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Rechargeable hearing aid batteries are a fantastic option – in theory. But are they practical in the real world? The first rechargeable hearing aid batteries were large (meaning that they could only be used in over-the-ear type aids), took hours to recharge, and did not hold that charge for very long. The best of them only lasted for five to six hours, not the 12 to 14 hours that the average wearer of hearing aids needs.

Numerous technological advancements were needed to make rechargeable batteries a practical option. Batteries became smaller and held a charge longer. And the rechargers themselves were redesigned. Together, these enhancements propelled rechargeable hearing aid batteries so far forward that they are now more eco-friendly and often more cost-efficient than disposable batteries. To emphasize these two qualities, during a three-year span a binaural (both ears) hearing aid user will go through an average of three hundred disposable batteries, which would have to be replaced at a cost of 300 to 400 dollars, and would have to be disposed of. In contrast, the hearing aid wearer using rechargeable batteries would only need 6 of them for that same three-year period, none of which needed to be thrown away; total cost (including the recharger) would be in the range of $100-200.

A side benefit is not having to deal with the plastic packaging that disposable batteries come in. These tightly sealed, small packages are known to be quite challenging for older hearing aid wearers. With some rechargeable hearing aids, you don’t even need to open them to remove the batteries; simply place the entire aid in a recharging unit over night, and it’s all done for you automatically. Other chargers make it unnecessary to return home to recharge the batteries; they consist of a battery-powered pen-sized charger that you carry with you and can be used anywhere.

As a result, it can be said that rechargeable batteries are a viable option for hearing aids, one that can help you both to save money and to save the environment. Plus, if you’re traveling or stuck somewhere without a charger handy, you always have the option of using disposable batteries until you get home.