Everything You Need to Know About Hearing Aid Batteries

Why Do Zinc Air Hearing Aid Batteries Have a Tab?

Zinc Air hearing aid batteries use air as an energy source, and the tab seals the air holes on the battery. Once the tab is removed, it takes approximately two minutes before the hearing aid battery is activated/charged, however, it was recently discovered that 5 Minutes was the optimal time to allow a Zinc Air Hearing Aid battery to “breathe”. At that point, the battery compartment can be closed. If not activated correctly the battery can in the worst case be damaged and will not come back to normal voltage level needed!

Please remember not to remove the tab before the hearing aid battery is to be used. Reattaching the tab will not prolong the running time of the battery.

What are the Battery Hazards?

In Australia, two children have died from button battery-related injuries. Each week, an estimated 20 children visit an emergency department for removal or treatment of a swallowed or inserted button battery.  If a battery is accidentally swallowed, the battery can lodge in the oesophagus and burn a hole in its lining.  This is can be a hazard both to children and pets.

If you suspect a child has swallowed a button battery, immediately call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 or go to a hospital emergency room. Do not let the child eat or drink and do not induce vomiting (“The Battery Controlled – Button battery safety”, 2014).

How Long is the Zinc Air Battery’s Shelf Life?

Hearing aid batteries have a minimum “shelf‐life” of two years. However, this estimate cannot be guaranteed if the batteries were previously stored incorrectly.

Where is the best place to purchase hearing aid batteries?
We strongly recommend that you purchase your batteries from a hearing aid clinic.  You can also purchase batteries online https://valuehearing.com.au/shop/, however we recommend that you stick with the popular brands (e.g. Powerone).
We don’t normally recommend batteries from the chemist or grocery store as these batteries do not last as long (e.g. Energizer, Duracell).  Only purchase if it is for emergency purposes.

How Should Hearing Aid Batteries be Stored?

Optimal room storage temperature for storing hearing aid batteries is between 10 and 25°C. Heat may shorten the running time and a humid environment is not suitable for storage. Finally, avoid storing hearing aid batteries in the refrigerator.  If they have been stored in the refrigerator, it is best to dispose of the batteries as they are likely to be damaged.

Contact with metal objects such as keys or coins can cause a hearing aid battery to short‐circuit, therefore it is recommended to never carry individual batteries loose in a purse, wallet or handbag.

How long is the running time of a hearing aid battery?
The running time of the hearing aid battery depends on the hours of use per day, the amplification and type/features of the hearing aid being used.  Bluetooth streaming has a direct influence on the running time of a battery due to the high current the hearing aids daw in this mode. As the streaming mode is activated automatically, running time of batteries will vary depending on how often and how long streaming is active over the day.

Statistics Show That, in Most of the Cases, the Reasons for a Short Running Time are not Necessarily Production Faults, but Rather:

  • Environmental influences (e.g. humidity, temperature).
  • Personal hearing habits have changed (longer period of use per day, higher noise level, new features of the hearing aid are being used).
  • The hearing aid was in use longer than usual (e.g. night at the theatre).
  • The hearing aid is new, or the type or brand of the hearing aid has changed.
  • The new hearing aid has additional features that require more energy, for example streaming.

Improper Handling Can Also Reduce the Running Time of the Hearing Aid Battery

  • The battery tab is removed and activation period was too short. It has to be 2 Min or more, before it is inserted into the hearing aid.
  • The hearing aid is not switched off over night or after a long period of non‐use.
  • The battery loses capacity due to a short circuit when mishandled (e.g. through contact with metal objects).
  • The battery is stored in a warm environment (e.g. in a parked car in the sun).

Reference:

Frequently asked Questions Standard Zinc Air and Mercury Free Zinc Air Hearing Aid Batteries. (2014). Phonak. Retrieved 18 January 2017, from https://www.phonak.com….

The Battery Controlled – Button battery safety. (2014). Product Safety Australia. Retrieved 18 January 2017, from http://www.productsafety.gov.au/news/the-battery-controlled-button-battery-safety

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23 Comments to “ Everything You Need to Know About Hearing Aid Batteries”

  1. Jackie Cockell says :Reply

    Thanks for this info. Been using hearing aids for about six years now and was unaware that once you remove the tab you have to wait a few minutes before inserting it into hearing aid. Useful advice which possibly should have been advised but the audiologist in the first place

    1. Hi Jackie,

      You are very welcome. I personally have only been aware of the long time frame to let the batteries breathe for about 4 years.
      I think as clinicians we often assume people know what we do and forget to mention some of the details.

      Enjoy your weekend,

      Christo

  2. Margaret says :Reply

    I also was unaware of the fact that newly installed batteries need to “breathe” before being activated. So far it has not been a problem, but I’ll make sure I “rest” them from now on. Good advice. Thanks.

    1. I am glad to see you find this helpful. It could add a day or more to each battery’s life and over time that adds up.

  3. Wendy says :Reply

    I have been wearing hearing aids for 4O years now and this is the first time I have ever heard this I will have a little chat to my audiologist next month thanks for that

    1. Hi Wendy,

      I am happy that we could help in a small way.

  4. Pauline says :Reply

    I too was unaware of this ( I thought it was an aid to help fit the battery )

    1. You can still use it that way Pauline. Just make sure not to close the battery door too soon, before the battery has fully oxidized.

  5. Anne says :Reply

    I have worn hearing aids for forty years was not aware of this, I shall definitely take this on board next time I replace a battery, thank you for posting this information

    1. Hi Anne,

      Thank you for your comment. Up to around 10 or so years ago, all hearing aid batteries were Mercury, so this was not relevant to them. These days all hearing aid batteries are Zinc-Air (has the sticker on them) and this is where this information becomes relevant.

      All the very best,

      Christo

  6. Mike says :Reply

    Hazard both to children and “pests!”??

    1. Ha Ha, thanks for pointing this out. I have now fixed it 🙂

  7. John MISSEN says :Reply

    Made me feel ignorant. As a DVA recipient ‘it was not a serious concern.” Thank you for enlightening me.

    1. I am sorry it made you feel ignorant. I can say many professionals aren’t even aware of this.

  8. Jeanette says :Reply

    Appreciate this information. You learn something new every day

  9. Ron hopper says :Reply

    EAR. EAR. Thank you for that information. It won’t go in one ear & out the otherAll the best Yours. XAVIER. MONEY XX

    1. Thank you for the comment Ron!

  10. Gayelene says :Reply

    Great news, it should be mentioned to all clients. Also when putting hearing aids in the phonak d dry do you remove the batteries?

    1. Hi Gaylene,

      Thank you for your comment. I find that it is not necessary to remove the batteries when using the D-Dry even though the instructions suggest differently.

      1. Gayelene says :Reply

        Thankyou

  11. Roberto Tyrer says :Reply

    Can you tell me the meaning of “streaming” please..

    1. Hi Roberto,

      Thank you for your question.
      Streaming in this context means that the hearing aids work as headphones for your phone or television. So any sound played through your phone or television is directly put into your hearing aids.
      https://valuehearing.com.au/news/bluetooth-hearing-aids/

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