What Is The 5 Minute Rule For Hearing Aid Batteries?

When getting a new hearing aid many wonder about fit, comfortability, and function, but there is another important aspect to put a focus on. Battery life and the period of time your hearing aid will keep working for you can be extremely important to your hearing aid experience. Hearing aid battery life is something hearing aid users should be paying attention to. Start asking questions, like can hearing aid battery life be extended and what is the 5 minute rule for hearing aid batteries. 

Types of Hearing Aids

While there are many different types and fits of hearing aids, all aids will run on either rechargeable batteries or active battery packs that must be periodically replaced. Quality batteries are always important to the battery lifespan in hearing aids. The main differences in different aids will come with how battery companies store the battery within the aid. 

In-The-Ear Hearing Aids (ITE)

As the name suggests, In-The-Ear hearing aids store the entire aid and battery compartment inside the ear canal. These aids are usually relatively small and they amplify outside sounds by sending the strengthened vibrations down the ear canal. These hearing devices can come in many sizes, from some that are almost invisible to hearing aids that fill the ear canal. With these hearing aids, the hearing aid battery door and storage location are within the in-ear device. 

Behind-The-Ear Hearing Aids (BTE)

Also explained by the name, Behind-The-Ear hearing aids place the main device and battery power behind the ear, with a clear tube that routes into the inner ear. These hearing aids can be custom fit and designed to fit the wearer perfectly and blend into their skin or hair tone. Like ITE aids, these hearing devices also work to send amplified sound waves down the ear canal to the eardrum. 

Types of Batteries

From average battery life to cost of replacement, there are many factors that go into choosing the best type of battery known for your hearing aid device. Both a rechargeable battery hearing device and replaceable battery hearing device have their advantages and disadvantages. While traditional replacement types have been the norm, rechargeable batteries have been surging in popularity. 

Replaceable Batteries

Traditional, “button” batteries are ones that have a period of use and are then disposed of and replaced. Replacement batteries are typically easy to locate in a hearing device and packs of batteries are relatively inexpensive to replace. While they are usually easy to handle, those with dexterity issues may struggle with constantly replacing the single battery and the used batteries can pose a health risk to animals or children if not properly disposed of. 

Rechargeable Batteries

Rechargeable batteries are ones that do not need to be routinely replaced. A dock or device will recharge the battery at night and the hearing aids will be battery ready each morning. For many, this type of battery is more convenient and easier to maintain. However, even rechargeable batteries must be replaced every few years. When it comes time to change the battery for a new one, many aids must be taken to a professional for a battery change and replacements can be pretty pricey. 

Increase Battery Life

Whether you decide disposable batteries or rechargeable are right for you, battery care will be extremely important to achieve improved battery life. While battery drain is inevitable, there are things you can do to extend the life of your hearing aid batteries. 

  • Don’t Pull the Tab: Hearing aids use a specific kind of battery known as zinc-air batteries. These batteries have small holes on the surface that allow air into the battery to stimulate the zinc and produce power. When a new battery is opened, the surface will be covered with a plastic coating. When you’re ready to use the battery, you will pull the coating off with a tab. Once this tab is pulled, the battery will begin to drain. Make sure you leave the plastic tab in place until you’re ready to use the battery. 
  • 5-Minute Rule: When you’ve pulled out that new battery and removed the plastic coating, don’t put the battery into your hearing aid immediately. Waiting 5 minutes will allow enough air to flow into the surface holes to fully activate the batteries power centers. This will provide some extended battery life in the long run. 
  • Store at Room Temperature: The zinc-air batteries in hearing aids utilize air flow to function. This means they don’t mesh well with moisture. For these batteries, storing in the refrigerator can actually harm the life of the battery by exposing it to condensation. Room temperature storage is going to help your hearing aid batteries run at their best.
  • Air Them Out: When you aren’t using your hearing aids, open the battery storage door to give the batteries access to air and minimizes wasteful battery drain and possible corrosion. If you know you don’t be using your hearing aids for a longer stretch of time, take the batteries out completely. This can also help to prevent stuck moisture in the device from creating corrosion.