Rechargeable or Disposable Hearing Aids? That Is The Question.

December 7, 2022
Amy Sarow | Doctor of Audiology
Written by
Amy Sarow | Doctor of Audiology
Soundly Staff
Reviewed by
Soundly Staff
Rechargeable or Disposable Batteries in Hearing Aids

If you are in the market for new hearing aids, you'll need to choose between two battery options – disposable or rechargeable.

Both options offer advantages and disadvantages, which is why it's essential to take the time to consider your needs before making a decision. 

This post will explore the pros and cons of disposable vs. rechargeable hearing aids so you can choose which type of device is best for you.

Disposable batteries used to be the standard in all hearing aids. Today they make up less than half of new devices.  


Just 10 years ago, nearly all hearing aids were powered by disposable batteries. 

This type of battery, typically zinc air, requires oxygen to become activated. Once the battery is powered up, it can offer a steady stream of power for 3-10 days (depending on battery size).

In the last few years, all leading hearing aid manufacturers have released devices with all-day rechargeable batteries. Today, most hearing aid wearers choose rechargeable when they purchase a new pair. 

So is the decision clear-cut? Not necessarily.  

Here are a few reasons that some hearing aid wearers still opt for disposable batteries.

Invisible hearing aids still use disposable batteries.

The first reason to choose disposable batteries is size. Most IIC and other small custom hearing aids do not come with rechargeable options at this time.

Disposable batteries give you more control.

I've had some patients who like to go camping regularly or desire reassurance that they'll have battery power in the middle of a Florida hurricane.

While most rechargeable batteries offer all-day power, If you forget to charge your device or run out of juice while away from home, you may have difficulty using it until you can re-access power.

Disposable batteries offer more straightforward repairs.

Suppose your rechargeable hearing aid loses battery capacity or needs a new battery for some reason. In that case, you'll likely need to ship your hearing aids off to the manufacturer and make do with a backup. Disposable battery-powered devices are less susceptible to these issues.

Rechargeable batteries are growing in popularity for some excellent reasons.

Rechargeable batteries have advanced in the last few years, with many holding a charge of 20 - 30 hours on a single charge. In addition, rechargeable batteries are easy to use, requiring only that they be placed in the charger each night. Recently, even superpower hearing aids have become available in rechargeable form.

Rechargeable hearing aids are now on the rise, providing numerous benefits that disposable batteries can't match.

Rechargeable batteries give access to more power.

Developments in artificial intelligence and sound processing technology have led to devices that require more battery power than ever before—making rechargeable forms much more efficient for long-lasting power.

Easy to use and better for dexterity challenges. 

Modern rechargeable hearing aids are incredibly user-friendly, with the convenience of charging your device similar to that of charging a cell phone.

Dexterity is another essential consideration since rechargeable batteries require less fiddling with small parts.

Safer and better for the environment.

Rechargeable batteries reduce the number of hearing aid batteries that go to the landfill and can prevent dangerous ingestion of hearing aid batteries among pets and children.

Rechargeable batteries are more predictable.

Disposable batteries last 3-10 days, depending on their level of amplification, streaming, and use. They often give out in the middle of the day, leading to frustration and unpredictability. Rechargeable hearing aids return to the charger each night and offer full-day power each day.

What are the price differences between rechargeable and disposable batteries? 

Generally speaking, rechargeable hearing aids cost $300-$600 more per pair. On the flip side, disposable batteries cost around $4-$5 per month.

Pros and Cons

The debate over rechargeable vs disposable batteries isn't going away anytime soon. Here's a summary of the pros and cons.

User Tips

If you choose disposable batteries:

If you opt for disposable batteries, you'll want to keep track of when you change your batteries. For example, note in your calendar when you expect a battery replacement. This way, you'll be prepared and not be out somewhere and suddenly lose battery power.

If you choose rechargeable batteries:

On the other hand, rechargeable devices typically come with lithium-ion batteries that last a full day on a single charge. If you forget to charge your device or run out of juice while away from home, you may have difficulty using it until you can access power again. Create a daily routine of charging your hearing aids and recharge case each night while you sleep. Double-check your battery levels on your smartphone app before you leave the house for critical engagements.  

