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Some hearing aids use single-use, button batteries that you remove and install manually. Others have built-in batteries and are rechargeable.
The type of batteries your hearing aids use won’t impact their effectiveness. Battery types do, however, have specific advantages and disadvantages.
Rechargeable hearing aids have become very popular in recent years. In this roundup we’ll go into detail about these models from trusted manufacturers.
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- Starkey Livio Edge AI: custom-molded, in-the-ear hearing aids that include fall protection
- Phonak Audéo B-R: receiver-in-canal hearing aids that have a long lifespan
- Lively Linx Quattro 5: moderately priced behind-the-ear hearing aids that are purchased online and don’t require a prescription
- Miracle-Ear ENERGY: available as behind-the-ear and in-the-ear hearing aids, with the behind-the-ear model being a good choice for profound hearing loss
- Kirkland Signature 10.0: budget-priced behind-the-ear hearing aids, available only at Costco Hearing Aid Centers
At one time it was hard to find rechargeable hearing aids worn inside-the-ear, instead of behind-the-ear. This has changed, adding to the rechargeable hearing aid choices available. In addition to more options, rechargeable hearing aids have specific features.
Let’s take a look.
The rechargeable hearing aids on this list come from trusted, well-known manufacturers. We vetted each brand for business standards and read reviews from customers across multiple sales sites to gauge features such as:
- time to full charge
- battery life
- time between charges
- manufacturer’s warranties
- customer service
We also reviewed sites such as Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau to determine if customer complaints are plentiful and how they are handled.
Rechargeable hearing aids can be expensive. Unlike hearing aids that rely on non-rechargeable batteries, there are very few options under $1,000.
In some instances, you may be able to get a better price for the same rechargeable hearing aids by shopping around.
Keep in mind that the retailer or dealer you choose can determine options that are important, such as free shipping and returns, warranties, and risk-free trials before buying.
These completely in-the-ear hearing aids from Starkey are custom-molded for a personal fit. They’re designed to provide clear sound with no feedback or distortion.
They’re available in six neutral tones.
They magnetically attach to their charger, making them easy to handle. Each charge provides 24 hours of power.
Built-in AI (artificial intelligence) is available and designed to improve speech audibility hampered by noisy environments, face masks, and social distancing, by tapping the device.
Bluetooth connectivity allows for streaming phone calls and music.
For your safety, these hearing aids include fall detection and can send alerts to selected contacts.
You can connect these hearing aids to two apps: Thrive and Thrive Care.
Because a prescription is required for hearing aids, to buy Livio Edge devices you’ll want to find an audiologist or hearing aid provider who distributes Starkey hearing aids.
These receiver-in-canal hearing aids are made for mild to severe hearing loss. They have universal connectivity and are compatible with any smartphone.
Each charge is designed to provide 24 hours of use, including unlimited streaming. It takes about 3 hours to get a full charge that lasts 24 hours.
They use a system that automatically adapts your hearing aids to your surroundings, without the need for manual adjustments. This includes homing in on soft voices and on single voices in noisy surroundings.
These hearing aids are designed to have a longer lifespan than others and should last around 6 years.
To buy these, you’ll likely need to work with a local audiologist, hearing center, or other hearing aid provider.
These nearly invisible, behind-the-ear hearing aids come with 3 years of follow-up care with a Lively audiologist.
Each 3-hour charge is designed to provide 30 hours of hearing.
They’re Bluetooth enabled and connect to any smartphone.
They have less bells and whistles than some other rechargeable hearing aids. Since Lively has eliminated the middleman by selling to consumers directly, they are also significantly less expensive.
They are a good choice for mild to severe hearing loss, but not for profound hearing loss.
To get your hearing aids, you’ll take an online, doctor certified hearing test.
On-demand medical support and hearing aid adjustments are done through an app. The My Lively app is available for Android and Apple devices. To see what devices are most compatible with the app, view the Lively compatibility page.
They include white noise for tinnitus control and a noise blocker for eliminating background interference.
They’re available in seven neutral tones, designed to match hair color.
They come with a 3-year warranty and 100-day money back guarantee.
Lively hearing aids are purchased directly through their website and don’t require a prescription.
These rechargeable hearing aids are available as receiver-in-canal and behind-the-ear devices.
The receiver-in-canal hearing aids are suitable for mild to severe hearing loss. They are slimmer and less visible than the behind-the-ear model.
The behind-the-ear hearing aids are suitable for mild to profound hearing loss.
Both types supply feedback cancellation, noise reduction, and tinnitus control.
For both types, a quick half-hour charge is designed to provide 8 hours of use. A full 3-hour charge is designed to provide 19 to 24 hours of power.
They have an environmental adaptability feature that will automatically adjust sound to your surroundings without the need for manual adjustments.
Both types have Bluetooth connectivity so you can stream phone calls and music from your smartphone.
Miracle-Ear operates many of their own stores nationwide, if you’d like to work with them directly.
These behind-the-ear hearing aids are available through Costco Hearing Aid Centers. You must have a Costco membership to shop there.
They’re designed to produce stereo-quality sound reminiscent of high quality headphones.
