Bluetooth & Rechargeable
Bluetooth Hearing Aids
Bluetooth is a non-proprietary wireless communication standard. It doesn’t belong to any one manufacturer, but is used throughout the electronics industry as a protocol for different devices to “talk” wirelessly to each other. You’ll find Bluetooth in most electronic gadgets on the market today, including smartphones, computers, loudspeakers, car audio systems, and more.
Bluetooth doesn’t interfere with or rely on Wi-Fi, mobile data or any other long-range transmission system. As long as two (or up to seven) devices are Bluetooth-compatible, Bluetooth is enabled, and the devices are within close range, they can make use of Bluetooth without any other technology.
While Bluetooth has existed for a relatively long time, only recently has the protocol been introduced in a form that draws small amounts of power, allowing it to be practical for prolonged use with hearing aids. Bluetooth is also the protocol used for connecting “hearables” to smartphones, such as Apple Airpods and similar devices. Using Bluetooth with hearing aids allows you to have all the connectivity and flexibility available with hearables, but with a sound quality that is adjusted for your specific hearing loss.
You can use Bluetooth to stream the audio from phone calls, music players or televisions directly to your hearing aids. This alone is a powerful tool for use throughout your day, but it’s not all.
Bluetooth connectivity also allows smart apps from your hearing aid manufacturer to connect directly with your hearing aids. This allows you to use apps to control the volume, programming, and other functionality of your hearing aids directly from your smartphone, rather than using a separate remote control. You can even use the apps for telehealth conferences, and we can even administer a hearing test and adjust the fitment of your hearing aids directly through the app! This is a powerful service that makes it easier to ensure that your hearing aids are giving you the amplification you require, ultimately improving their performance.
When you come in to see us for your hearing test appointment, talk to us about Bluetooth and we can answer any questions you have and help you determine if Bluetooth is an important feature for you.
Rechargeable vs Disposable Hearing Aid Batteries
Disposable Hearing Aid Batteries
Until recently, hearing aids have required small, disposable batteries that last in the range of a few days to a couple weeks, depending on a variety of factors. These batteries use a “zinc-air” technology that uses the air to activate them, and it is best to allow the battery to interact with the air for about one minute before you insert them in your hearing aids.
The hearing aids themselves incorporate a small battery compartment that has a door, where you insert and remove the batteries when necessary. The size of your hearing aids will determine which of four standard battery sizes you need to use.
Some considerations that might make disposable batteries the better choice for you:
Longer Life - Disposable batteries typically last in the 5–7 day range, with some exceptions. You won’t need to worry about changing batteries or recharging for a longer duration than with rechargeables.
Accessibility - If you don’t have access to a wall outlet for extended periods, it may be a better option to carry replacement batteries than to have the necessity of finding a way to charge your hearing aids. Those who enjoy camping or other outdoor activities that keep them away from overnight rechargeability options may do better to carry extra batteries than to try to find a way to charge their hearing aids.
Portability - Chargers for hearing aids can be bulky. If you are traveling frequently with limited space, carrying extra batteries may be easier than carrying a charger.
Rechargeable Hearing Aid Batteries
In recent years, rechargeable battery technology has improved dramatically. It is now possible for a lithium-ion rechargeable battery of the size required to fit inside a hearing aid to practically provide power to the hearing aid for a full day’s use. Most manufacturers today offer both rechargeable and disposable battery options for their hearing aids (with and without Bluetooth, independently of battery choice). While not all models of hearing aid are available in both battery options, it is possible for most styles of hearing aid to be offered with one or the other battery type.
Some considerations that might make rechargeable batteries the better choice for you:
No Battery Changing - Changing the batteries in hearing aids can be difficult for those with dexterity issues. Additionally, the cost of replacement batteries can add up over time, while you won’t have to worry about buying new batteries with rechargeable hearing aids.
Charging Is Easy - While those with disposable batteries need to open the battery compartments at night, all you need to do with rechargeables is wipe them gently with a clean cloth and place them in their charger while you sleep.
Better Moisture & Dirt Resistance - Battery compartments can be magnets for moisture and debris. Even though battery compartments close, they are not water-tight. With rechargeable hearing aids, there is no battery compartment. This makes them significantly less prone to damage from water and dirt.
Environmentally Friendly - Over three years, two hearing aids will require more than 300 disposable batteries, on average. One set of rechargeable batteries will typically last for the whole lifetime of a set of hearing aids.
If you’re in the market for new hearing aids, talk to us today about Bluetooth and rechargeability to see if one or both of these options is right for you.
We can help find the best hearing aid solution for you!
Schedule a complimentary consultation and start hearing better today!