Rechargeable electrical devices are all around us. Our computers, smart phones, MP3 players, cameras, toothbrushes, even our cars can be plugged in overnight to get ready for another day of use. But the demands on battery performance are more exacting in hearing aids than in some other devices, since one’s very ability to communicate depends on having a reliable, long-lasting power source.
At last a family of rechargeable hearing aids is available to meet that need. Hansaton’s AQ Custom Rechargeable Hearing Instruments and AQ X-Mini RIC Instruments (shown above, available in 8 colors, 3 technology levels, and 3 receiver power levels) are bringing rechargeable hearing aids out of the small market niche they have occupied for thirty years and into the mainstream market. Ten years of R&D at Hansaton Acoustics have given us a family of rechargeable hearing aids that resolve all of the issues of other designs.
The main shortcoming, which has prevented widespread acceptance of rechargeable hearing aids, is that wearers have not been able to rely on the instruments to get them through a full day of use without losing power. Having to change over to a zinc-air battery half-way through the day simply negates the benefits of rechargeability. Potential candidates for rechargeable hearing aids should examine five main features:
- Operating time per charge. AQ Custom Rechargeables operate for 20 to 30 hours per charge, while the AQ X-Mini RICs give a minimum of 20 hours per charge, with the most powerful, 65-dB gain receiver and more than 20 with the 55 and 45-dB receivers.
- Battery longevity. The AQ battery is guaranteed for five years, and, unlike competitors’ offerings, over that time it will maintain its original operating time per charge.
- Ease of use. Drop the aid in the charging cradle, and in 4-to-6 hours it will be fully charged and ready for another long day. Since AQs use an inductive charging process, there are no electrical contacts to line up for proper connection. The Charging Station turns the aid off upon insertion, begins the charging process automatically and stops charging precisely at 100% charge to maintain top battery performance.
- Reliability. Inductive charging also means there are no electrical contacts to corrode or wear out. A sealed battery compartment eliminates broken battery doors and makes the AQs, both custom and X-Mini, highly water-resistant.
- Excellent sound processing. Having a trouble-free, reliable power source is great if and only if it is powering a good hearing aid. AQ Custom and AQ X-Mini instruments are available in three technology levels – First Class, Business Class and Comfort Class – with top-of-the-line digital sound processing throughout.
How do we do it? A special control circuit inside each aid monitors battery status, controls the charging process with great precision and communicates wirelessly with the Charge Station. It is this patented design that allows the superb operating time per charge and battery longevity of the AQ hearing instruments. Hansaton’s exclusive, patented recharging system is not available from any other hearing instrument manufacturer.
A final word on battery substitution. Other manufacturers of rechargeable hearing aid tout the ability to substitute a zinc-air battery as an advantage of their design. At Hansaton we realize that this so-called advantage, in fact, betrays a design limitation, necessitated by the failure of the rechargeable system to get a hearing aid wearer through a long day. At Hansaton we have the highest confidence in the ability of our products to outlast the wearer day after day. This confidence allows us to seal the battery in the case, remove the battery door, and thereby gain improved cosmetic appeal, plus the additional benefits of water resistance, reliability and ease of use, all accompanied by top-notch sound processing.
A growing number of practitioners and patients are discovering the benefits of truly reliable, effective and easy-to-use rechargeable hearing aids. Beyond the expected patient populations – visually impaired, physically impaired, elderly – AQs are the logical choice for the hearing impaired. At this point in time and with this technology, it’s just the obvious choice.
You never have to see a battery again!
Dr. Jerry L. Yanz, PhD, is Director of audiology at Hansaton Acoustics, Inc. located in Plymouth, MN. He received his doctorate from The University of Iowa. Since then, Dr. Yanz has assumed positions as a faculty member at the Department of Communication Disorders at the University of Minnesota, clinical director positions at a large audiology clinic in St. Paul, MN, and executive positions in both product research and development and education. Most recently, Dr. Yanz served as lead educator and senior staff audiologist at Starkey Laboratories and as vice-president of education and training at Micro-Tech Hearing Instruments.