One commonly asked question of Audiologists by their patients is ‘what do I do with my used batteries?’ It’s no secret that as our world ages and we are understanding our impact on the planet, we too are becoming more environmentally conscious and generally want to play our part in looking after it. Over the past 3-5 years, we have started to see less and less of the common mercury zinc-air battery also knows as ‘button batteries’. Generally, now your standard hearing aid batteries will be marked mercury-free in green writing on the packet as if this delightfully excuses the battery itself from ending up in landfill. However, the sad reality is that hearing aid batteries are amongst the 70% of the single-use batteries that end up in landfill in Australia every year.
The good news is there now several things that you can do to eliminate the need to place your used batteries into your household waste.
Did you know that there are rechargeable options available for hearing devices?
Leading manufacturers are now releasing their latest technologies with rechargeable options for their consumers. This enables the individual to charge their devices overnight, and in some cases remove the need to open and close battery doors to save power completely. The first rechargeable option is a zinc rechargeable battery, which in most cases work the same as your standard zinc-air battery-powered device. Batteries are charged (generally overnight) and when not used, can be switched off by opening the battery door. These batteries have a lifespan of around 6-12months before needing replacement and can be recycled along with any other standard mercury-free battery.
The second and most advanced rechargeable option is the Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery. These batteries are generally enclosed in the hearing aid, removing the need to open and close a battery door entirely. The devices can be switched off by using the button controls on the hearing device. The lifespan of the Lithium-Ion battery is much longer at approximately 2-3 years.
At Hearing Sense, we have a large range of rechargeable devices available, so please don’t hesitate to call and make an appointment to discuss these options with your clinician.
For those of you who still use single-use zinc-air batteries, do not worry! There are three very small steps to ensure you are getting the most out of your batteries, whilst still being environmentally conscious.
- Allow your battery to breathe – – when you remove your battery from the packet, you will notice that is has a coloured sticker on the top. This sticker acts a bit like an air seal. Once the battery is removed, wait for 1-2 minutes before placing the battery in your hearing aid to ensure that the battery has built up its full charge, any sooner will often result in a shorter life span, and the use of more and more batteries.
- Collect your used batteries – – if you are part of Private Battery Club or have ongoing maintenance with us through the Office of Hearing Services, then you will receive our high-quality Power One batteries, which are made in Germany. When your batteries have depleted, keep them aside in a container, and bring these back into us. We offer a full battery recycling service to ensure these batteries remain far away from landfill.
- Store your batteries correctly – avoid storing and using your devices in humid or moist areas. If moisture gets to the batteries, this may result in discharging or in some cases corrosion, which may, in turn, damage your hearing aids. If you sweat a little, be sure to wipe the batteries with a tissue when you are not using the devices, or ask your clinician about a dry kit.
They may be small little things, but they all pack a punch and assist in delivering you better hearing. So make sure you are doing your part to get the most your batteries, or if you like the idea of a rechargeable device, give us a call on 8331 8047 to arrange a time to speak to Kelly and Pavel about all of the amazing new options available.