents indicating CIC, ITC, ITE or IIC.
Do you stream audio to your hearing aids from your phone, TV, or other devices?
Our survey results showed that 62.5% of respondents do not stream audio to their hearing aids from their phone, TV, or other devices. On average, those who reported using wireless streaming reported receiving 8 hours less than those who reported not streaming. Total hours of use (on average) was 93.5 hours for the non-streaming users and 85.5 hours for the streaming users.
Phonak was the most popular hearing aid brand in our survey with more than one-quarter of participants reporting Phonak as their hearing aid brand. Following behind was Oticon, then Resound, Starkey, Widex, etc.
We were just asked why Costco hearing aids weren’t included in our survey. We want to clarify that Costco does not manufacture hearing aids, but rather sells hearing aids manufactured by companies like Phonak under their brand Kirkland Signature™. We actually grouped the Costco hearing aids in with the relevant hearing aid manufacturers when compiling the results of this survey.
How Long Do Hearing Aid Batteries Last?
It should be no surprise that hearing aid batteries last longer if they have a higher capacity. As you’ll recall from our hearing aid battery brand comparison table the average tiny size 10 battery has ~93 mAh capacity while the the much larger size 675 battery has ~627 mAh capacity.
Audio streaming and battery life
As has been documented in the past, audio streaming to hearing aids can use up an awful lot of batteries. Our survey respondents seem to confirm this. We were somewhat surprised that the difference wasn’t larger! I suppose some respondents may have included telecoil audio streaming or other forms of less battery intensive audio streaming.
Hearing aid brand and battery life
Our survey also asked participants about which hearing aid brands they use. As you can see Widex, Oticon, and Starkey were the highest rated on this measure. However we do want to draw attention to the fact that our sample size is likely too small to draw any firm conclusions from. Another factor is wireless streaming, and this may differ from brand to brand.
Hearing aid style and battery life
The chart below shows that hearing aid batteries last the longest in power behind-the-ear (BTE-P) hearing aids and the shortest in invisible-in-canal (IIC) hearing aids. This information is predictable given that smaller hearing aids (like the IIC and CIC) use smaller batteries, which carry smaller mAh capacity. However, we thought it would be useful for educational reasons to include the chart!
Hearing aid battery life drives satisfaction
Somewhat unsurprisingly, our respondents report being more satisfied with their batteries when they last longer. Based on our data it seems that hearing aid manufacturers should shoot to deliver at least 75 hours of battery life. Otherwise they will face unhappy customers!
That’s all we have for now. Please leave your feedback in the comments section below, and let us know if you have any questions!