Hearing Aid Batteries: the Power to Hear the World
For all their remarkable functions and roles in people’s lives, electronic devices like hearing aids need one thing in common: power. As technology has grown more urbane than before, it also needs more urbane ways of powering the devices. Today's devices have gone beyond any reach of the traditional plug-and-outlet, with batteries powering half of the world. Although their life is limited, batteries can, at the very least, be replaced easily.
Of course, you would not put a double-A or triple-A battery on something small such as hearing aids. For that, you would need something smaller than a stick battery but can generate power for longer periods. The familiar alkaline battery uses zinc and magnesium dioxide to generate power for most electronic devices. However, to sustain the functions of other devices such as hearing aids, batteries go beyond the usual chemicals.
Most commercial hearing aids draw power from batteries that combine zinc and air to generate its juice. Called zinc-air batteries, these power sources are commonly used in hearing aids and they usually come as small as a dot. Zinc-air batteries can generate up to 1.4 volts of electrical energy, although the output can vary with the condition of the air. The average voltage capacity of these batteries, with prolonged use, may drop to at least 1.28 volts.
Do not let its small size fool you because these batteries can produce more power than your standard alkaline battery. As hearing aids require enough energy to run its transistors and other electronic components, hearing aid batteries have to be up for the task. Since zinc-air batteries draw air as its catalyst, the battery has more zinc to use up to generate more power. It does not contain any other material necessary for power generation.
Before such batteries, mercury was often used for producing many kinds such as hearing aid batteries. However, because of the health and environmental risks mercury posed, mercury has been banned for this application. Today's batteries, even if they leak, are safer to handle than those that contain mercury. Although mercury batteries yielded much more power, many people thought that handling such a material was too risky.
The hearing aid battery today, commonly zinc-air battery, with its less risky chemicals, ensures the safety of the deaf. With the device being worn right next to the ear, it is just ideal that certain safety measures have to be designed to prevent anything worse. Even a small battery such as a hearing aid battery, along with proper use of the hearing aid itself, can help the device last for a long time.
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