Note from Dr. Tammy Flodmand: Hearing aids change very quickly. That is a good thing for the consumer. Every year there are improvements to battery life, technology, moisture resistance and aesthetics. Many of the problems that existed with hearing aids only a few years ago are no longer an issue. So, throw out all those old ideas about what hearing aids are…read on to learn more about today’s hearing aids.
Hearing Aid Batteries
Q: How long do batteries last? How do I know that I’m buying the correct one? And where do I get them? – John
A: The battery life depends on what size battery you have. Most hearing aids have either a size 312/brown or a size 10/yellow. A 312 battery will generally last about 7-10 days. A size 10 battery will last approximately 3-5 days. Batteries do have a shelf life so make sure the expiration date on the back is at least a few YEARS out from the current date.
The FDA requires that all batteries be color coded and numbered the same. So the brand you purchase does not matter as long as you remember either the color or the number. For example, the 312 battery is always color coded brown while the size 10 battery is always color coded yellow. Even though different manufacturers will have different packaging the color coding and number are always the same.
You can always get your batteries from Audicus but if you need them in a pinch you can always get them from a local pharmacy store (Duane Reade, CVS, Walgreens, etc.) or for bargain hunters you can get them at Costco or BJs.
How to Choose a Hearing Aid
Q: There are so many different kinds of hearing aids. How do you pick one? – Kristin
A: First, you should determine what will work best for your hearing loss. The behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids work for a wider range of hearing losses while the in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids can only be fit on mild to moderate hearing loss levels.
Second, you should determine what you prefer physically. Although BTE (like the Dia II hearing aid) hearing aids are 80% of the market some people still prefer an ITE hearing aid. If there is no restriction on what you can wear due to the degree of hearing loss then you can choose whichever you prefer based on appearance and comfort.
Hearing Aids and Moisture
Q: I sweat a lot. I mean, a LOT. Can I still wear hearing aids? – John, Jacksonville, FL
A: You absolutely can. Again, over the past few years the hearing aid technology has changed significantly. Moisture has always been public enemy #1 to hearing aids so that is definitely something that has evolved in hearing aids. Most hearing aids now have some sort of moisture control feature. Some will have a coating on the internal components, others on the outside components and some on both.
For a small number of people this still isn’t enough. For those, we suggest a special dehumidifier to store your hearing aids in at night to help remove the moisture. Also, you can get hearing aid sweat bands which are exactly like what they sound like. . . it’s a small sweat band that covers your hearing aid to absorb moisture before it can get inside and do damage.
If you’d like to submit a question to Dr. Tammy Flodmand please do so at firstname.lastname@example.org