Regular Batteries versus Rechargeable


#21

My understanding is the Widex fuel cell won’t be coming out until later this year and there are still many unanswered questions about how it works. And though the 20 second full charge sounds great - how often do you have to squirt methanol into your Widex HA to keep it working. No one knows. But I’m all for new technology and cost saving.


#22

Widex claim 20-24 hours


#23

Barring the debate over the economics between regular vs rechargeable batteries (where regular batteries still most likely win hands-down, even with the latest fuel cell technology), one drawback I see with rechargeable batteries is that you’re tied down to where your charging unit is at night, even if power outage is not an issue.

There’s no sponntaneous freedom anymore to do unplanned things like deciding last minute to stay overnight at a friend’s house, because you didn’t bring the charging station with you and must go home to recharge your hearing aids. With your phone, you can borrow a friend’s charger (pretty universal), and even if they use a different phone platform, most likely you have a spare cable used for your car and you can just use it to plug into your friend’s 5V plug. With a (non-Zpower type) rechargeable battery system, you’re pretty much dead in the water because it’s not universal like a phone charger.

Or what if you fall asleep on the couch watching a movie late at night and forgot to haul yourself up to go to the bedroom to drop your hearing aids into the charging station?

God forbids, what if your charging station malfunctions? There’s no backup until a replacement can be obtained.

With the ZPower design where you can interchangeably use either the removable/rechargeable batteries or the regular batteries, this freedom issue is alleviated as long as you keep regular batteries in the car or with the car keys or in your wallet/purse, etc. But with the other types, the spontaneous freedom is lost and you need to plan ahead for things.

So it’s not all about the convenience of not being interrupted due to low battery issue. There’s a price to pay for losing certain freedom to do things as well.

As for the fuel cell taking only 20 seconds to charge, that’s fine and dandy, as long as you have it nearby you. The regular batteries take less than 20 seconds to change. And at least you can carry regular batteries or stash them with you everywhere you go. You can’t do that with your fuel cell charging station.


#24

There are lots of “what-if’s” but I think I’ve got the one’s covered that I might run in to.

  1. I have a gas fired generator tied in to my house electrical system. If my power goes out, the generator kicks in and I have uninterrupted power.
  2. I purchased three Marvel chargers and always keep one in the car.
  3. I have several Anker power banks that the chargers will plug in to and they will hold dozens of charges if I’m going to go someplace where power might be a problem. I purchased the power banks for our cell phones but they will also work just fine for the Marvels.

#25

I am new to HA’s and am looking at the various models on the market. At this point, I think I would rate having rechargeable batteries as a negative attribute. Over the years I have used rechargeable batteries for various purposes, and in the end I get frustrated with them for being expensive, having a short life, and not having a predictable charge life. And, I would not consider an all electric vehicle like a Tesla for even a second. That said, I drive a hybrid, and love it. It looks after itself, and all I have to remember to do is fill it with gas…

It seems that rechargeable batteries always let you down by not being charged when you need them. Yes, it is probably negligence on my part, but I have enough things to worry about, without worrying about whether or not my rechargeable batteries are charged. Yes, I will still have to remember to buy and carry non rechargeable batteries, but that seems much easier.

I am currently looking at buying the Kirkland Signature 8.0 HA’s, but also debating as to whether or not I should wait for the 9.0 version. The obvious potential upgrade that the 9.0 version might have is a rechargeable battery. I think that would be a deal killer for me, and I would just buy the 8.0 to get the regular 312 batteries.


#26

For me the choice to go rechargeable was easy. I used to change my Dad’s batteries for him and it was not the easiest thing for me to do since I do have some dexterity problems in my hands. Also the disposable battery compartment is one more area where the aids can develop problems with moisture and possibly breaking as did happen with my Dad’s aids. The Marvels come with two different chargers (one is a small clamshell and the other is the slightly larger Omni Charger). Neither one is all that difficult to pack when I go on a trip especially since I also pack my computer charger, phone charger, watch charger, etc. so again not a big deal. Further, my audiologist also included the Power Pack which clips onto the bottom of the Omni Charger to provide seven additional full charges for when you don’t have access to power (e.g. camping, etc.). Lastly, as Mark mentioned, the Omni charger also includes a C&C Dry Cap “compartment” in the Omni Charger to provide de-humidifying while the aids are being charged. And as also mentioned Phonak indicates the rechargeable lithium batteries should last six years which is most likely well beyond when I will upgrade to new aids.


