Family of hearing aid batteries.

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How long should a person wait after taking the tab off a battery before inserting it into a hearing aid?

We recommend about 1 minute.  It’s enough time to let air get into the battery to help activate it. People take the tab off and wait anywhere from five minutes, to a couple hours, to let it sit overnight, but really only about a minute is needed.

Waiting a full minute ensures a good start condition for the battery.  People think that waiting a full minute for the battery to power up means they will get longer life from the battery.  That’s not really true.

Think about turning on your computer.  You have to wait for it to boot up before you start using it.  The same thing actually occurs with a hearing aid.  A hearing aid has a boot up sequence and it requires a lot of power.  So you want to ensure your hearing aid battery has the voltage to power that start up sequence.  Allowing the battery to wait for one minute after it’s un-tabbed before inserting it into the aid will ensure it has the voltage it needs to support the startup sequence.

How can I maximize battery life in my hearing aid?

Turning the hearing aids off and opening the battery doors when you’re not using them is the best advice.  Always buy fresh batteries, and store them in a cool, dry location.  Don’t keep them in your glove compartment, in the refrigerator, on your radiator, or anywhere they’ll be exposed to temperature extremes.  Keep them in the original packaging and obviously, don’t remove the tabs until ready to use.

Hearing aid batteries today don’t last as long today as they used to 5 or 10 years ago – why the difference?

It’s due to the innovation in hearing aid technology; today’s hearing aids are essentially mini computers.  They require significantly more power than the old analog hearing aids of years past. These computers analyze sound and make decisions and the sound processing is very sophisticated. Processing is measured in MIPS or million instructions per second.  The more instructions that occur in that timeframe, the more power is required to run the hearing aid.

What are realistic expectations when it comes to hearing aid battery life, since it varies so much from person to person?

There is a realistic range for battery life, rather than a specific number of days.

Battery life is going to be very individual;

  • two people using the same style and make of hearing aid won’t necessarily have the same battery life
  • battery life depends on the hearing aids’ settings, what features are active, how many hours a day the hearing aids are used, and the environments that a person is in.  Obviously, a person who wears hearing aids for 16 hours a day is not going to have the same battery life as one who only wears hearing aids for 8 hours a day
  • technology that communicates between the right and left hearing aids is beneficial but also contributes to slightly higher battery drain
  • it’s very common that the batteries in a binaural (worn in each ear) set of hearing aids will last different amounts of time.  That’s because if the hearing loss is different between the ears, then the programming between the right and left hearing aid is different. This impacts battery life.
  • it’s important to be aware of how the features in the hearing aids may impact battery life. For example, take a week when a person is home and it’s quiet.  You may watch television, and have one-on-one conversations with your spouse.  Let’s say your hearing aid battery lasts the entire week.  Then, the following week you attend a family reunion, have a lot of company, and attend a football game.  Your battery life may be five days because of the change in your lifestyle and the demands on the hearing aid signal processing. People may be confused if they expect that their battery will always last a specific number of days, as it really depends on the environments they’re in and the demands on their hearing aid technology

So there are many individual factors to consider.

How can the calendar be used to track battery life?

When a person first gets the hearing aids, their battery life can be tracked on the calendar to get an idea when the batteries may need to be changed.  For the first few months, stick the battery tabs on the calendar every time the batteries are replaced. This way a person can get an idea of the average amount of time the batteries will last.

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