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Hearing News

Hearing Aid Batteries

About Hearing Aid Batteries

Hearing aid batteries normally last 7-14 days when the hearing aid is used 16 hours per day. Performance will vary depending on the style and type of hearing aid technology you are using.

All batteries are toxic and dangerous if swallowed. Keep all batteries (and hearing aids) away from children and pets. If anyone swallows a battery it is a medical emergency and you will need to contact the emergency services.

Hearing aids come in different sizes and each battery is coded by color. If your audiologist started you off with hearing aid batteries color coded orange, you can buy any brand of battery with the same color coding.

The sizes of hearing aid batteries are listed below along with their standard number and color codes. They run from the smallest size (Red) to the largest size (Blue)

  • Size 5: RED
  • Size 10 (or 230): YELLOW
  • Size 13: ORANGE
  • Size 312: BROWN
  • Size 675: BLUE

Today’s hearing aid batteries are “zinc-air.” Because the batteries are air-activated, a factory-sealed sticker keeps them “inactive” until you remove the sticker. Once the sticker is removed from the back of the battery, oxygen in the air contacts the zinc within the battery, and the battery is “turned-on”. Since many of today’s automatic hearing aids do not have “off” switches, removing the battery from the hearing aid circuit, by opening the battery door, when not in use, assures the device is turned off. Zinc-air batteries have a “shelf life” of up to three years when stored in a cool, dry environment.

Storing zinc-air hearing aids in the refrigerator has no beneficial effect on their shelf life. In fact – quite the opposite may happen. The cold air may actually form little water particles under the sticker. If the water vapor creeps under the sticker, oxygen may contact the zinc and the battery could be totally discharged by the time you peel off the sticker! Therefore, the best place to store batteries is in a cool dry place, like the back of your sock drawer, not the fridge!

Q. How can I tell what size I need?

A. A few years ago, the hearing aid battery industry standardized battery sizes and came up with a color code to help you remember your battery size.

On the back of each battery is a tab that you pull off to “activate” the battery. As above, each color corresponds to a different size. Now the numbers and colors for each size are all standard. Sometimes you may see other letters after the numbers, but those are arbitrary letters. The most important thing to remember is size and color as noted in the table below.

If you can’t remember your size, keep the color in mind. Your (hearing healthcare professional) will also have this information in your chart and can look it up for you any time.

Q. How long will the battery last before I have to change it?

A. That depends on the type of hearing aid you wear. Some hearing aids require more power and therefore will have a shorter life than others. Digital hearing aids require more battery than an analog hearing aid, simply because more complicated circuits are in a digital hearing aid. Typically, battery life can range anywhere from 5 to 7 days. If you’re experiencing a shorter battery life, the hearing aid may not be working properly, and should be evaluated. Your audiologist can evaluate your hearing aid and check the battery contacts, as well as test battery drain. If the hearing aid is not performing to specifications, your (hearing health care professional) can send your hearing in for repair.

Q. What happens when I take the tab off the battery?

A. The most common hearing aid batteries are called “Zinc Air”, which means the battery works by mixing zinc with the outside air. Once the tab has been taken off a battery, that hearing aid battery becomes active and will continue to stay active. The battery cannot be “deactivated” by placing the tab back on the battery. The best advice is to keep the tabs on until you need a new battery. If you have a dead battery, keep them separate from your fresh battery supply. Do not keep them together in the same case, as this could lead to accidentally mixing the batteries. As long as you leave the tab on your batteries, you can expect a shelf-life of approximately three years. However, after three years, the battery may not perform as well.

Now that you have bought hearing aids, what about batteries? Hearing aids need batteries to operate. You also need to know where and how to buy them, and what to do with the batteries after all the power has been used up.

Recyling Hearing Aid Batteries

Don’t throw your used hearing aid batteries (sometimes referred to as button battery scrap) in the trash, and never in a fire (because they could explode). By law, you are not required to recycle hearing aid batteries, but battery users are encouraged to recycle.
Why recycle hearing aid batteries?

The zinc in zinc-air batteries is a hazardous component. So is the mercury or mercuric oxide if the battery contains mercury. The danger in throwing them in the garbage when used up, is that when the batteries are dumped at a landfill, over time, the decaying of the batteries could release harmful chemicals into the environment.

How Batteries Are Recycled

The toxic components are extracted and re-sold by recycling companies. The remainder is safe for the landfill.


One Response to “Hearing Aid Batteries”

  1. it is important to handle the batteries as little as possible too. moisture and dirt diminish performance.

    Posted by Robert | May 24, 2011, 8:18 pm

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