This story astounds me. An eighth grade student was given the U.S. Naval Science award for discovering how to extend the life of hearing aid batteries by 85%. I’m not kidding. How you can do this will shock you.
Ethan Manuell studied hearing aid batteries. He found that waiting five minutes to install them after removing the protective tape, increased the battery life by 85 percent. How can you get the improvement? After you take the strip off the battery, wait five minutes before you install it in your hearing aid. That’s it!
So for those of you without hearing aids, here are some facts about their batteries. These tiny batteries are made with zinc. To start them you take off a tape or strip that keeps the air out. The battery then works on the oxidation of the zinc when it is exposed to the oxygen in the air.
Just tearing the strip off starts the battery, but it takes some time to get up to it full voltage. That may be behind the benefit of waiting five minutes before installing it.
The batteries come in several sizes, the smallest is size 10 and the largest is size 675. The smaller the hearing aid, the smaller the battery. Now for the shocker. Here are the life expectancies for these batteries.
Size 10: 3-5 days
Size 312: 7-10 days
Size 13: 10-14 days
Size 675: 14-17 days.
That translates into a cost as follows:
Size 10: an average of $150/year
Size 312: an average of $80/year
Size 13: an average of $50/year
Size 675: an average of $30/year.
Manuell wears a hearing aid himself, so he knew these facts. He knew that any increase in battery life could shave this cost down considerably.
Officially known as ‘The Effect of Wait Time on the Lifespan of Hearing Aid Batteries,’ the study was reviewed by the Olmsted Medical Center. Spread the word. This will help the roughly seven million people who wear hearing aids in the United States.
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