AudiologyOnlinePhone: 800-753-2160


Rayovac: Grow Your Battery Sales
 

Rayovac - Your Hearing Aid Battery Questions Answered!

Rayovac - Your Hearing Aid Battery Questions Answered!

Tom Begley

September 18, 2006
Introduction:

Do you have questions about hearing aid batteries? At Rayovac, we pride ourselves in having the best built, longest lasting hearing aid batteries on the market. Still, there are lots of ways that you can increase or decrease the life of your battery and we get lots of questions related to this topic. To help you and your patients get the most out of their hearing aid batteries, we have provided answers to some of the more commonly and uncommonly asked questions that have come to us. We hope that you find this information useful so that you can not only better counsel your patients, but also take advantage of some of the battery marketing programs that we have available.

Hearing Aid Battery QNA:

Question:
We sell a lot of hearing aid batteries by mail order. What kinds of packaging options are available for ready-to-mail packages?

Answer:
Rayovac has a 48 pack of batteries in a flat package that has been designed to be easily mailed. We provide free envelopes for the 48 pack that allow you to send them first class mail. This provides you with a great option for staying in touch with your customers through mail order.

Question:
On the backs of many battery packs we get, it is marked "Made in the UK." Are all of Rayovac batteries made in the United Kingdom?

Answer:
Rayovac is the only hearing aid battery manufacturer with 2 plants. One of our plants is in Portage, Wisconsin USA. This plant manufactures size 10, 312, & 13 hearing aid batteries. We also have a plant in the UK that makes size 13, 312 and 675 hearing aid batteries. The US plant ships size 10 batteries to the UK and the UK plant ships size 675 to the US. This overlap ensures that if there were ever a disaster, we can take care of our customers under any circumstance.

Question:
What is the life of an unused battery post year 1, 2, 3, and 4? Do thinner components being used have a greater risk of perforation?

Answer:
Unused hearing aid batteries lose about 3% of their capacity every year. Batteries do fade; this is true across all battery brands. After year 4 the battery should have about 85-88% of its original capacity.

Perforations will not occur. While the steel we use is thin, it has a lot of support underneath. We have not had any instances of perforations, but we have seen hearing aid batteries that have dents in them. You could probably stand on our batteries and they would support you pretty well.

Question:
Will AARP sell batteries at a discounted price? This could make it difficult to compete with them on a local level.

Answer:
AARP does not sell batteries. They pulled out of the pharmaceutical and hearing health care business 3-4 years ago. They did license their name to be used by a company called Swanson Vitamin Co. Swanson sells vitamins and hearing aid batteries. They do not sell the Pro Line Brand. They do have a Rayovac brand in there catalog, but it is probably not greatly discounted. I've seen lots of retailers that sell the Rayovac product at very competitive prices to Swanson. Also, Swanson sells via mail order so it will take some time to get the product compared to a customer visiting your office.

Question:
How does ProLine differ from other retail batteries, even though they are both "Rayovac"?

Answer:
What differentiates ProLine from other brands of batteries that Rayovac sells is that Rayovac ProLine is a marketing program. We manufacture only a premium battery, and that premium battery is sold under the ProLine name as well as brand names available for retail. The ProLine is only available through hearing healthcare professionals. We make sure that the ProLine hearing aid battery is not available at discount stores or drug stores.

Question:
Do you think that if the battery quits on one hearing aid, you should change the other at the same time so that the voltage will be the same on both ears?

Answer:
No, I don't believe that that is important. You have to remember that the zinc air battery used in hearing aids is different from the more traditional alkaline battery.

The zinc air has flat discharge curve, so when the battery is going bad it just quits altogether. It doesn't have a sloping discharge curve like the alkaline, which goes bad slowly. You should expect similar performance out of two zinc air batteries regardless of where they are in a discharge cycle.

As an interesting side note, we have found in our surveys that the consumer generally changes the batteries one of 2 different ways. 1. They pick a day, say Sunday, to change the battery on a regular basis. 2. They wait until the battery goes dead and then they change it. Both methods would be just as effective and give you the same performance in your hearing aid.

Question:
What would create a sticky film to migrate into hearing aid cases from the battery?

Answer:
What you're seeing is electrolyte migration. Rayovac has created a new sealant process to prevent this electrolyte migration. You will initially see a very thin film on the battery and you may hardly notice it is there. As the moisture in the electrolyte evaporates a white dust will appear. This is leakage which will eventually cause problems in the hearing aid so it's important to take the batteries out overnight. The new sealant process by Rayovac will help prevent this problem in the future.