#27

You might want to reconsider keeping a charger in the car, at least during summertime. Temperature inside a car can easily get over 135 to 140 deg F in a closed car. Even in the trunk in hot places like Texas the temperature in an asphalt parking lot (and thus eventually in the car) can climb to over 135 deg F. This storage temperature will degrade the Li-ion battery over time. Most Li-ion battery instructions advise not using/keeping the battery above about 95 deg F. If a higher temperature is allowed, what they don’t tell you is that it’s going to shorten the overall long-term useful lifespan of the battery. Also, just sitting around not doing anything, Li-ion batteries lose useful lifespan faster if stored fully charged. The optimal State-of-Charge (SOC) for storing a Li-ion battery is 40% to 50% SOC.


#28

I think the status of the recharger, being Li-ion powered as well, is the same as the HA’s. If the recharger performs well early in its life, it’s unlikely to fail unexpectedly during the rest of its life. And as to something bad that might happen to the charger or a rechargeable HA, the same could happen to a regular HA and you might be inconvenienced for some amount of time before one could get a replacement. The best combined solution would be something like the Z-Power rechargeable where one can just swap in a disposable in a pinch as needed. But all the stuff about being tied to a charger - the same goes for your battery supply - you have to remember to take it with you, make sure you have an adequate supply, etc. All the remote places where you don’t have electricity, you don’t have HA providers, disposable battery sellers, etc. Once upon a time, people used to say don’t buy a foreign car, e.g., Japanese, buy American. Because as soon as you go anywhere outside a big city and your car breaks down, you’re screwed. You won’t be able to find anyone who can repair it. Somehow those admonitions didn’t prevent better foreign cars from putting American car makers in their place for turning out crappy products with a high level of defects off the selling room floor. So I think the same sort of argument is being made here. A lot of people are still going to go for the perceived advantages of rechargeables and not worry about the boogeyman breakdown problem “outside the big city.” I think if they could make a rechargeable battery(or fuel cell) that had a 10-year usable lifespan and could go 5 or 6 days between charges, we wouldn’t be debating which is better - the rechargeable solution would carry the day. The limited “finite” lifespan and the need to recharge on a ~daily basis are what makes the rechargeable less than the answer to the world’s problems.


#29

It would be great if there were Li-ion powered batteries that were removable and could be substituted in a pinch by disposable batteries but perhaps because of the potential dangers of Li-ion technology, a battery has to be so well-packaged that you can’t make them self-contained in HA size very easily - thus they have to be built in. But my Quattro’s easily get at least 30 hours of battery use when fully charged and the charging case holds at least 3 complete charges for both HA’s so I can go at least 90 hours without electricity. At 15 hours of use a day, that’s 6 days of use without needing to be near an electrical outlet and if I needed to extend that, I could buy another charging case for about $180 - that would give me 12 days of use away from an electrical outlet.


#30

Jim,
I keep a spare charger in the car. I keep it as a spare if I need to use it in a hotel/motel/house. I definitely don’t leave my HA’s in the car.


#31

Jim,
If you want another week or two of power, consider buying an Anker Power Bank. You can simply plug your HA charger in to the Power Bank instead of the wall wart. Power Banks are cheap and only $20 to $50 depending on how big you want.


#32

Maybe the Marvel charger is different than the ReSound charger. The ReSound charger is not only a magnetic induction charger (or something like that) but it also contains a Li-ion battery that is humongous compared to what’s in the HA’s themselves. So the ReSound charger serves as a battery pack backup. Without electricity, you can plop your HA’s in the ReSound charger and it rechargers you HA’s off the contained battery in the charger. Storing the ReSound charger in a hot environment like you car would be bad. The ReSound charger can carry enough charge for 90 hours of use for your HA’s. Too bad if the Marvel charger doesn’t offer a built-in battery. If it does, as I advised, I wouldn’t keep the Marvel charger in the car, either.


