What sets different hearing aid brands apart?
Part I: Re-chargeables
When a patient asks how we decide what hearing aid brands we like best, our go to answer is this: All top-notch hearing aid brands will help you hear better, but it is the extra, innovative features from individual brands that separate our favorites from the pack. The first tech-forward feature we’ll discuss and that we offer in our offices is the re-chargeable hearing aid.
A typical hearing aid uses a disposable battery that the patient will change out every 4-8 days (cost is approximately $98/year). The re-chargeable feature allows the patient to not have to worry about fiddling with a battery each week (and tallies up to about $40/year).
Signia by Siemens currently has two varieties of re-chargeable, behind-the-ear hearing aids on the market. The first variation of re-chargeable hearing aids, one of the first of its kind, is called the Pure® and has been on the market for 5+ years. The second style is called the Cellion™ and has been on the market for less than two months. Below is a breakdown of the different pros for each option.
Pros of the Pure®:
- Uses a removable re-chargeable battery with up to 400 charges
- Each charge lasts approximately 12 hours
- The easy-to-use charging station also acts a dehumidifier for the hearing aid
- This style allows the patient to switch between rechargeable batteries and disposable batteries at their freedom
- Batteries are typically replaced every year at $20 a piece
Con: If a patient also uses streaming features with this hearing aid, the daily battery charge will not last as long-- battery life varies on the streaming time.
Pros of the Cellion™:
- Uses a built in lithium-ion battery with a five year battery life
- Each charge can last up to 24 hours including streaming
- The discrete charging station uses contactless, inductive charging
- Features a seamless behind-the-ear casing with no battery door
Con: When it is finally time to change the battery, the hearing aid will need to be sent to the manufacturer to exchange built-in battery.
Now, don’t get us wrong, not all patients have an issue with changing batteries but this feature can be very helpful for the right person. Some populations that would get the greatest benefit from re-chargeable hearing aids are those with dexterity issues, an unstable hand, someone with the loss of sensitivity in their fingertips, a person with vision impairment, or for the person who just doesn’t want to bother with batteries.
These are not our grandparent’s hearing aids anymore and the technology is only getting better. Part II will cover cell phone connectivity features and wirelessly streaming your phone calls into your hearing aids.