Once you’ve purchased your hearing aids, there are a few accessories that keep them operating properly and in the best condition. In addition to a case to carry them in and tools to help keep them clean, batteries are an essential and ongoing purchase for every hearing aid wearer.
Types of hearing aid batteries
While there are rechargeable batteries available on the market, the most common type is still the zinc-air button disposable battery. Traditionally hearing aid batteries were produced using trace amounts of mercury to assist with conductivity and stabilize internal components, but mercury is no longer used in hearing aid batteries.
Because zinc-air batteries are air-activated, a factory-sealed sticker allows them to remain inactive until it is removed. Once peeled from the back of the battery, oxygen will interact with the zinc in the battery and “turn it on.” To get the best performance from a zinc-air battery, wait about one minute after removing the sticker to fully activate before placing it in the hearing device. Replacing the sticker will not deactivate the battery, so once the sticker is removed, the battery will remain in an active state until the power is drained.
Zinc-air batteries remain stable for up to three years when stored in a room temperature, dry environment. Storing zinc-air batteries in the refrigerator has no benefits and could cause condensation to form under the sticker, which could reduce battery life prematurely.
Sizes of batteries
Hearing aids come in many different sizes and styles and with different power needs. Larger hearing aids require larger batteries. Additionally, hearing aids for people with severe or profound hearing losses typically require more power and larger batteries.
There are five sizes of hearing aid batteries available on the market. The sizes from smallest to largest are: 5, 10, 312, 13 and 675. Size 5 hearing aid batteries are rarely used. The four most common hearing aid battery sizes are all smaller than the diameter of a dime:
- Size 10 - 5.8 mm wide by 3.6 mm high
- Size 312 - 7.9 mm wide by 3.6 mm high
- Size 13 - 7.9 mm wide by 5.4 mm high
- Size 675 - 11.6 mm wide by 5.4 mm high
Because size differences may be hard to notice and difficult to remember, battery packaging is color-coded so finding and purchasing the correct ones is easier.
- Size 5 batteries - red label
- Size 10 batteries - yellow label
- Size 312 batteries - brown label (most common in the U.S.)
- Size 13 batteries - orange label
- Size 675 batteries - blue label
Hearing aid batteries can last anywhere from five to 14 days, based on a 16-hour day of wear. This is dependent upon the size of the battery and power needed by the hearing aid. Typically, smaller batteries have shorter battery life than larger ones.
The average life span of hearing aid batteries is as follows:
- Size 10 - three to seven days
- Size 312 - three to 10 days
- Size 13 - six to 14 days
- Size 675 - nine to 20 days
If you are experiencing shortened battery life, there may be an issue with the hearing device. In this case, you should consult your user manual or contact your hearing healthcare professional to make sure everything is working properly.
How to extend the life of a hearing aid battery
While there aren’t any foolproof ways to extend battery life, these tips will ensure the power isn’t being wasted.
Turn the hearing devices off when not in use and leave the battery compartment door open overnight. Not only will this help keep battery power from being wasted, it will allow any moisture that has built up from the day's use to evaporate overnight.
To get optimal performance from your batteries, always store them at room temperature. Heat exposure and humid environments such as a bathroom will shorten battery life. Also, batteries shouldn’t be carried loose in pockets, a purse or a backpack where they might come into contact with other metal objects like coins or keys that can short-circuit the hearing aid batteries.
Hearing aid battery brands
Common manufacturers of hearing aid batteries include Rayovac and Energizer. However, many hearing aid manufacturers sell batteries wholesale to hearing care professionals, and the batteries may carry the brand name of that hearing aid manufacturer.
Another common practice is private labeling of batteries. This means the hearing care professional may purchase batteries wholesale and have them labeled with the name, address, phone number and logo associated with their office.
Regardless of the branding, most hearing aid batteries are made by trusted companies that produce other types of batteries for all types of electronics.
Where to purchase hearing aid batteries
Batteries are typically available in mass retail stores, pharmacies, grocery stores, electronics stores and through online retailers.
You might also choose to purchase batteries through your hearing healthcare provider. Because hearing care providers go through their stock of batteries quickly, many wearers feel they are getting fresher batteries. Also, if you forget what battery size you need for your particular device, the hearing healthcare professional will ensure you are purchasing the correct one.
Additionally, it’s worth asking if your hearing health practitioner offers any kind of battery club or discount program. These programs can save you money on your battery purchases and, in some cases, you can request the batteries be sent directly to you saving you a trip to the office.