There’s been a lot of talk lately about rechargeable hearing aids, especially a new model called BEYOND Z™ from Widex. Though this technology is state-of-the-art, it’s not for everyone. Let’s take a quick look at what you should know when considering a rechargeable hearing aid.
How Do Rechargeable Hearing Aids Work?
Rechargeable hearing aids like the BEYOND Z use rechargeable silver zinc micro-batteries. These hearing aids use the lowest amount of energy of any rechargeable. All rechargeable hearing aids can be recharged overnight, just like your phone, but in the case of the BEYOND Z, it also accepts traditional zinc-air batteries, so if you run out of charge, traditional batteries can be used as a backup power source. If you already have BEYOND hearing aids, an audiologist can retrofit them to be rechargeable by changing the battery door for a fee.
Is a Rechargeable Hearing Aid More Affordable?
Rechargeable hearing aids like the BEYOND Z are becoming increasingly popular, often because the perception is that they are a less expensive, “greener” option. But traditional hearing aids/batteries are still a practical and budget-friendly choice for many patients, and when disposed of properly, since they are mercury-free, they are more “green” than in the past.
“Many patients think rechargeable hearing aids will be a more cost-effective option, but after analyzing the numbers, we don’t believe there is a significant savings at this time,” explained Tim Steele, Ph.D., FAAA, President, Associated Audiologists.
When purchasing rechargeable hearing aids, the initial investment includes the charger and the cost of the first rechargeable battery or batteries. The rechargeable battery life depends on the type of rechargeable battery used in your device. The annual cost of replacement rechargeable batteries is currently the same as disposable batteries.
Pros and Cons of Rechargeable Hearing Aids
Some of the other current hearing aid technologies with built-in rechargeable batteries may not be the best technologies for hearing performance and satisfaction. Our advice is to utilize the best hearing aid technology for your individual listening needs and budget, and not get wrapped up in finding the best battery technology.
“Bottom line, the BEYOND Z offers more flexibility than we have seen in other rechargeable devices, but we want anyone considering rechargeable hearing aids to be aware of the pluses and minuses of this emerging technology,” Dr. Steele said. “You still have to purchase the charging station, remember to charge your hearing aids every night, and eventually, you will need to replace the batteries.”