#33

That’s a good suggestion but since my ReSound charger itself is essentially a battery pack, I don’t know whether the Anker Power Bank has enough voltage to charge another battery pack downstream from it, which has to operate at a high enough voltage to drive the Li-ion batteries in the HA themselves into a charged state. So the question is, how many battery packs can you daisy chain one on top of the other?


#34

The Marvel charger doesn’t have a built-in battery so keeping a spare in the care isn’t a problem.


#35

That’s a good suggestion but since my ReSound charger itself is essentially a battery pack, I don’t know whether the Anker Power Bank has enough voltage to charge another battery pack downstream from it, which has to operate at a high enough voltage to drive the Li-ion batteries in the HA themselves into a charged state. So the question is, how many battery packs can you daisy chain one on top of the other?

With your charger having it’s own built-in battery, my suggestion of an external power bank is redundant. :thinking:


#36

I am not familiar with the Resound charger, but if the charge cord is usb a, and the Resound charger output is nominally 5V, then the power bank should work just fine.


#37

Thanks @etherington for the info. The AC adapter for the USB A to micro-USB cord does say that the power output of the cable is 1 A @ 5 V so that would be great if an Anker Power Bank could recharge my ReSound charger/battery pack. Paying $20 to $50 for an Anker Power Bank is certainly a lot cheaper than another $180 or so for a second ReSound charger. Guess the only reason for buying a 2nd charger would be to have a backup charger handy in case my original one fails. If I got both an Anker pack and a spare ReSound charger to keep safely at home, I’d have all my bases covered and I could just chalk up the extra expense to the “slush” fund of the money I saved by getting my Quattro 9 61’s at a big saving (~$4,600 total with charger, $2,600 after insurance) through TruHearing and a local audi as the fitter.


#38

God forbids, what if your charging station malfunctions? There’s no backup until a replacement can be obtained.

Yea - excellent point and I still don’t see a charging station - removing moisture from a HA. Could be wrong but I’m starting to think this recharge deal could be some what of a “fad” that could fade quickly. I’d rather have peace of mind that my HA’s works for X amount of days straight versus checking at the end of the day or after twelve hours of wearing to see how much battery life I have left. Life is too complicated to play the battery length test every night when I go to bed versus packs of discard batteries that will last me six months.


#39

The ReSound Quattro instructions say nothing about the need to dry HA’s. The instructions do say at several points “It is important to keep your hearing aid clean and dry” but other than using a soft cloth or tissue on the HA’s overall and a brush on the microphone inlets, the instructions say nothing about using a drier. Might be like UV “sterilization” of HA’s that it’s something that appeals to the OCD side of HA users. A rechargeable that has a sealed battery compartment like the Quattro is more impervious to moisture than HA’s with battery doors so if there is any worry about moisture, I have less with a Quattro. It does say in the operating conditions section that the HA’s will function in up to 90% relative humidity (for a limited time) and my HA’s do have an IP58 rating - the “8” part presumably indicating that they ought to be pretty resistant to low-pressure static water vapor. Since I plan to keep my Quattro’s 5 to 6 years at least unless something truly phenomenal comes along, I’ll update my post here as years go by to see whether or not the Quattro’s still keep working fine without using a drier (or UV sterilization to “prevent” ear infection). Dealer packs and extended car warranties are sold on the same basis - to take advantage of the buyer’s anxiety to have “everything” that strangely enough is never sold in the basic package.

P.S. And as I’ve noted elsewhere, on first getting my Quattro’s I asked my very experienced audi if I needed a dryer. Her answer was essentially, “Nah! And the charger in slightly heating the HA’s performs a drying function anyway.” So if an audi is a “health care provider” they ought to know but perhaps like everything else amongst users, opinions probably differ greatly amongst audi’s as to what TLC is advisable for HA’s - and maybe some providers make a few extra bucks (just like car dealers) in selling the user driers and UV sterilizers…???


#40

Well remember a hearing aid dehumidifier also drys out “receivers in ear molds” which are impacted “big time” by moisture. If you live where there is high humidity or happen to sweat a lot - you should dry out your aids /receivers on a routine basis. Just saying that for now I think battery recharging units and dehumidifiers for HA are two different animals. And when an AU tells you a receiver might last two years if you keep it dry - well I’m going to cook mine during warm summer months if not longer.