Rechargeable Hearing Aid Options, What's Available?

February 18th 2018

Rechargeable hearing aids have proven to be big news over the last six months. They seem to have caught the imagination of consumers and the professionals who serve them alike. Not all of the hearing aid brands have them yet, but we expect that to change in 2017. What do we know so far? 

While two of the big six manufacturers have now introduced rechargeable hearing aid options the others have been slightly slower. However, the popularity is evident so I would expect them all to introduce them over the next year. Our friends at hearing aid Know reported that two manufacturers, Unitron and Starkey would be introducing rechargeable hearing aids in February. Here is what we know so far. 

Phonak

Audeo Belong Hearing Devices

Audeo BelongFirst up and the first to be introduced is the Audeo Belong (Receiver in Canal) hearing device range. This was the first of the Lithium-ion devices and It is also the first Phonak rechargeable hearing device option. 

While the Audeo Belong range is available in four technology levels, the 90, the 70, the 50 and the 30. The rechargeable option is not available in the lowest 30 level of technology.

What are the key features

  • Rechargeable lithium-ion power cell (integrated and sealed)
  • 24 hours continuous use with up to 5 hours streaming
  • Easy charging
  • Unique OneShell design
  • Only available in the 90, 70 and 50 level of tech
The Phonak Audeo Belong Range
Audeo Belong Range

Signia

Cellion Hearing Aids

Cellion Primax

Signia, the new brand name for Siemens Hearing Aids,  quickly followed Phonak with their own Cellion™ primax™ hearing aids. This is the first time that Signia have used Lithium-ion to power their hearing aids. They have the most experience with these type of devices having had rechargeable hearing aids for many years.

I think it shows, the hearing aids have been designed to be smart, they turn themselves off when dropped into the charger and turn on automatically when they are taken out again unlike the Belong. Like the Audeo B-R, the Cellion is a Receiver in Canal hearing aid and it can be used with a variety of receivers which will allow them to cover hearing losses from mild to profound.

Signia offer the Cellion in three levels of technology, the 7, the 5 and the 3. The devices are also rated to ip68 which is for all intent and purpose almost water proof.

What are the key features

  • Rechargeable lithium-ion power cell
  • 24 hours continuous use with unlimited streaming
  • Contactless, inductive charging
  • Unique OneShell design
  • Available in all three levels of tech

While these are the only two devices actively on the market, two more brands have made announcements in the last few weeks. One is a full announcement while the other was a teaser designed to get professionals excited. Let's take a look at them. 

Starkey

Muse™ micro RIC 312t R

Zpower charged Muse hearing aids

Starkey has announced that in partnership with ZPower they will bring the Muse™ micro RIC 312t R to market this month. The new recharge able is based on the existing Micro RIC 312t, which is just one of the styles available on Starkey’s® “made for music” hearing aid platform. The power pack used here is actually ZPower’s innovative silver-zinc battery technology and not Lithium-ion.

There are advantages to this as Starkey customers twill be able o switch to normal disposable batteries if they are caught out. 

What are the key features

  • Rechargeable silver-zinc power cell
  • 24 hours continuous use,  no word on streaming yet
  • Available in all levels of technology
  • Easy to replace battery pack
  • User can use disposable batteries if needed

THere are huge advantages to using this type of system, it does allow the user to switch to disposable batteries when needed. This is almost like an after market add on for Starkey, I think it may be a stop gap offer until their own integrated Lithium-ion offering gets released. Although, even if they do release an integrated offering, it will still be an excellent side offering.

Unitron Rechargeable Hearing Aids

Moxi FitIt also seems that Unitron is about to offer their own rechargeable hearing aid device based on the Moxi-Fit. Unitron US tweeted on February the third that if people were attending the JDVAC convention that they should stop by and take a look at their new rechargeable Moxi Fit-R.

They have also mentioned on Linkedin that the Moxi Fit-R would be the smallest rechargeable hearing aid ever. This has a lot of people wondering about what they are going to use to power the device.  

While their sister company Phonak has gone with Lithium-ion, if Unitron is to offer a smaller device, we would imagine that Lithium-ion would cause them problems with size.  As with the Audeo from Phonak and Starkey's Muse option, their first foray into this field will be with their RIC offering.

I would expect most of the other manufacturers to begin offering a rechargeable option this year. They have proved exceptionally popular. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.  

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