Modern rechargeable hearing aids have proven hugely popular with hearing aid users. All of the big hearing aid brands have taken notice and they all have introduced them to their ranges. This article is dedicated to all of the rechargeable hearing aids offered by the big brands and will be updated as more new innovations come along.
Phonak was, of course, the first brand to introduce the modern range of rechargeable hearing aids but they were quickly followed by Signia. The two market leaders introduced Lithium-Ion powered rechargeable hearing aids. Originally, the rest of the brands went for Silver-Zinc powered rechargeable hearing aids powered by the Z-Power system. However, Starkey introduced a Lithium-Ion powered rechargeable hearing aid in 2018 as well as the Z-Power system powered device they introduced in 2017. With the introduction by Resound of the LiNX Quattro lithium-ion powered hearing devices in late 2018 and the rumours we are hearing, it now looks like every hearing aid brand will introduce Lithium-Ion powered rechargeables.
The Latest Rechargeable Hearing Aids for 2019
The rechargeable hearing aids introduced in 2019 are as follows:
- Bernafon Viron miniRITE-R: Lithium-ion powered rechargeable RIC from Bernafon
- Unitron Moxi Jump R Discover: Lithium-ion powered rechargeable RIC from Unitron
- Phillips Hearlink miniRITET-R: Lithium-ion powered rechargeable RIC from Phillips
- Oticon Opn S miniRite-R: Lithium-ion powered rechargeable RIC from Oticon
- Phonak Audeo Marvel R: Lithium-ion powered rechargeable RIC from Phonak
- Signia Styletto Connect: Lithium-ion powered rechargeable slim RIC from Signia
- Resound LiNX Quattro Rechargeable: Lithium-ion powered rechargeable RIC from Resound
Two Types of Rechargeable Systems
As I said, rechargeable hearing aids have really grown in favour since the introduction of modern devices. As you by now will realise, there are two modern rechargeable hearing aid system types, each having their strengths and weaknesses. I keep saying modern because rechargeable hearing aids have been around for a long time. Of the so-called “Big 6 hearing aid manufacturers“, Signia (the artist who was formerly called Siemens, a long-standing joke here) was the only brand with rechargeable hearing devices up until 2017. They have been doing rechargeable hearing aids the longest.
However, before then, they based their rechargeable battery systems on nickel metal hydride. The battery wasn’t adequate for most people, and the charge often would not last through the day especially if you were using any audio streaming. All of those problems went away with the introduction of Lithium-Ion and Silver-Zinc rechargeable battery systems.
As I said, Signia was not the first to the market with Lithium-Ion; Phonak pipped them at the post with their “Audeo B-R” product line. The power pack design is similar though, with the battery lasting up to 30 hours on a charge and a lifespan of 3-4 years. This system does not allow the easy replacement of the power pack. The other hearing aid brands are using the Silver-Zinc technology. This system combines the best of both worlds, offering over thirty hours of use on one charge, and you can change the batteries to traditional hearing aid batteries if you forget to charge. However, there have been some problems with the Z-power system and many of the hearing aid brands are moving away from it.
The Future of Rechargeable Hearing Aids?
From speaking to people in the industry, I think the future of rechargeable hearing aids will be Lithium-Ion for the foreseeable future. Most of the hearing aid brands are considering Lithium-Ion power packs for their new rechargeable hearing aid offerings and if they haven’t already introduced them they are in the process of doing so.
Why Should You Consider Rechargeable Hearing Aids?
There are many reasons why you should consider buying rechargeable hearing aids and I would like to set them out here. Generally, rechargeable hearing aid options are no more, or little more expensive than the models that use traditional hearing aid batteries, so the cost of adoption is negligible. In the next few paragraphs, I will compare Silver-Zinc rechargeable batteries to disposable batteries. Lithium-Ion power packs are a little different in nature and need to be replaced once every three to four years. I am still unsure of the cost of replacement of Lithium-Ion power packs. So I haven’t discussed them here.
Ease of Use
Rechargeable hearing aids offer real ease of use to you, no fiddling around with little batteries every few days. The size of hearing aid batteries, and in fact hearing aids themselves, can be irritating and troubling to users, especially if they have eyesight or dexterity issues. Just removing the disposable battery from the packaging can be a mini-nightmare for some people, let alone opening the battery compartment and getting the damn battery in there!
So, if you have decreased dexterity or a condition that numb the fingertips, such as arthritis, diabetic neuropathy, and Parkinson’s disease well then, rechargeable hearing aids are most definitely for you. Rechargeable hearing aids are simply put into the charger at night, and in the morning they are ready for use. More than that, you don’t need to remember to buy batteries, you don’t need to remember to carry spares, you never run out and generally your battery won’t let you down at the very worst moment.
Good For The World
Rechargeable batteries are far greener and better for the environment than disposable hearing aid batteries. With silver-zinc rechargeable batteries (the Z-Power system), you will need to replace them once a year, during a five-year time-frame, you will need 8 batteries. During the same time span, you will need on average 520 disposable batteries.
When you need to replace your rechargeable silver-zinc batteries, it will cost you on average maybe £50. So basically, apart from utility costs (electricity), a year’s worth of rechargeable bliss is around fifty quid. If you shop very carefully, you could probably buy a year’s worth of disposable batteries for around the same price. So the cost is probably relatively neutral. For those people who don’t shop for their hearing aid batteries online, rechargeable batteries are probably a far cheaper option.
How Long Do Rechargeable Hearing Aids Last?
The hearing aids themselves should last for anything up to seven to ten years, the batteries are a slightly different thing. It is recommended that rechargeable silver-zinc batteries (The ZPower system) are replaced once a year. Li-ion batteries are sealed within the hearing aid and are usually removable only by the hearing aid manufacturer. They are said to last between 4 to 5 years and will then need to be replaced. However, Signia has released a smaller Li-ion device called the Pure ChargeNGo and they are advising people that the smaller cell may need to be changed every three to four years. The batteries will continue to function after the replacement period, they just might not deliver a full day’s worth of use any longer.
Resound introduced the LiNX Quattro in late 2018 with a whopping thirty hours of battery life even when streaming. The devices are powered by Lithium-ion and Resound has been very clever with its recharger case design. It offers several days of charge on the go. With that type of battery life, I would imagine that the replacement of the cell will probably not be an issue for many years.
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