These are our top 5 for power, price and convenience. 👇

Woman wearing ReSound OMNIA hearing aids
ReSound OMNIA
Best For Focus in Background Noise

ReSound OMNIA

ReSound OMNIA

4,598
Behind the Ear
Behind the Ear
Bluetooth
Bluetooth
PROFESSIONAL FITTING
PROFESSIONAL FITTING
Rechargeable
Rechargeable

ReSound unveiled the OMNIA in August 2022 with a clear focus on improving listening in the most challenging background situations. OMNIA replaces the popular ReSound ONE launched in 2020.

The OMNIA looks identical to the previous generation of products but comes with a few notable improvements. The first is a more powerful Ultra Focus mode. Users can switch their hearing aids into Ultra Focus to listen directly to the person in front of them at a restaurant or meeting. Previous ReSound products had this feature, but OMNIA supercharges its capabilities with a 150% improvement in speech clarity in the loudest environments.

OMNIA also adds new algorithms to reduce the volume of your own voice inside your hearing aids. Many new users find their voice distracting, and this feature should help them transition more smoothly.

Overall notes: ReSound OMNIA is an all around excellent product with an innovative approach to microphones, dining situations and design. If you can swing the price, it doesn't get much better.

Price: Starting at $3,198 for a pair through Zip Hearing (walk-in prices $5K-$8K)

Features: Rechargeable, Bluetooth streaming, behind the ear style

What audiologists say: “ReSound has been a leader in innovation for many years, and they've done it again." Jen Anfinson, AuD

Pros

Innovative M&RIE microphone

Bluetooth streaming from Android and Apple devices

Offered with both rechargeable and disposable batteries

Cons

Ultra Focus requires a change using your app

ReSound OMNIA hearing aids start at $3,198 and can cost as much as $7,000 with walk in care

Not available online. ReSound hearing aids require a visit to an in person audiologist

Access pre-negotiated pricing from Zip Hearing and save 25%-40%
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Phonak Audeo Lumity
Best Bluetooth Connection

Phonak Audeo Lumity

Phonak Audeo Lumity

$4,598
Behind the Ear
Behind the Ear
PROFESSIONAL FITTING
PROFESSIONAL FITTING
Bluetooth
Bluetooth
Rechargeable
Rechargeable

Audeo Lumity is the brand new offering from the world’s most popular hearing aid brand. The device is made by the world's #1 manufacturer Sonova and is widely seen as the most connected Bluetooth hearing aid on the market.

The new Lumity operating system offers several improvements from the older Phonak Paradise hearing aid most notably, an enhanced ability to hear in background noise. 

Phonak hearing aids offer all of the modern features you might expect including the most stable Bluetooth streaming connection in the industry, rechargeable batteries (or disposable for those who prefer them) and a waterproof option.

The devices have lots of intelligent listening tech onboard, including a motion sensor that focuses your field of sound when you are sitting and opens it back up when you are walking around. 

Pros

Top of the line customization, Bluetooth connection and rechargeable batteries

Enhanced background noise reduction

Waterproof option available for active lifestyles

Cons

Audeo Lumity is a premium product with an average price of $3,198 - $7,000 per pair

Phonak manages sound quality in a way that can lead to a "closed off" feeling compared to Oticon or ReSound's more open sound quality

Access pre-negotiated pricing from Zip Hearing and save 25%-40%
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Woman wearing ReSound OMNIA hearing aids
Oticon More
Best for Natural Sound

Oticon More

Oticon More

4,598
Behind the Ear
Behind the Ear
Bluetooth
Bluetooth
PROFESSIONAL FITTING
PROFESSIONAL FITTING
Rechargeable
Rechargeable

Oticon More was released in January 2021 and has since become one of the most popular hearing aids in the world. This hearing aid is rechargeable offers hands-free calling via iPhone and audio streaming via Android.

What makes the Oticon special is the way the hearing aids handle sound. While most hearing aids suppress background noises and prioritize only voice, Oticon More gives the brain a more natural, full sound landscape.

