Are Rechargeable Hearing Aids Lower Quality?
June 08, 2021

Disposable versus rechargeable batteries is an age-old question. While there are many factors to consider when trying to decide which type of battery is right for you, it can be difficult to know the differences between rechargeable and disposable options particularly in terms of quality. For a while, disposable batteries were the only option, but rechargeable options are becoming more and more popular and convenient as time goes on. 

When it comes to hearing aids it is important to find the type of battery that best suits your lifestyle and with the growing number of choices, you may be asking yourself how the quality of rechargeable hearing aid batteries compares to the quality of disposable hearing aid batteries. It is a valid question that is worth exploring before making such an important decision. In this article, we will discuss some of the main differences between disposable and rechargeable hearing aid batteries and explore the pros and cons of each to offer some insight and help you make an informed decision.

Disposable Hearing Aid Batteries

size chart of disposable hearing aid batterires

Disposable hearing aid batteries have a much shorter shelf life than their rechargeable counterparts as they only tend to last around 5-7 days and must be regularly replaced. This can be nice in some situations because it does not require you to carry a charger while traveling and have the option to change the batteries on the go, however, it does require you to always have spare batteries for when they inevitably die. As a result of this common occurrence, disposable hearing aid batteries are pretty easily accessible. They can be found in a variety of sizes to fit nearly any type of hearing aid and are easily purchased in most grocery stores, pharmacies, or online.

Historically, disposable hearing aid batteries contained mercury, but today zinc-air batteries are much more popular (and much safer). These batteries are oxygen activated and will not work until the pull tab on the back is removed. This tab helps preserve the power, but the battery will begin draining even if it is not in use once the pull tab is no longer intact.

Pros of Disposable Hearing Aid Batteries

  • Disposable batteries are very accessible and are easily purchasable in grocery stores, pharmacies, or online.
  • Unlike many rechargeable batteries, disposable hearing aid batteries offer the option to be changed by the owner whenever required.
  • Disposable hearing aid batteries are replaceable on the go if and when the batteries die, and these types of hearing aids do not require traveling with a charger.

Cons of Disposable Hearing Aid Batteries

  • Disposable batteries need to be changed every few days so the cost of individual batteries can add up quickly. Hearing aids, using a rough estimate, will go through approximately 100 disposable batteries each year.
  • Hearing aid batteries are very small and it can be difficult and tedious to change such tiny batteries on the go. It can be even more challenging for those with vision dexterity challenges, particularly in busy or poorly lit spaces.
  • Disposable batteries are less effective as they near the end of their power resulting in lower quality of hearing at those times. Since they die every few days, there are many opportunities for less than optimal function of the hearing aids.

Rechargeable Batteries

Rechargeable hearing aid batteries are relatively new to the market but offer many improvements over the disposable options. Although they are not without their downfalls, rechargeable batteries provide increased convenience, sustainability, and overall ease of use. The three rechargeable batteries most often found in hearing aids include Nickel-Metal Hydride Rechargeable Batteries, Silver-Zinc Rechargeable Batteries, and Lithium-Ion Rechargeable Batteries. 

Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries have the lowest amount of energy and as a result, are the least common of the three as more modern hearing aids often require more energy than they can provide. These batteries are still a viable option for people who only use their hearing aids for a few hours each day but may not be suited for someone who relies on them all day. While they may only last less than a year, they still offer a reliable and inexpensive option and can still be a worthwhile investment for some users who may only use their hearing aids from time to time and are looking to limit regular battery changes.

Silver-Zinc batteries are the next most common and are ideal for those who wear their hearing aids for extended periods and as a result, require more power. These batteries have a very high energy output and are just as stable as Lithium-Ion and Nickel-Metal Hydride battery cells. One huge benefit of these batteries is that they are easily transported and degrade less after repeat charging, but they will still need to be replaced every few years.

Lithium-Ion batteries are incredibly common in hearing aids and are often used in smaller, more energy-demanding digital devices. These batteries are the newest of the three and as a result, offer long-lasting battery life combined with smaller battery sizes and can last nearly 6 years. Just like the Silver-Zinc options, these batteries are great for people who use their hearing aids regularly and require a longer-lasting charge. 

Pros of Rechargeable Hearing Aid Batteries

  • Most rechargeable hearing aids can be worn for an entire day without needing to be charged (both the Audien EV1 and EV3 have a 20-hour battery life).
  • These batteries can be easily charged overnight and ready to be used in the morning just like a phone or most other daily use electronics.
  • Although the cost for these batteries is higher upfront, you will end up saving money over the years by not needing to replace batteries every few days.
  • Fewer battery changes mean less waste. Hearing aids with disposable batteries can require more than 300 batteries in 3 years. Most rechargeable batteries will last at least 3 years if not longer. 

Cons of Rechargeable Hearing Aid Batteries

  • Many rechargeable batteries can only be replaced by the manufacturer or distributor. Although they only need to be replaced every few years it can be frustrating for some when the situation arises.
  • When traveling, you will need to carry a charger with you so that you can ensure your hearing aids will be charged and ready to use. Most rechargeable hearing aids come with simple charging solutions.
  • Rechargeable batteries are not always available in every size and may not be compatible with all hearing aids, thus limiting hearing aid options overall.
  • Rechargeable batteries require a higher initial investment which can be challenging for those looking for hearing aids on a tighter budget.

Audien Hearing Rechargeable Hearing Aids

In many ways, from the convenience of not having to change batteries every few days to the reduced environmental waste, rechargeable hearing aids batteries stand out as a clear better option than disposable. That being said, the higher upfront cost can be a substantial and valid hurdle to overcome for people looking to purchase hearing aids on a budget. The good news is there are affordable hearing aid options available that offer the convenience of rechargeable batteries at an approachable cost.

Audien Hearing currently offers two types of affordable hearing aids that meet the needs of many users and are available at a much lower cost than what is available through an audiologist. The EV1 Hearing Aid is the most affordable option from Audien. Not only is it 100% rechargeable, but it also has a 20 hr battery life which means it will last the entire day on a single charge. The EV3 Hearing Aid is at a slightly higher but still affordable price. They provide a smaller size option than the EV1 Hearing Aid with even more features including wireless charging, Clear Sound+, and enhanced comfort.

If the cost of rechargeable hearing aid batteries is concerning to you as a consumer it may be worthwhile to look into these two hearing aids at


There is a lot to consider when deciding which type of hearing aid battery is right for you. There are pros and cons to both options, but the overall convenience of rechargeable batteries should not be overlooked. Although there is a higher upfront cost for rechargeable hearing aid batteries, the benefits are quite substantial and the general saving over years of not having to purchase batteries. That, combined with cost-effective options like the products offered by Audien Hearing makes rechargeable hearing aid batteries a very compelling alternative. 

While every individual has their own needs, it is safe to say that rechargeable hearing aid batteries are not of a lower quality than disposable hearing aid batteries and bring a lot to the table.

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Drew Sutton M.D.

Drew Sutton, MD is a board-certified otolaryngologist. He has extensive experience and training in sinus and respiratory diseases, ear and skull base surgery, and pulmonary disorders. He has served as a Clinical Instructor at Grady Hospital Emory University for more than 12 years.

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