Blog Posts

How To Change Your Hearing Aid Battery

In this high-tech, high entertainment world we live in, batteries are essential — powering everything from our transportation to our communication. Seems that we can’t live without batteries! But despite all the everyday necessities and the latest electronic toys that batteries bring to life, some of the most important batteries in your life may be those that power your Beltone hearing aids. When those batteries start to lose power, you’ll want to replace them promptly. In doing so, it’s helpful to understand the unique nature of hearing aid batteries and the proper method for replacing them.

Did you know that hearing aid batteries are activated by oxygen?

Hearing aids commonly use a type of battery known as a zinc-air battery. These small silver discs must be recycled or discarded after use, and are not rechargeable. Unlike regular “everyday” batteries, zinc-air hearing aid batteries need oxygen to provide power. They get this oxygen when a small sticker on the back of the hearing aid battery is removed, exposing the zinc inside the battery to air, and activating the battery. Note that once the sticker has been removed, the activation process cannot be stopped. Re-applying the sticker won’t help, unfortunately. So make sure you are ready to use the battery before you remove the sticker.

Change your hearing aid batteries in three simple steps

Depending on your hearing aid style, how long you wear your hearing aids each day, and if you do a lot of wireless streaming to your hearing aids, the batteries can last anywhere from three days to up to a couple of weeks. It’s easy to change your batteries, and your Beltone hearing aids will even help you get started. When the batteries begin to get low, an intermittent beeping sound will notify you that it is time to replace them. When you hear that low battery sound, follow these three easy steps to install new ones and continue with uninterrupted hearing:

  1. Remove the batteries from the package and peel the sticky tabs off them. Hearing aid batteries come in five different sizes with universal color coding. So be sure that you have the right battery size before you open the package.
  2. Wait a full minute to allow the new batteries to absorb oxygen and activate. Zinc-air batteries are designed with fine holes and a filter, so your batteries should be exposed to air for 60 seconds prior to installing, to ensure they will have full power in your hearing aids, and last as long as they’re supposed to.
  3. Remove the old batteries and place the new batteries into the slots with the positive side up. Hearing aid batteries have a smooth, or positive, side; and a raised, or negative, side. The proper placement for the batteries is with the negative side down, so the smooth surface is all you see. If you have installed the batteries correctly, you should be able to close the doors of the battery compartments smoothly and easily. If it seems difficult to close them, check to see if you may have accidentally installed the batteries incorrectly.

And, don’t forget proper care for your hearing aid batteries

By remembering a few different characteristics about your hearing aid batteries, you can help them retain power for a longer time:

  • Both heat and humidity can shorten the life of zinc-air batteries, so store them at room temperature.
  • Interaction with other metal items can short-circuit your hearing aid batteries, so store them away from keys and coins.
  • For optimal performance and battery life, open the battery compartments whenever you’re not wearing your hearing aids. This will limit battery drain and prevent moisture buildup.
  • Turn your hearing aids off when they are not in use.

And here’s a tip. When changing your batteries, place a hand towel on the surface of the table. That way, if the battery drops, it won’t bounce off the hard surface, and it will be easy to find. Understanding zinc-air batteries, learning to replace them efficiently, and facilitating long battery life will help give you the best hearing experience possible from your Beltone hearing aid. And be sure to look for the mercury-free symbol on Beltone batteries.

What suggestions do you have for changing hearing aid batteries? Tell us in the comments section below. We look forward to continuing the conversation!

Ken LaFerle, Au.D.
Ken is Beltone's Director of Educational Services and has been "bleeding Beltone Blue" for the last 26 years. He has been working in the hearing industry for the last 31 years and thoroughly enjoys the hearing care field and is looking forward to sharing his thoughts and experiences on the blog. More about Ken

4 Replies

  • dan
    Reply

    Make hearing aids with rechargeable battery’s or better yet capacitors no battery’s.

    • Ask Beltone
      Reply

      Thank you for your comment Dan.

      Beltone has released rechargeable batteries in the past. The issue with them has to do with how long such a small a battery can hold a charge—about 10-15 hours. That is not long enough for most hearing aid wearers. While hearing aids could be designed to use bigger rechargeable batteries, the hearing aid would have to be larger as well. A capacitor would result in a larger hearing instrument too. Most people who wear hearing aids prefer a great cosmetic solution which requires a tiny hearing aid.

  • Michael Taylor
    Reply

    Ken, I wear hearing aids. I’ve noticed a huge change in the battery life since batteries were switched to mercury free. I wear an aid that uses a size 10. I have to switch batteries about every three days. Any significant improvements in battery life coming in the foreseeable future? Thanks

    • Ask Beltone
      Reply

      Hi, Michael—

      Thanks for the great question. The quick answer is yes, battery life improvements are underway. The longer answer is:

      Mercury was determined to be harmful to the environment, so it was important to eliminate it from batteries. However, Mercury was a great stabilizer for zinc air batteries in that it maximized the zinc’s potential for reaction with the air. Removing the mercury caused the zinc to become less efficient. The first generation of mercury-free zinc air batteries had noticeable problems with that.

      The newer generation of mercury-free zinc air batteries shows improvement; the batteries are much more consistent in their performance. The battery manufacturers are working on improving them even more, but no timetable is set.

      You use a 10A battery which is the smallest and holds the least amount of stored energy. So the issue you bring up will be most noticeable in this battery size. Make sure to get batteries from a supplier who goes through their inventory frequently, so you’re getting the freshest and newest batteries. Often, batteries purchased at a reseller, such as a drug store or Wal-Mart, have been sitting there for quite a while. Although they will work fine (as they have a long shelf life), they may be first-generation mercury-free zinc air batteries.

      Hope this helps.

      Ken

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *