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

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 aid conversions will very soon be replaced in full by lithium-ion rechargeable hearing aids.

Lithium-Ion

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 charge, and the batteries do not degrade 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 2019

(in no particular order)

Recommended lithium-ion rechargeable hearing aids

Phonak : lithium-ion

Phonak entered the rechargeable hearing aid market in 2017 – and with the Audeo B-R (receiver-in-canal), Bolero B-PR and Naida-B-R (BTE models) they have a good range to choose from.

ALSO NOW – Phonak Audeo Marvel – lithium-ion rechargeable and the first ever ‘made for android & iPhone‘ hearing aid.

3 hours for a full days use. 30 min charge for 6 hours use. Battery lasts 6 years – it will need returning for replacement after this and a charger 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

The current rechargeable hearing aids by Sivantos include Signia Pure Charge & Go, the larger BTE Signia Motion Charge&Go, and the ultra slim Signia Styletto and Signia Styletto Connect.

Charger available in black or white. 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.

Battery lasts 2 years before expiring – the hearing aids will need to be returned for upgrade (a charge may apply if the warranty has expired).

ReSound Quattro : lithium-ion

ReSound launched the LiNX Quattro lithium-ion rechargeable hearing aid in 2019, offering ‘made for iphone’ technology. So the LiNX Quattro was the first ‘all encompassing technology’ lithium-ion rechargeable hearing aid.

Portable charger holds charge for 5-7 travel days.

Battery lasts 4 years before expiring – will need replacing by ReSound (at cost if warranty has expired).

Oticon OPN-S : lithium-ion

The second generation OPN hearing aids, OPN-S, are now rechargeable.

3 hour charge for full days use, 30 minute charge for 6 hours use. This charger does not hold charge for on the go charging.

Starkey Muse iQ-r : lithium-ion

Starkey’s first foray 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!

Silver-zinc rechargeable hearing aids below

rechargeable hearing aids

Unitron : silver-zinc

Unitron entered the lithium ion rechargeable hearing aid market in 2017 with the Unitron Tempus – the world’s smallest rechargeable (receiver-in-canal) hearing aid (at time of writing). A very nicely designed and highly technical rechargeable hearing aid option – utilising the Z-Power charging unit.

TIPS ON EXTENDING BATTERY LIFE

rechargeable hearing aids

Starkey : silver-zinc

Starkey also entered the market of rechargeable hearing aids in 2017 utilising the Z-Power charging unit.

We recommend Starkey’s lithium-ion batteries ahead of these (see above).

TIPS ON EXTENDING BATTERY LIFE

Oticon : silver-zinc

Oticon OPN – the first rechargeable hearing aids offered by Oticon utlising the z-power charging unit.

Now superseded by OPN-S lithium-ion rechargeable hearing aids – see above

Original Oticon OPN can be retrospectively adapted to be rechargeable; but the cost is about £300 with the charger.

TIPS ON EXTENDING BATTERY LIFE

Rechargeable Resound Hearing Aids

ReSound : silver-zinc

Resound Linx 3D rechargeable hearing aids were launched in 2018 and use the z-power charging unit.

The hearing aid casing is slightly different to the normal Linx 3D – thus, if you already have Linx 3D you cannot use the charging unit.

We recommend ReSound’s lithium-ion hearing aids over these – see above.

TIPS ON EXTENDING BATTERY LIFE

Widex Evoke Rechargeable Hearing-Aids

Widex : silver-zinc

Utilising Z-Powers charging unit Wide Evoke is a high specification rechargeable hearing with ‘made for iPhone’ technology in the Evoke Fusion-2.

TIPS ON EXTENDING BATTERY LIFE

A look to the future

The inventor of lithium ion battery technology – Mr John Goodenough.

Developments are being made for higher capacity, increased longevity and quicker charging batteries, which will in turn find their way into the hearing aid market and will allow for smaller rechargeable hearing aids.

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