Oticon used a 360 spherical microphone to capture sounds from 12 million real-life situations to achieve this new approach. They used that sound to train the computer inside their hearing aids.

Overall notes: Oticon More is an undisputed leader among top-tier hearing aids. If you are attracted to the idea of hearing more of the sounds around you vs. solely focusing on voices, this product is a great choice.

Price: Starting at $3,198 through Zip Hearing (walk-in prices $5K-$8K)

Features: Rechargeable, Bluetooth (not hands-free), Behind The Ear Style

What audiologists say: “Oticon More is among the best. If you are looking for all-around, top-of-the-line technology, this is an excellent choice.” - Ramsay Poindexter, AuD


Pros

Open sound quality that many users prefer

Bluetooth streaming from Android and Apple devices

Offered with both rechargeable and disposable batteries

Cons

Oticon More hearing aids start at $3,198 and can cost as much as $7,000 with walk in care

Oticon More hearing aids require a visit to an in person audiologist and are not sold online

Access pre-negotiated pricing from Zip Hearing and save 25%-40%
Find a Professional
Signia Charge&Go
Smallest Size and Longest Battery Life

Signia Charge&Go

Signia Charge&Go

$4,598
Behind the Ear
Behind the Ear
Bluetooth
Bluetooth
PROFESSIONAL FITTING
PROFESSIONAL FITTING
Rechargeable
Rechargeable

Signia Pure Charge&Go AX hearing aids are the smallest behind-the-ear devices on the market in 2022 and amazingly hold the longest-lasting battery at nearly 40 hours per charge. Signia is known for limiting background noise by using motion detection to gather information about your surroundings as you move from one space to the next. The hearing aids automatically sense when you start walking or sit down and make intelligent decisions about where to focus.

Overall notes: Signia Charge&Go AX is a hearing aid for someone on the go. It's the smallest, has the most extended battery life, and offers best-in-class motion-based adjustments.

Price: Starting at $2,798 per pair through Zip Hearing (walk-in pricing is typically between $5K-$8K)

Features: Rechargeable, Bluetooth, Behind The Ear Style

What audiologists say: “The AX offers hands-free streaming (for iOS) and connectivity with their app. It is a solid device with impressive specs and design." - Garrett Thompson, AuD

Pros

Smallest body size on the market

Longest lasting battery with 40 hours per charge

Fully customizable with premium sound processing

Cons

Only sold through local clinics at $3,198 - $7,000 a pair

Requires a separate accessory to allow remote programming

Access pre-negotiated pricing from Zip Hearing and save 25%-40%
Find a Professional
Image of Bose rechargeable hearing aids
Lexie B2 Powered By Bose
Affordable and Rechargeable

Lexie B2 Powered By Bose

Lexie B2 Powered By Bose

$999
Affordable
Affordable
Behind the Ear
Behind the Ear
Rechargeable
Rechargeable
Self-Tuned
Self-Tuned

Lexie B2 Powered by Bose is the newest edition to the Bose product family. The big news here is that B2 is rechargeable. Based on our evaluations, B1 and B2 are virtually identical in appearance and function outside of their batteries. Lexie B2 Powered by Bose is a registered OTC hearing aid with impressive self-fitting technology and great overall sound quality for the price.

According to Lexie, both B1 and B2 will remain on the market for the foreseeable future. Both products come with 45-day hassle-free returns and unlimited remote follow-up care from a Lexie Expert.


Like its counterpart, B1, the new B2 product does not allow Bluetooth streaming.

Pros

Strong underlying technology

Self-fitting using the Lexie app

Affordable and rechargeable

Cons

No Bluetooth streaming

Only comes in one color

Costs $150 more than disposable battery version

Check for the latest Lexie holiday prices here
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Conclusion

When considering whether disposable or rechargeable hearing aids may be right for you, it's essential to consider practicality and convenience factors such as battery life and maintenance requirements. Disposables require frequent battery changes, while reusables come with built-in lithium-ion batteries that last longer between charges but may be costly upfront compared to disposables.

–The Soundly team