Question:
From time to time, my batteries only last about 4 hours and I have to change them. These are fresh Rayovac batteries. Any suggestions?

Answer:
We make about 300 million batteries a year. We try very hard to make a battery that is consistent and will last a long time. The most important thing you can do is return the battery with packaging to us. We take issues like this seriously and investigate every problem that we get. We want to understand what's causing the problem. This is the only way we can make improvements to the product.

Question:
Is corrosion a problem for hearing aid batteries? A patient returned a package of hearing aid batteries because he dropped it in the sink. He retrieved it right away, but it was covered with corrosion, and he sent the package back to us.

Answer:
It's really not corrosion, but rust. The batteries are made out of steel, so they can be affected by corrosion and rusting, both of which are not good for the batteries. Take the corroded/rusted battery out of the aid immediately and return it to the manufacturer. Rayovac guarantees all of our batteries with 100% satisfaction.

Question:
Are Rayovac batteries available from hearing aid manufacturers or only directly from Rayovac? Sometimes it's more convenient to order from my hearing aid manufacturer while purchasing other things.

Answer:
Rayovac has some terrific partnerships out there with our distributors and we have selected a number of distributors around the world with whom we work very closely. Yes, Rayovac batteries are available under the Rayovac Extra brand through select distributors. ProLine is only available directly from Rayovac. If you need to know any names of our partners, I'll be happy to help you.

Question:
Where can I find out more procedures to establish a battery club?

Answer:
Great Question! Call Rayovac's toll free number, 1-800-356-7422 in the U.S., or 1-800-387-3529 in Canada. Any of Rayovac's product consultants will work with you to establish a battery club program. The battery package can be printed with your name and logo on it, and we have a number of choices available. There are three different types of battery programs: the booklet, punch card, and coupon. We can customize all of these free of charge. Some may fit your needs better than others. If any of you are familiar with Dennis Hampton, he has a hearing newsletter that he puts out, Hearing Healthcare News www.hearinghealthnews.com/. It's a great product. Dennis is a big advocate of battery club programs. He likes them because if he can convince one of his customers to add a battery club program, it will pay for his newsletter program free of charge. Battery club programs do work and can set you apart from other professionals out there.

Question:
Hearing aid batteries: to refrigerate or not to refrigerate?

Answer:
I have been asked that question for over 15 years. Long ago you did refrigerate batteries to get longer life. Now on today's zinc air battery, it actually harms the battery. The zinc air battery has holes in the top and if you put hearing aid batteries in the refrigerator, the holes will allow moisture into the battery. The moisture fills up the battery and then you'll have premature failure of the battery. If you want to preserve the life of a hearing aid battery, keep them out of the refrigerator.

Question:
Why do some batteries in the same package last longer than others?

Answer:
They shouldn't do this. Rayovac works very hard to provide consistent life from battery to battery. One thing you do have to consider is that the circumstances of the consumer's lifestyle might affect the life of the battery. If you sit in a quiet room often, the life of the battery will be long. If you sit in a noisy baseball game, the battery life will be shorter.

Question:
There has been a lot of controversy about keeping batteries in dry aid kit overnight. What is your recommendation?

Answer:
The dry aid companies recently put out a letter recommending that you should put hearing aids with the batteries in the dry aid kit overnight. The dry aid kit sucks moisture out of the battery. If you are in a high humidity climate it would probably help. If you live in Arizona in the summer where it is dry, the kit will not help. Results can vary, so my recommendation is to judge it on a case by case basis. There is not one good answer.

Question:
Sometimes when patients pull the tabs off the back of the hearing aid battery, it's sticky and hard to remove. Is this normal?

Answer:
They should not be sticky. If they are, you want to make sure to wipe the stickiness off. If this is recurring, please let us know. We've designed the tabs to pull off cleanly. Any residue could gum up your hearing aid, and that's not a good thing.

Question:
Is there a difference in the cost of "ProLine," "Advanced," and other Rayovac product lines?

Answer:
Rayovac does not suggest a retail price to the distributors - that is their decision. Rayovac had a small price increase this year due to extreme increases in commodity prices over the last couple of years. The cost of zinc products rose approximately 50%. Metal prices also went up. Rayovac has spent $3 million developing this product, so we did have a small increase in the pricing.

