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The inefficiency of zinc-air batteries is most obvious when used in cold weather. How can the rechargeability of li-ion batteries combat this issue?
2019-02-15

Using Your Hearing Aids in Cold Weather

Hearing aids that use zinc-air batteries require more time, effort, and care to properly maintain. This article will explore how cold weather affects them, what can be done to solve this, and how li-ion batteries are the overarching solution to these problems.

With the rising demand for more innovative design and usability, hearing aids have seen a number of improvements. Rechargeable batteries, wireless charging hearing aids, and Bluetooth connectivity are a few of the popular improvements. However, getting people to make the switch over to lithium-ion batteries takes a bit more effort.

Hearing aids that use zinc-air batteries require more time, effort, and care to properly maintain. This article will explore how cold weather affects them, what can be done to solve this, and how li-ion batteries are the overarching solution to these problems.

Hearing aids vs. cold weather and moisture

It’s common knowledge among hearing aid wearers that cold weather can be detrimental to hearing aid use. Battery drain is the primary issue, along with condensation and moisture damage.

Cold weather and dry air can reduce the voltage of the battery, causing it to drain faster. Moisture buildup caused by condensation also poses a problem and can cause serious damage to your hearing aids. Hearing aid drying kits and dehumidifiers can help protect your hearing aids from moisture damage, but not much can be done about the cold weather.

If you’re one of the many people wondering ‘how long do hearing aid batteries last’, and what you can do to lengthen the time between batteries, read on to find out more.

How to make hearing aid batteries last longer

There are a few ways to improve your hearing aid battery life, but most of them only work to an extent. Avoiding the outdoors is an option, but if you enjoy winter sports or want to spend time with family, this can pose a problem.

If you find yourself on a winter trip, or just want to be prepared for a chilly commute, it’s recommended that you wear hats or headbands to protect your hearing aids from the cold, dry air. Once you go inside, make sure to wipe down your hearing aids often and try to keep them from collecting moisture.

At the end of the day, make sure to open the battery compartment and place them in a hearing aid dehumidifier. This can help improve battery life and prevent moisture damage.

The problem with hearing aid batteries

Among those with hearing loss, there is immense discussion on the pros and cons of getting outfitted with hearing aids. One of the common faults assigned to hearing aids is the additional cost of batteries. Depending on how often the hearing aids are used, someone with bilateral fitting could spend up to $100 per year on zinc-air batteries.

For someone who lives in a cold environment, this number will only rise. This begs the question: what is the solution to the battery issue? While short-term solutions like dehumidifiers and hats can alleviate the problem, there is still the matter of battery inefficiency.

Money isn’t the only issue when it comes to zinc-air batteries. Time and energy must be spent to locate and purchase batteries, and many people argue that this effort isn’t worth it. This causes them to use their hearing aids less or forego buying them at all.

The answer to this problem lies in our computers, cell phones, and tablets.

How rechargeable hearing aid batteries are the solution

If you own a rechargeable device, chances are it uses lithium-ion batteries. Many people already understand how useful rechargeable devices are. As long as there’s an outlet nearby, these devices can be charged and used again. These lithium-ion cells also allow for easier use in cold weather, since they are less prone to temperature issues than zinc-air batteries.

By going with a rechargeable option, you are dodging many of the issues associated with disposable batteries. There is no need to visit pharmacies or order batteries online, and you can simply place your hearing aids in their charger every night.

Some types of hearing aids even come with additional charging benefits. For example, Signia’s Pure Charge & Go hearing aids offer fast charge, wireless charging, and higher convenience.

If you’re curious about how much you would save by switching to a rechargeable option like Pure Charge & Go, Signia has a battery savings calculator. Input how many hours you spend using your hearing aids, and it will calculate how much you’ll save by ditching zinc-ion batteries (Calculate Your Battery Savings Here).

Other benefits of lithium-ion batteries

Along with being more convenient and cost-effective, lithium-ion batteries also offer a host of other benefits. Unlike disposable batteries, lithium-ion batteries leave no waste behind when they run out of charge. You can simply recharge and reuse them.

For those with dexterity issues, replacing zinc-air batteries can be an issue in their day-to-day lives. They might struggle to open their hearing aids, handle the small batteries, and successfully insert them. With rechargeable hearing aids, this issue is nearly nonexistent. They can simply take off their hearing aids at the end of the day and place them in their charger.

Lithium-ion batteries also reduce the chances of being caught off-guard by low batteries. Zinc-air batteries can run out unexpectedly, and this can pose a problem if the person is currently busy, not near any replacements, or forgot to purchase new batteries.

As long as rechargeable hearing aids are placed in their charging station the night before, they should last all day with no problem. Even if you do begin running low, all you need is your charger and an outlet to get your hearing aids back in working order.

Finding rechargeable hearing aids worth buying

If you are interested in rechargeable hearing aids, you might be wondering how to go about buying a pair.

Before going in, it’s important to note that more sophisticated hearing aids might cost more up-front. However, while rechargeable options might cost more than traditional zinc-air hearing aids, the long-term cost savings and other benefits far outweigh those that don’t offer rechargeability.

Many rechargeable hearing aids like Pure Charge & Go also offer additional features like direct streaming and Own Voice Processing.

Signia currently offers these rechargeable hearing aids:

  • Styletto
  • Pure Charge&Go Nx
  • Motion Charge&Go Nx

You can find more information around all these rechargeable hearing aids here on our website.

Above all else, it is important to get a pair of hearing aids that suit your needs. Additional features are secondary to functionality. For that reason, it is recommended that you talk to a professional about your options.

Once you’ve undergone a hearing test and examination (test your hearing quickly and easily online), you and your hearing care professional (HCP) can begin going over different brands, prices, and what type of hearing aid would benefit you most.

If you’ve never used hearing aids before, you might discuss what you want from hearing aids, and what model can best give this to you. For people who already own hearing aids, this is a chance to purchase an upgrade.

Upgrading to a newer hearing aid can improve your hearing, introduce you to new features, and increase how much you enjoy using your hearing aids. If some aspect of hearing aids displeases you, bring it up with your HCP and ask about recent technology that might solve this. Chances are, innovations have been made since you bought your last pair.

If you don’t already have a HCP, the Signia store locator can help you find one in your area. It’s important that you find someone you trust, and the store locator can help you get in contact with trained professionals near you. Along with their store location, the map also provides directions and information on each provider.