Rechargeable Hearing Aids
No more fiddling with batteries!
Rechargeable hearing aids have been around for many years, with leading German company ‘Siemens Hearing Instruments‘ paving the way with behind-ear models, and Hansaton (another German company) being the only brand to have released in-ear rechargeable hearing aids. (Note: ‘Siemens Hearing’ now being ‘Sivantos’, and supplying SIGNIA branded hearing aids).
Hansaton have very little representation in the UK (Puretone Ltd being the UK distributor) and with talks of a Hansaton takeover we are unsure of their current position – we do not feel it is worth investing in such products for now. There are no other in-ear rechargeable options currently available.
Below we take a look at the latest behind-ear rechargeable hearing aids that can help you.
Please watch the video…
Firstly – Understand the battery types
Silver-zinc rechargeable batteries have been around for many years and Siemens have offered hearing aid solutions using rechargeable batteries for many years now. We do not know why others did not follow suit but maybe it is because silver-zinc batteries degrade slowly over time and therefore this reduces the performance of the hearing aids – and manufacturers may have considered this to be counter productive having put so much time into developing high spec products.
In 2017 a company called Z-Power teamed up with several hearing aid manufacturers and produced a hearing aid battery charging unit which can be adapted to suit different hearing aids simply by changing the charging insert tray – the hearing aid manufacturers then simply had to produce a hearing aid battery door conversion kit for their hearing aids so that the hearing aids could be inserted into the trays to charge the batteries up. This meant that the suppliers had now a rechargeable option, without having to put in much development time – and this started competition in the rechargeable market. All very good, but two problems: the charging units are expensive at around £300+; and silver-inc batteries degrade over time, slowly affecting performance. More information on ‘Z-Power‘
Z-Power rechargeable hearing aids and conversion kits have effectively now been replaced by lithium-ion rechargeable hearing aids.
Lithium-ion battery technology is creeping into all gadgets – and hearing aids are no exception. Why? – because lithium-ion batteries charge quicker, last longer on a charge, they do not deteriorate from partial charging (after a first full charge) and the batteries do not degrade in performance over time (although the charge capacity will drop over time). The main consequence being that lithium-ion is volatile and therefore is more hazardous and requires more care in development. (Note: If posting lithium-ion rechargeable hearing aids you should attach a hazardous substance sticker which is supplied at the post office).
Lithium-ion batteries are therefore integrated into the hearing aid – the user cannot change of handle the battery.
Lithium-ion rechargeable hearing aids were originally bigger than silver-zinc hearing aids, until the introduction of the slim-line Signia Styletto – lithium-ion rechargeable hearing aids will inevitably become smaller.
So – we recommend Lithium-Ion hearing aids
The best rechargeable hearing aids of 2020
(in no particular order)
1) Recommended lithium-ion rechargeable hearing aids (in no preferential order)
Note – battery usage times will decrease over time and with wireless streaming use
Phonak : lithium-ion
Phonak entered the rechargeable hearing aid market in 2017.
Their Phonak Audeo Marvel lithium-ion rechargeable is the current premium rechargeable hearing aid by Phonak and the first ever ‘made for android & iPhone‘ hearing aid. Available in 3 models – Audeo R, Audeo RT and Bolero P-R.
3 hours for a full days use. 30 min charge for 6 hours use. The battery lasts approximately 6 years – it will need returning for replacement after this period and a replacement fee will apply.
A disadvantage is that Phonak only supply the mini-charger (shown left) with the hearing aids – it is extra cost for the larger charger and for the portable charging pack.
Signia : lithium-ion
Signia Styletto ‘Connect’ : 19 hours use on one full charge. A full charge takes 3 hours. A 30 minute charge gives 5 hours of use. Portable charger holds 4 days of cable free charging power. The hearing aid battery in Signia Styletto lasts efficiently for about 500 charges. After 3 years it will run at approximately 80% capacity.
Signia Pure ‘X’ Charge-&-Go : battery life after each charge is 23 hrs, 21hrs with 5 hrs streaming. If the aids are under warranty they are replaced.
Hearing aid batteries will need to be replaced by the manufacturer – there will be a fee for this if the hearing aid warranty has expired. This will be approx. £150 per hearing aid for the Signia Stylettos, and likely £50 per hearing aid for Signia Charge & Go (Pure and Motion).
ReSound Quattro : lithium-ion
ReSound launched the LiNX Quattro lithium-ion rechargeable hearing aid in 2019.
3 hours charge gives 30 hours of wear time, or 24 hours with streaming use. 1 hour charge gives 16 hours wear time. 30 min charge gives 8 hours of wear time.
The portable charger holds extra charge for 5-6 travel days cable free charging.
The hearing aid battery and the charger battery lasts approx. 4 years, by which time they will likely run at 80% charge capacity. The hearing aid battery will need to to be replaced by the manufacturer – there will be a fee for this if the hearing aid warranty has expired.
Oticon OPN-S : lithium-ion
The second generation OPN hearing aids – ‘OPN-S’ – are now rechargeable Mini-RITE-R with telecoil included.
Available at 3 technology levels – OPN-S 1, 2 and 3.
The Oticon charger uses inductive charging technology for ongoing reliability.
3 hour charge gives 24-26 hours use, 1 hour charge for 50% use, 30 minute charge for 25% use.
Daily charge usage time will reduce if streaming audio, and will be at about 85% after 3 years.
The Oticon charger does not hold charge for cable-free portable charging.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Oticon have stated that the rechargeable batteries in the hearing aids are not covered by the warranty period of the hearing aids – the batteries only have a 1 year warranty. This is important to know as it means there WILL be a fee to pay when the battery needs replacing, regardless of the warranty period on the hearing aids – however, these batteries can be changed by the Audiologist (rather than needing to be sent to the manufacturer as per other brands) and the fee will likely be less than £50 per hearing aid.
Starkey Muse iQ-R : lithium-ion
Starkey’s first venture into the world of lithium-ion rechargeable hearing aids – the MUSE iQ-R (receiver-in-canal) hearing aid.
Portable charger can charge the hearing aids for 3 days without plug-in. Long charge gives up to 30 hours of wearing use AND streaming. 15 minute quick charge for several house use. The mini-turbo charger provides 3.5 hours use in just 7 minutes of charging!
The hearing aid battery should last 3-4 years and will need to be replaced by the manufacturer – there will be a fee for this if the hearing aid warranty has expired.