Lithium-ion Batteries: The Reliable Choice For Phonak Hearing Aids

Lithium Battery

What comes to mind when you hear the word “reliable?” When it’s used to describe a person, they are trustworthy and get the job done. When describing
a car, you know it will get you from point A to point B without breaking down.

But what about a medical device, like rechargeable hearing aids? You would expect innovative technology without the worry of how long the charge will last.

With Phonak rechargeable hearing aids, you are able to offer your patients convenient and reliable hearing aids no matter their age or degree of hearing loss without compromise. Powered by lithium-ion batteries, this technology is trusted and well known.

Although they’re not the only battery available for hearing aids, we did our homework — and continue to do so — when it comes to lithium-ion.

“As Phonak was researching batteries, we knew consumers would have certain high expectations,” said Scott Witt, Phonak Director, Product Management. With cell phones and other consumer electronics being rechargeable, there’s already a positive perception about the technology.

Witt shares these four reasons why lithium-ion batteries are the reliable choice for Phonak.

1. It Packs a Power Punch for Its Small Size

Lithium is a really light metal, so when it’s used for batteries, it allows for a lot of high density energy to be stored in a small size, according to Witt.

“Lithium-ion can handle the power required for newer, advanced technologies and still keep its small size.” —Scott Witt, Phonak Director, Product Management.

“In the past, manufacturers used nickel metal hydride batteries. However, as technology grew — such as Bluetooth capabilities — it required more and more power,” said Witt.

With extra technology, it causes the battery to drain quicker, which can lead to some rechargeable hearing aids not lasting a full day or needing to be larger to handle the power requirements.

“Lithium-ion can handle the power required for these newer, advanced technologies and still keep its small size while lasting a full day,” said Witt.

2. It Doesn’t Need to be Replaced

Unlike silver zinc rechargeable batteries that need to be replaced every 10 to 12 months, the Phonak lithium-ion solution will last approximately the life time of the hearing aid, which is now six years. Without the need to change the batteries, our rechargeable hearing aids no longer need a door.

“Since the lithium-ion battery is hermetically encased within the hearing aid, this eliminates the seams, which is where moisture and dirt can creep in.”

“Since the lithium-ion battery is hermetically encased within the hearing aid, this eliminates the seams, which is where moisture and dirt can creep in,” said Witt. “This significantly decreases any moisture-related repairs.”

3. It Performs Better Than Originally Thought

After nearly two years of having Phonak rechargeable hearing aids in the market, we’ve been able to conduct more extensive tests on our lithium-ion battery. Here’s what our new research has found:

  • The lithium-ion battery actually lasts up to 36 hours when fully charged. Research shows that 98 percent of our hearing aids are worn on average 17 hours, so one full charge could offer two full days of hearing.
  • Patients can receive a FULL DAY of hearing with a 90-minute charge.
  • Patients will get a FULL DAY of unmatched hearing performance with unlimited streaming.
  • With a quick 15-minute charge, patients can receive three hours of hearing — just enough when in a pinch!

“Our rechargeable hearing aids are truly the longest lasting on the market today,” said Witt.

4. It Is Always Being Improved

“Even in the consumer electronics industry, people are trying to improve upon battery technology,” said Witt.

“I imagine in five or 10 years the potential of hearing aids to take on different shapes or add in new technology to really take off.”

As lithium-ion batteries take on smaller sizes — or even new shapes — it gives the hearing industry new options and new technology. “I imagine in five or 10 years the potential of hearing aids to take on different shapes or add in new technology to really take off,” said Witt.

With the introduction of Naída™ B-R RIC and Sky™ B-PR hearing aids — and the soon-to-be-released CROS B-R — these rechargeable options join the Audéo™ B-R and Bolero™ B-PR in the recently complete Belong platform.

Each one has the same great functions, fit and performance as the others in their portfolios. They also have long-lasting, quick charging lithium-ion battery technology. This all adds up to bringing people with hearing loss closer to the beauty of sound!