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This guide can help you get the most out of your lithium-ion batteries, and how to safely dispose hearing aid batteries once you're done.
2019-03-25

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Using and Disposing of Hearing Aid Batteries

Rechargeable hearing aid batteries require specific care during use and disposal. While many people might toss these batteries in the trash after using them, this is seriously advised against

While hearing aid batteries are small, they power an important device that allows people to hear better, stream audio, and drown out tinnitus. Without them, hearing aids fail to work properly, and running out of battery can ruin someone’s entire day. However, there are ways to lengthen your lithium-ion batteries’ lifespans by caring for them, and once they are finished, proper disposal is a must.

If you’re not sure how to properly care for lithium-ion batteries, or just want to make sure that you’re doing so correctly, this guide will help you get the most of your hearing aids.

Hearing aid battery storage

Before you begin using lithium-ion batteries, you have to know how to store them in the meantime.

However, storing lithium-ion batteries improperly can result in damage and loss of efficacy. For that reason, it’s important that you keep your hearing aids in a cool, dry place. Make sure the storage location is not too cold, as this can damage them as well. However, heat is the primary danger to lithium-ion batteries. Avoid putting your hearing aids in direct sunlight or hot storage locations. Keep your home at an even temperature, and put your lithium-ion batteries far away from any young children or animals.

Children and pets might put hearing aids in their mouths, or consume them entirely. To avoid this, make sure to keep them out of arm’s reach. Put them in cabinets, bedside drawers, or in other secure locations. Avoid bathroom drawers and medicine cabinets, as these areas can become wet or humid. Rechargeable hearing aids often come with a case, so keeping them inside is a safe option for storage.

How to extend battery use

When it’s time to begin using a new set of hearing aids, it’s important that you use them properly. Otherwise, you might end up with a set that don’t last very long. While lithium-ion batteries have the added bonus of being rechargeable, that doesn’t mean they last forever. With the proper battery care, you can stretch the lifespan of lithium-ion batteries and avoid the added cost of replacing them.

Firstly, a dehumidifier is a must. Putting your hearing aids in a dehumidifier at night can increase battery life, and it helps the general state of your hearing aids too. Secondly, you have to use lithium-ion batteries, or they will begin to degrade. If you need to store your hearing aids for a long period of time, do not do so in the active charger. Unplug the charger, or place them somewhere safe. High levels of charge will harm the battery.

Every few months of disuse, charge and discharge your hearing aids. Avoid letting them become flat-dead. If possible, always plug them in before they run out of power completely. The act of “topping off” a lithium-ion battery is better than draining it and recharging. Make sure to activate and use your lithium-ion batteries periodically, even if you don’t actually use the hearing aids themselves. Doing this will ensure the battery doesn’t degrade in storage.

How to dispose of old hearing aid batteries

Finished with your old hearing aid batteries? Now it’s time for disposal. This is an often-overlooked step, which can cause serious issues. Improper disposal methods can lead to accidental ingestion by children, pets, or garbage-dwelling animals like raccoons. Throwing lithium-ion batteries in the trash also means they are going into a landfill, where they will cause serious damage. In most places, it is illegal to throw them in the trash.

Instead, you need to take the proper measures during disposal. Many companies and recycling centres accept used batteries as part of their recycling programs, and some strictly accept hearing aid batteries. For the safety of the environment and any animals going through your trash, it’s best if you save up your used lithium-ion batteries and turn them over to the proper recycling programs. Other forms of hearing aid battery disposable might put others at risk and get you in serious trouble.

Advantages of lithium-ion batteries

While lithium-ion batteries require different handling than disposable ones, they have their benefits.

Innovation has made the process of buying and replacing zinc-air batteries largely unnecessary. Lithium-ion batteries have been perfected and implemented into hearing aids, replacing zinc-air batteries in many hearing aids. We already use laptops and cellphones powered by lithium-ion batteries, so putting this technology into hearing aids was a natural next step.

The ability to charge and recharge lithium-ion batteries is the primary benefit. This improvement has reduced battery waste, and reduced marginal cost for hearing aids. Wearers no longer have to spend time, money, and resources buying zinc-air batteries. Lithium-ion batteries can survive a full day on a single charge, and can be dropped into their chargers at the end of the night.

Once a routine is established, you’ll rarely have to worry about running out of battery while on-the-go. Even if you do run dry while away from the house, portable charging cases make it easy to recharge on-the-go. Lithium-ion batteries also work better in cold weather, making them the better option for people who regularly experience low temperatures.

For people that have always disliked the waste and hassle of disposable batteries, rechargeable hearing aids are a great investment. Even people who don’t mind zinc-air batteries might find that lithium-ion is a better alternative for them.

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