Investing into hearing aids is a one-time cost but what concerns the hearing aid users especially the geriatric population is the hearing aid battery cost. Typically a BTE hearing aid battery lasts for roughly around 12-15 days and on an average comes to Rs.35; whereas, for a CIC this cost increases 3 folds as the CIC hearing aid battery only lasts for 4-5 days! Hearing aid battery expense is lessened in case of bigger hearing aids typically using 675 size hearing aid battery, however, hearing aid users wants sleeker instruments which are cosmetically better and such hearing aids use smaller batteries.
Many hearing aid users often demand rechargeable hearing aid batteries but certain experts point out technical issues with using those and their cost effectiveness. While using any battery in a hearing aid, we need to understand its discharge behaviour and its cost effectiveness. Discharge behaviour of a hearing aid battery can also depend upon the humidity, temperature and altitude. Rechargeable hearing aid batteries existing in the market at the moment firstly don’t last long enough and secondly these don’t discharge as smoothly as the Zinc-Air hearing aid batteries which are the best available options today.
It is important to note that if the discharge behaviour of a hearing aid battery is not smooth, and there are fluctuations in the output, then it could have negative impact on the hearing as well as the hearing aid instrument, not to mention psychological frustration for the hearing aid user himself.
There are certain hearing aid battery suppliers in India who are doing well. Majority of the hearing aid manufacturers themselves deal with hearing aids battery of which most batteries are supplied by Rayovac and Varta which are two of the biggest suppliers of hearing aid batteries in the world. Varta promotes the brand Powerone in India and it is doing pretty good whereas for Rayovac the last stock they supplied under the brand name of Starkey was completely rotten and received many complaints from the users.
Researchers in Montreal are trying to develop a hearing aid battery which utilizes energy from human jaw movement to power the hearing aid. Our jaw muscles are at work constantly whether while eating or while talking from morning to evening. Since our jaw is the closest to the ear, we can utilize this energy to power the hearing aid at least for a few hours and save that much expense for the hearing aid battery.
In India a typical hearing aid battery strip comprising of 6 cells costs around Rs. 200 which is a monthly expense on one CIC hearing aid and roughly on 2 BTE hearing aids. Rechargeable Hearing aid batteries have a recharge capacity of 100-120 times and even chargers come expensive making them less cost efficient. At the moment Zinc-Air cells are the best options available for hearing aid users.