We often hear complaints about the short life of hearing aid batteries (an average of 2-7 days depending on the hearing aid model, sophistication of the aid’s technology, individual severity of loss and wearing patterns).

Well thanks to 8th grader Ethan Manuell of Rochester, Minnesota, it’s possible to get a bit more life out of your batteries. Young Ethan, an audiology client at Olmsted County Medical Center, wears an over-the-ear style hearing aid on his left ear. Discussing the short-term battery life with his audiologist, he found the batteries “come to life’ when the colored protective tab is removed from the battery. Oxygen in the air enters minuscule, pin-prick sized holes and mixes with the zinc-oxide compound of which the batteries are now made. (Mercury-filled batteries have been banned.)

Ethan wondered if allowing the oxygen to mix longer with the zinc-oxide compound would improve the battery’s longevity. He performed tests and found that if he allowed the battery to sit before he inserted it into his hearing aid, the batteries lasted longer. “The more energized the zinc you have, the longer it (the energy) lasts,” explained Manuell. “So this discovery I made, if you wait 5 minutes (after removing the tab), it improves the battery life 80%.”
In this instant gratification world we live in, five minutes may feel like an eternity, but it’s worth the wait. Ethan’s experiment has proven each battery life lasts 2-3 days longer.

Ethan’ significant “5-minute rule” discovery has earned him recognition and several awards, including a distinguished U.S. Naval Science Award.
For you that means earning a bit more time out of your batteries. And that’s a good thing!

“Reprinted with permission of SoundBites Newsletter”

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