Regular Batteries versus Rechargeable


#1

About five years ago the light came on and I realized I could save quite a bit of money ordering HA batteries online. Hey no more Rite Aid/drug store pick ups. And if you buy in volume - say batteries for six month the cost is relatively peanuts. Cheap and my current/old aids lasted eight to ten days - size 675. Sometimes longer but I wasn’t using cell phone, nor streaming, etc. So fast forward and now I’m looking to buy future HA’s that use rechargeable batteries and scratching my head. Why go through the pain every day (or night) recharging batteries. Over and over again? And then I wonder if putting new hearing aids in a charging unit over a one, two, three year period might actually do more harm then good to hearing aids? Again i’m just guessing here since I’m old school. I also wondering how you can use a dehumidifier to remove moisture from HA, when you are forced to put aids in a battery charger unit every night. I’m a strong believer in drying out aids in mid to high level humidity or if aids get wet. Not so much during winter or colder months. So when you buy a new hearing aid you also have to buy a combo unit that charges batteries while also drying out aids? Or you charge battery and then put HA in a dehumidifier? And what ever I get I’m starting to wonder if I will really will save that much money over a three year period recharging batteries versus spending say $150 to buy a three year supply of throw away batteries. When you’re over sixty your not necessarily into all the bells and whistles but maybe I don’t realize how much power new aids require, thus the need to recharge ever night. But if I could get buy with a size 13 battery five to seven days I tend to think that’s the way to go versus the current fad. Thoughts?


#2

I have new Oticon OPN1s ITE hearing aids with full connectivity so I am getting 4 days out of 312 batteries. My aids can’t be set up for rechargeable. I live in an area that is very humid so my aids go in the dryer every night. I am a retired Electronics Tech/Software Engineer and I feel that rechargeable hearing aids are not ready for prime time yet. There seems to be issues that need to be worked out. And it seems that the rechargeable batteries need to be replaced yearly and sometimes before. And also to be honest I love to go camping and don’t need anything else that needs daily charging.


#3

The pros and cons of various rechargeables has been debated in other threads so you can find a lot of opinions floating around here on the forum. Widex has just announced a methanol-powered fuel cell aid coming out this summer.

Since one has to remove the HA’s every night to sleep and you have to put them somewhere, so putting them in a charging unit is not a big deal. I have the Li-ion powered rechargeable Quattro’s and they have an IP58 rating so I’m not overly worried about air humidity. My audi also claimed that during the process of charging, the slight heat from the charging process dries them out. Our house humidity never goes above about 65% so things dry out by themselves pretty well, too, just sitting overnight.

I think it mainly boils down to whether you don’t mind changing batteries and want to be able to “recharge” your HA’s by being able to put fresh batteries in anywhere, anytime vs. you don’t like changing batteries, don’t mind the possible extra expense for whatever type of rechargeable, and like the idea that each morning your HA’s can be fully charged and you don’t have to worry about when the batteries are going to die, mind a schedule, etc., worry about whether you’ve streamed too much today or been on the phone too long, etc. (or completely forgot). So rechargeables potentially free you from schedule minding/battery fiddling but potentially at considerable cost and bother in other arenas.

I don’t think there is any right answer (although Consumer Reports in a recent reader survey reported that rechargeability is the #1 feature that readers want in HA’s by far). Neville and others have reported that a majority of average HA users (not the users of this forum) are really pushing the elderly mark where dexterity with small batteries may become a consideration. I don’t think rechargeables are an insidious scheme that HA OEM’s are foisting on their customers to reap a bigger profit.


#4

Thanks Jim for reply. I’m willing to explore benefits of rechargeable HA’s but not willing to give up a dryer/dehumidifier. There are times during the summer (high humidity) when I’ve worked outside when I know my HA’s need to cook overnight to dry out. And if you don’t dry out your aids you lose your mold’s receiver sooner versus later. The one draw back I’ve experienced with regular HA’s is the performance of my HA’s will drop as the HA battery gets weaker. That didn’t happen when I had analog hearing aids (Starkey) which seem to operate at full strength until the battery suddenly died. But my aids purchased in 2012 seem to diminish in performance as the battery weakens. Nothing major but I can tell the difference in my hearing level using a fresh battery versus a seven day old battery. So I assume going the recharging route gets you a fresh battery every day or every other day, or until the battery doesn’t fully charge properly. It would be nice if HA’s accepted both regular and chargeable but I bet you have to pick one or the other. Not sure.


#5

They claim that the batteries don’t die slowly but stay the same level until they die but like others I also notice a difference as the batteries get to the end of life


#6

Z-Power rechargeables will accept both normal disposable batteries and Z-Power insertable, rechargeable batteries. The Z-Powers, though, only last about a year before the batteries have to be replaced.


#7

Battery technology seems to get better all the time. I have the Phonak Audeo Marvel M90-R rechargeable. Phonak claims a battery life for the Marvel of 6 years. I stream stereo music several hours a day and when I put my Marvels in the charger at days end I still have 40 to 50% battery remaining. I stayed up way late on New Years Eve going way past my usual bedtime and still had 25% left. I’ve yet to run out of battery before putting them in the charger at the end of the day. For me rechargeable was the right choice, but then I don’t hike, camp, or go anywhere there isn’t an electrical outlet. :sunglasses:


#8

I think the Phonak charger is a dryer as well.


