During that time, I have changed the batteries more times than I can remember. Sometimes I change them using free batteries I pick up from my audiology clinic, but mostly (because I forget to pick up batteries) I end up buying them – at great expense – from chemists in a mad panic when I'm out somewhere and get the ominous 'Beeeeeeeep' followed by the death knell 'Beeeeeeeeep' 10 minutes later and a muted silence.
This happened this morning. I was at work. I searched my desk drawer frantically. It revealed several pens, a pencil, a lipstick, sticky notes and no hearing aid batteries.
I then searched my handbag and found TicTacs, lip balm, tissues, a hairbrush, several hundred hairbands (that's where they all are) and a dusty Fisherman's Friend. And then, sitting at the bottom of the side pocket, was a pack of hearing aid batteries with one remaining new battery. The sight of that little orange tab made my day and prevented a mad panicked dash to Boots for a new packet of batteries.
But then I remembered something I had read and forgotten on the back of a pack of batteries about six months ago. The instructions clearly state that you should remove the tab and leave the battery for at least 1 minute before using it.
I have NEVER done this. It has never occurred to me to do this. I didn't know why I should do this. And there was no more information about it on the packet either.
So I asked Twitter and several people came up with suggestions and also noted that they too don't leave their hearing aid batteries for 1 minute before putting them in their hearing aids.
And then I decided to drop the lovely Twitter peeps @HearwithRayovac a line and guess what, they came straight back to me and explained the reason for leaving hearing aid batteries out in the air. They also gave me a link to their online FAQ, which gives more information and is pretty interesting reading. I've also included their explanation below:
'A zinc air battery uses air outside the battery as a source of power. The factory applied tab seals the air holes in the battery and ensures freshness until you are ready to use the battery. Do not remove the tab until you are ready to use the battery. To activate the battery, you simply remove the tab. After removing the tab, wait about one minute prior to inserting the battery into your hearing aid. This allows sufficient time for the air to enter and activate the ingredients. Replacing the tab when the battery is not in use will not extend the battery life.'
'The reason to let it sit is because the air needs time to get into the battery. If you take the tab off and immediately put the battery in the hearing aid, you limit the amount of air it is exposed to. This could cause the battery to seem “dead” because the voltage could not reach the necessary level to power the device. If this happens when you first put the battery in the device, take it out and let it sit. This allows air to enter the cell and increase the voltage. After 1 minute, put the battery back into the device.'
So there you go! I've learnt something new on this sunny Monday that means next time I am juggling hat, gloves, scarf and several bags on a busy bus and my hearing aid battery goes flat, I will also be the girl balancing a hearing aid battery on her knee while counting to 60!
Look out for me yeah?
Happy Monday peeps