Regular Batteries versus Rechargeable

#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.

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#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.

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#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.

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#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.

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#34

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

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#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:

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#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.

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#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.

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#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.

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#43

That is just something else to carry around, and when camping are traveling fast it is just unwanted extra weight

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#44

I don’t think disposable battery users begrudge users of rechargeable batteries–we just don’t want to be forced into using them. Just like you don’t want to be forced into using a hearing aid without a very advanced app.

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#45

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#47

I use to backpack with my dad we only carried our guns and ammo and a knife and maybe a sleep roll and a change of clothes. If we don’t score our food on the trail we didn’t eat. The reason my dad did it with me was to teach me to survive the hard times and really enjoy the good times and things in life. What I really learned was to take what ever thing that comes at me in stride and figure out what was the best way to handle it. It really made things less stressful and taught me I don’t need the fancy things.

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#49

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#51

Jim I am talking about the late 1950s and early 1960s in east Texas we still had lots of open land or we had large farms and ranges that back then the owns did not care if we crossed or even camped as long as we did not disturb them.
Then back in 2002 I lost my first wife due to a roll over accident, and I was not handling it that well as could be expected. My dad, my uncle and two of my cousins took me out in to the deep woods of east Texas where we roughed it for 10 days, and I was not allowed to be a lone for a minute. It really helped, and having my cousin there that just happened to be a pastor did help a lot too. What none of my family and friends knew or maybe I did not know they knew was that I did not want to be a live any more. My wife was going to retire from 29 years of teaching the week end after the accident, and my daughter was graduating from high school that next weekend. It was like the world was caving in on me. But that 10 days set me back on the path that I needed, because I had to be there for my kids and grandkids.

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#53

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#54

I’m personally a huge lithium battery and rechargeable fan. I’ve worked on lots of custom battery projects out of lithium cells from custom e-bikes, RC cars or portable battery packs. I’m working on a custom battery pack right now for our handheld ham radios that we use for racing and building the battery pack out of regular 18650 lithium batteries. It’s amazing what you can do with these batteries and for such a small cost.

The rechargeable batteries in these hearing aids are subject to the same battery principles for any lithium based cell. They are good for a certain number of charge cycles, and they lose X% of their overall capacity with each charge cycle depending on how deep the charge cycle went and other factors like heat, rate of charge, etc. I expect Phonak sourced high quality cells and tested them well to meet the manufacturers specs, so barring manufacturing defects, you are left with the regular lifespan of a lithium cell. They can vary a bit based on a lot of factors, but the general rule of thumb is that a lithium cell with lose about 15% of it’s maximum capacity after 250 charge cycles. A full charge cycle is running the battery dead, and modern electronics shut the devices off at the proper minimum voltage.So a charge cycle for someone who runs their hearing aids down to only 50% each night is theoretically is only using half a charge cycle and won’t lose as much capacity with each charge. Smaller cycles in the middle of the charging range makes a huge improvement in battery life and stress, but no one wants to pull their phone or hearing aids off the charger at 60% and run them to 40% several times per day. In the end, a hearing aid battery may still work after 5 or 6 years, but it will have likely have less than half the capacity at that point and may not really be usable.

Battery tech is really incredible and it’s advancing fast in some areas, but so slow in others. Battery University is a great resource on how batteries work and how you can prolong the life of your batteries. There are a lot of battery myths out there with battery memory, charging, etc. that persist out there that just don’t exist anymore.

My biggest gripe with the rechargeable hearing aids is when I go to bed. Sometimes I like to talk to my wife as we fall asleep. I’ll keep my right hearing aid in until she’s out or until it’s time to roll over and I’ll pull my HA and pop the door cover and lay it on the nightstand. Or… I’ll turn on the light, open the lid to the charger, drop it in, close the lid and go to sleep. Maybe I’ll learn how to do that in the dark, but it’s a pain. I’m totally spoiled from having worn the Lyrics for the last 10 years which allowed me to hear 24x7 and change the hearing aids every 3 months. You really take that stuff for granted with a switch like this. I really miss being able to hear 24x7.

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#56

Jim,
Have you done any research on Lithium Ion Polymer batteries? It is my understanding that this newer technology is better than the older Lithium Ion technology. Lithium Ion Polymer batteries are significantly lighter and supply significantly more power. Battery life is also significantly longer. They are also significantly more expensive. But if they are used in HA’s that cost thousands of dollars, maybe a higher price battery could be justified. Maybe that is how Phonak is coming up with their claims of a 6 year battery lifetime and a full day’s use even with streaming while using such a tiny battery.

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#58

Battery University is calling the Lithium Ion Polymer battery hype, but then at the bottom of the article it says:
Last Updated 2017-07-31
That’s almost two years ago and I know that technology can make a lot of advances in two years. But then I’m no battery chemist or engineer.

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#61

I had a FCC General while in the service it didn’t require Morse code, I couldn’t figure out how to understand Morse code and as it turned out it was due to my hearing loss. And as it turned out my hearing loss was due to my job in the service.
And as an Electronics Tech and software engineer my hearing loss made my job much harder. But I managed for many years with out hearing aids but as I look back I wish I had gotten aids much earlier in life maybe I wouldn’t have the issues with word recognition that I have now.

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