How to care for, replace and get the most out of hearing aid batteries

by Nancy Salim

Most hearing aids use disposable cell batteries to function properly. To help you get the most out of your hearing aid batteries, it’s important to know what factors affect battery life, how to properly care for them and replace them correctly. Whether you’re new to hearing aids or just trying to get the most out of your batteries, read on for some helpful tips

Change your batteries if sounds become distorted or you have to turn up the volume more than usual. Some hearing aids make a small beeping sound when the battery is low. When the alarm beeps, switch out the batteries immediately—a completely dead battery may swell and become difficult to remove. It is also a good idea to carry an extra set of batteries with you at all times because hearing aid batteries often lose power very suddenly. Reminder—before changing batteries, wash your hands well—grease and dirt can damage the hearing aid.

Check to see if you have the right battery size before you open the package. Hearing aid batteries come in four common sizes with universal color coding—they are 10, 13, 312 and 675. To identify the size, most manufacturers use an industry standard color code on their zinc air tabs and packaging—yellow for size 10, brown for size 312 (most common in the U.S), orange for size 13 and blue for Size 675. The most common type is the zinc-air button battery.

Store batteries at room temperature, away from small children and pets. Batteries should be stored at room temperature, between 50-85 degrees Fahrenheit (heat and humidity can affect battery life). In the past, it was recommended to store batteries in the refrigerator to prolong their life, but with today’s technology, doing so will ruin them. Avoid leaving batteries out in extreme temperatures like in the car, outside in the heat or in the freezer. Keep new batteries stored safely in a closed container and pack and discard old batteries immediately when you remove them so that your pets or children can’t get to them. To avoid damage, store batteries in a separate compartment in your bag, away from metal objects like coins and keys which can damage them.

Remove the batteries from the pack only when you’re ready to use them. Keep them fresh by keeping them sealed. Also, pay attention to the expiration date on the pack. Obviously the fresher the battery, the better the performance. Zinc-air batteries will begin to discharge when you remove the sticker, so it’s best to wait until you’re ready to use them. Even re-applying the sticker won’t stop this process. Normally, batteries last anywhere from three to 22 days, depending on the hearing aid, the type and capacity of the battery and the amount of use. Most batteries have a “shelf-life” of about three years.

Here is a general guideline for hearing aid battery life by size:

  • Size 10 – three to seven days
  • Size 312 – three to 10 days
  • Size 13 – six to 14 days
  • Size 675 – nine to 20 days

Wait at least one minute before placing the batteries in your hearing aids. This allows the battery cell to absorb oxygen and then activate. Zinc-air batteries are designed with fine holes and a filter, which means that your batteries should be exposed to air for a full 60 seconds before installing.

Place the new batteries in with the positive side up. The proper placement for batteries is with the negative side down so the smooth surface is what you see. You’ll be able to close the doors of the battery compartments easily if you’ve installed the batteries correctly.

Leave the battery compartment door open at night. Keeping the battery door open allows moisture to escape and keeps your hearing aids in good condition. Doing so may help to conserve battery life as well. Remove the batteries if you’re not wearing your hearing aids for more than two days.

Get rid of old batteries as soon as you remove them. Since the majority of batteries today don’t contain mercury, you can throw them out in the garbage without worrying about any health or environmental risks, but they’re still dangerous if swallowed. But to be sure, check the packaging. If it doesn’t say “mercury-free” keep it out of the garbage and contact your local government or search online for disposal centers in your area.

If changing the batteries doesn’t seem to improve hearing aid performance, consider upgrading your device, or visit a hearing care professional for cleaning and maintenance. Call 888.902.9310 to get connected with a clinic near you.

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