Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hearing Aids - They are Playing My Song

With my old hearing aid I could get about three weeks before the static got so bad I had to change the battery. I used Energizer #13 batteries I got in a drugstore for about $8.99 for a pack of eight. It seemed quite economical, and I never bothered shopping around for generics or other store brands.

My new hearing and is a digital one. When I got it I only got about a week (7 to 8 days) with a smaller #312 battery from the audiologist before I got the four beeps like a musical scale that let me know I should change the battery. It's a very distinctive musical sound you can't miss and you don't want to because the hearing aid goes dead about five to 10 minutes later.

It's great having the hearing aid though. I couldn't get along without it any more.

It has a little button on the side that you can press. Pressing the button and getting one beep means normal operation. Two beeps is a setting that filters out noisy backgrounds. Three beeps is a special setting, optimized for TV watching.

There is also a fourth setting that automatically sets a special mode that cuts in when you hold a telephone up to the hearing aid. You hear a special beeping signal that means the hearing aid is set up so it will not squeal and will amplify the phone properly.

One day, in Rite Aid, they had "long-lasting" storebrand hearing aid batteries on sale for $8.99 for three packs of eight (24 batteries) -- a deal I couldn't refuse.

I tried one and after three days I got my little 4-note song. The next battery lasted about 2 1/2 days. I guess you get what you pay for.

There really is a difference in hearing aid batteries. I have seen statements on the web, where the recommendation has been to buy hearing aid batteries by cost. It just isn't true.

Hearing aid batteries are generally a special type - zinc air - and do a lot of work for something with a very small size. Let's face it, different companies probably have slight differences in production methods.

I didn't really lose on my bargain batteries. The price was so low that the only real problem was the aggregation of frequent changes. I do know enough right now that I probably would be much better off buying premium Rayovac or Energizer batteries in the future to save on wear and tear on the hearing aid. If you are buying something re-branded it should be okay if the manufacturer is one of these.

I have come across some European batteries for lower prices that may not be re-brands of US manufacturers but I haven't had a chance to try them or to check further. Some of the prices look awfully good though.
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