#9

I keep a pack of batteries in my wallet all the time in case of battery dying out suddenly and moreover with my samsung note 4 i have an app called S Note where i mention the date on which new battery is inserted in the hearing aid and i have a pretty good idea of when to expect battery change.


#10

I keep them in all the cars, in my computer bag, in the desk, at the vacation house, everywhere. My aids, depending on how much I stream, die in the afternoon of the 8th or 9th day. I just change them every Sunday morning. Even as tempting as the Widex fuel cell sounds you’re still stuck to the well. I have no desire to haul a charger around.


#11

Well I agree if your traveling a lot or just away from home for a few nights hauling a charger around could be a pain in the butt. But I’m having a problem not seeing the real savings in rechargeable batteries. Case in point a few months back I bought through Amazon 60 Rayovac extra mercury batteries (size 675) for $17.80. And yes that price is correct. So those sixty batteries will last me six months plus. Now my HA’s are 2012 (I’m shopping) and they are not used with cell phone or any other streaming equipment. But really - are members here telling me I’m going to save money recharging batteries every night versus spending $40 a year for throw away batteries?

As far as I can see there is absolutely no cost benefit going the recharging route, unless new HA’s with all the bells and whistles eat battery power like crazy. So say a size 13 battery which would normally last me a week (or slightly more with old HA’s) is going to last how long with a Phonak Marvel or WIdex Evoke with limited cell uses/streaming use? Six days instead of Seven? Five days instead of Seven? Four days? Just asking. But even if its five days a week I’m still just paying $50 - $60 a year for batteries. If you do the math it just doesn’t seem to match up.


#12

For me it had nothing to do with the cost of batteries. I just didn’t want to have to fool with buying, carrying, and changing all those tiny batteries. I put my Marvels in their charging case every night just as I put my Pixel cell phone on its charger every night. Both my Marvels and my Pixel phone last me all day with power to spare without having to think about batteries.


#13

I have read somewhere that if you go to the rechargeable route then you have to change them after 5 years which costs about $268 for a new lithium ion battery according to Phonak.


#14

Phonak says that the battery technology used in the Marvels will be good for 6 years. Before then there’s no question that I will have gone on to an even more advanced technological “Marvel”. :sunglasses:


#15

Another interesting difference between rechargeables and disposables is that fitting instructions, at least for ReSound, tell the audi to put a brand new pair of disposables in HA’s before fitting whereas there is no such admonition for rechargeables, just to have them well-charged. So that could invidiously be interpreted as in crunch time. for day to day use, a rechargeable might be somewhat more reliable. A rechargeable will eventually die but it’s probably more likely to die slowly than to just conk out on you unexpectedly - i.e., if the rechargeable lasts through a number of initial recharges, barring maltreatment, it’s probably going to be good for its long but finite lifespan whereas every disposable is a new one-time only test. With quality control, almost every disposable is going to be great but each new disposable battery put to use is a first-time, one-time only test. Any opinions as to whether if you make it through the first hour or two you’re likely to be good for the rest of the rated lifetime for a disposable?


#16

Actually a Lithium-ion battery evenly maintains its charge until it is depleted and then suddenly stops. Correct me if I’m wrong but don’t disposables continually lose charge until depleted?

I’m still a new HA user, but so far with my rechargeable Marvels I’m seeing 40 to 50% still remaining when I put them back in the charger at the end of the day. I’m really not worried about running out of battery power.


#17

I think that you mean “voltage,” not “charge.” Here is a discharge curve for a Li-ion battery:

image

Here is a variety of discharge curves for different battery types. Looks like the zinc-air (the yellow line) is pretty level, too, maybe even better than a Li-ion battery!

image


#18

I’ve been using disposable batteries longer then I’d like to admit and have never had a problem. But one has to wonder if someone coming home late at night might forget to charge their HA’s? Maybe some over indulges on the drinking side and falls a sleep before recharging batteries. Maybe rechargeable battery gets lost - pretty expensive to get a back up, etc. Maybe your car breaks down and you can’t get home to your charger? And then as posters mentioned the hassle of taking your charging unit on the road. Seems to me the “just right spot” would be a rechargeable battery that last four or five days before it needed recharging.

I live in mid-Atlantic and maybe 4 or 5 times a year we lose power. A couple of those hits could last 24 hours or longer so wouldn’t it be awful if you had a big meeting the following day, wedding, special event and your home lost power through out the night or charging period. Yea maybe I’m drawing straws but batteries that just last 12, 14, 16 hours don’t seem user friendly to me.


#19

I prefer the disposable batteries. For me, the easiest way to always have a set of spare batteries is to carry them in a small container on my keyring. If I’m ever away from the house, I will always have my keys with me. Costs $4. Problem solved.


#20

Widex has that solved with their fuel cell. 20 second full charge and, IIRC, no power required. Still don’t want rechargeable though. Seems to me to be a solution, for the most part, to a non problem. Except for seniors with dexterity problems.