A full, 3-hour charge is designed to provide 24 hours of sound.
Bluetooth connectivity lets you stream phone calls, music, and TV shows from two devices.
Settings automatically adjust for noisy environments and speech optimization, but you can also manually adjust volume and noise cancellation through an app.
These hearing aids are available in four metallic shades plus black.
Buying hearing aids can be overwhelming, especially if you haven’t done it before.
The first step may be taking an online hearing test. You can also get a full examination from an audiologist. This will help you understand your level of hearing loss and provide guidance.
Hearing aids won’t restore hearing loss, but they can significantly improve your ability to hear the world around you.
There are different types of hearing aids. Your level of hearing loss, comfort, and desire for device invisibility may all play a role in the type you choose.
Only buy hearing aids from trusted manufacturers and retailers. Even if you’re bargain shopping, remember that a too-good-to-be-true deal is often too good to be true.
Look for features that can affect upon hearing quality, such as noise reduction and wind noise reduction.
Other features, such as Bluetooth connectivity and remote controls can affect cost, which may not be as important to you.
Especially if this is your first pair, look for a risk-free trial period, so you have time to determine if the pair you chose is a good fit for you.
Give yourself time to adjust to wearing hearing aids. Your voice may sound strangely to you at first. As time passes, you will become more adept to using your hearing aids and be able to appreciate the difference they can make in your quality of life.
If you’re deciding between rechargeable hearing aids and hearing aids that use one-time-use batteries, some things to consider include:
Ease of use
Rechargeable hearing aids do not require manual removal and replacement of small button batteries. It can be challenging to swap out button batteries, especially if you have arthritis, diabetic nerve damage, poor vision, or limited dexterity for any reason.
If you have trouble removing and installing button batteries, they can easily be dropped on the floor, left forgotten on a table, or lost.
Small children or pets can easily eat or chew misplaced button batteries.
Loose button batteries can also be mistaken for pills and accidentally ingested.
Ingested button batteries are a dangerous health risk. They can cause internal burns or choking.
Rechargeable hearing aids are typically powered up in a charging station, such as a charging case. A charge usually lasts for 24 hours.
Most people charge hearing aids overnight, while they’re asleep. It takes 3 to 4 hours for most hearing aids to charge fully. Leaving them in the charging station for more time will not drain the battery or harm them in any way.
Rechargeable hearing aids typically rely on lithium-ion or silver-zinc batteries. Silver-zinc batteries have a battery door. Lithium-ion batteries are fully enclosed. Both types are long-lasting.
Lithium-ion batteries last for around the lifetime of your devices, typically 4 to 5 years. Silver-zinc batteries last for about a year, and a professional needs to replace them.
In contrast, disposable button batteries need to be manually changed every 2 to 10 days. If you do lots of streaming, you may need to change them more often. It’s easy to run low on power with disposable button batteries, so traveling with extras is essential.
Some rechargeable hearing aids are more expensive than hearing aids with disposable batteries. Despite the higher initial price, rechargeable hearing aids can wind up being the cost-effective option over time.
Button battery costs vary, based on the type of hearing aids you have. Wireless technologies and streaming require more energy, depleting disposable batteries quicker than in years past.
In general, you can expect to pay around $100–$150 annually for disposable batteries. If your hearing aids last for 5 years, you will spend over $500 in additional costs to power them up.
Button batteries take a toll on the environment as well as your wallet.
Button batteries contain mercury. Since the chances of them leaking during use are small, this doesn’t make them a health hazard to you while you’re wearing them. What it does mean is button batteries should be recycled and disposed of properly.
Even so, many people simply throw them away, so they wind up in landfills or on sidewalks. There they can leak, contaminating waterways and groundwater. If they’re incinerated, they can contaminate the air.
By some estimates, millions or even billions of batteries, including button batteries, are improperly disposed of annually. This potentially makes them a significant environmental hazard.
This doesn’t mean that rechargeable hearing aid batteries are benign. These must also be recycled and disposed of properly, based on your community’s norms. Since they last for years, there are simply less of them available to contaminate the planet.
Hearing aids with disposable button batteries are an alternative option to rechargeable hearing aids. They can be less expensive, are popular, and may be a viable alternative for you.
Personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) are not FDA-approved devices for people with hearing loss. Even so, some people with mild to moderate hearing loss say these devices help with sound amplification.
If your hearing loss is minor, PSAPs may be a viable option for you. Keep in mind that PSAPs vary considerably in quality and cost. Cheapest is probably not best.
Rechargeable hearing aids are available as in-the-ear and behind-the-ear styles. Since their batteries are long-lasting and don’t require constant changing, many brands are cost effective as well as convenient.
There are many brands to choose from. When purchasing hearing aids, always look for a reputable manufacturer, provider, and retailer.
Corey Whelan is a freelance writer and reproductive health professional who specializes in health and wellness content. She has spent much of the last two decades educating people about infertility and family building options. Whelan is a science nerd, and her heroes span the gamut from Temple Grandin to her wonderful mom. She shares her life in Brooklyn, NY with her all-grown-up, fascinating children and their wacky shelter dogs. Follow her on Twitter.