With all the modern inventions that surround us and with all the new ideas that come onto the market everyday, wouldn’t you think that the “Hearing Aid Industry” would have invented some simple way to turn hearing aids on and off at night? Well, no such luck. We still use the 70-year-old idea of opening the battery door at night to put our hearing aids to sleep.
If this were a simple and easy task, I would not be writing this article. But opening the battery door presents several significant complications to hearing aid users. For one thing, new hearing aid cases are tight, and the contacts grab the battery securely. That means it is often a struggle to open and close the battery compartment on a new hearing aid.
Some in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids have a battery door that doesn’t stay open. If you set the aid in the box, the battery door may “fall shut” by itself. Or when you put these ITEs into the hearing aid case, you have to keep the lid of the case open at night. If you close the lid, it tends to push the batteries back into the hearing aids. As a result, the aids will be on all night draining the battery.
Some patients tackle this problem by putting little sticks into the battery compartment after they open the battery door. This solution works if it’s done very carefully and just right. But what we really need are better battery doors on our ITE instruments and improved cases for these instruments.
One relatively new solution to this problem is to use rechargeable batteries and charger boxes. Such systems come with some behind-the-ear (BTE) and receiver–in-the-canal (RIC) instruments. You simply remove the hearing aids at night, drop them into the charger box, and let them charge. The charger will automatically turn the hearing aids off when the batteries are fully re-charged.