Question:
What is the difference between Rayovac Ultra and Advanced hearing aid batteries?

Answer:
Ultra was last year's product. Advanced is this year's new product. Ultra was the name we used for the designation of our last generation of products. We wanted to really set apart this new and improved generation of batteries and so we named the new line of hearing aid batteries Advanced.

Question:
I've noticed in the larger stores that they rotate the battery packages. They put the older packs first on the shelf like produce.

Answer:
Consumer packaged goods companies call that FIFO: First In, First Out. Rayovac's warehouses practice the same thing. When we get new batteries in, we ship those out last. We want to make sure that the consumer gets a good battery. If you always sell fresh batteries, you'll end up with lots of old batteries on the shelves and that's not good for the consumer.

Question:
Is there a device that is more accurate for testing batteries? The battery testers now seem to give the same information on the same batteries.

Answer:
Rayovac does offer a battery tester. It is not a precision instrument. I believe it is $5. I can guarantee that a $5 battery tester is not very precise. You can find a higher precision battery tester in the retail market from places like Radio Shack. It may cost around $100. The best test for a battery is if you put it in a device and the device powers up properly, then it's a good battery. The battery tester can only confirm that the battery is good, not the length of service you can expect from the battery because of the flat discharge curve of a zinc air battery.

Question:
Does Rayovac plan to use longer tabs on batteries? Many of my patients prefer the longer tab.

Answer:
Rayovac introduced a longer tab about two years ago. At this time we do not have plans to increase the size of the tabs because they will not fit inside the dial. If we made the tabs bigger, we would have to make the cards bigger. Some consumers wouldn't like carrying a card the size of a computer disc. We try to have a balance between the size of the tabs and the cards. We believe we have come up with a fairly elegant solution with the longer tabs to help the patients use the batteries while at the same time keeping the card at a reasonable size.

Question:
Do you get improved battery life if you keep the battery door open at night with the hearing aid off? Are there any general guidelines for this on the different battery sizes?

Answer:
I've seen some test curves where it does improve the life of the battery to keep the battery door open at night, but only slightly. The discharge curve does show that there is a slight improvement in battery life, but we're talking minutes, not hours or days.

Question:
How critical is it after pulling the tab to wait a minute or so before putting the battery in the device?

Answer:
The zinc air battery is powered by air; if it doesn't get enough air in it before use, it will not work properly. We ask that you take the tab off and wait a minute or so to give the air a chance to get into the battery. It will then power right up and you'll get great service. We have seen some issues in the past where the consumer did not let the battery "power up" and we saw premature failure or dead cells. If a customer does see dead cells, tell them to wait a minute once they peel the tab off. This should solve the problem.

About Tom Begley:

Tom Begley received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Colorado. After serving as an intelligence officer in the US Air Force and positions of increasing responsibility at Campbell Soup Co, Heublein and ConAgra he joined Spectrum Brands, previously Rayovac Corporation, in 1991. As the Director of Sales - Hearing Aid Batteries, Tom was part of a team that was successful in helping Rayovac become the #1 selling battery of hearing healthcare professionals. In the spring of 2005, Tom was promoted to Divisional Vice President - Sales. He continues to manage the North American sales team focusing on hearing aid batteries.

About Rayovac Hearing Aid Batteries:

Rayovac Hearing Aid Batteries are the number one choice of hearing care professionals! Rayovac ProLine Advanced premium zinc air hearing aid batteries offer you long-lasting performance. You can count on Rayovac ProLine Advanced batteries to offer you predictable battery life and consistency - battery to battery. If you would like additional information please visit www.rayovac.com/hearing/

tom begley

Tom Begley

Division Vice President of Sales



Related Courses

The New Industry Standard: Rayovac Mercury Free [Recorded Webinar Course]

Presenters

Kevin Kouba, BBA, MBADenis Carpenter, BS
Course: #17771
CEUs/Hours Offered: AAA/0.1 Intermediate; ACAud/1.0; AHIP/1.0; BAA/1.0; CAA/1.0; Calif. HADB/1.0 Hearing Aid Related; IHS/1.0; Kansas DHE, LTS-S0035/1.0; NZAS/1.0
Course Details

View this course for FREE. Need CEUs? Join our CEU Total Access Program to get unlimited CEUs.

Only $99/yr

Learn More

Using Hearing Aid Batteries as a Tool to Grow Your Business [Recorded Webinar Course]

Presenters

Kevin Kouba, BBA, MBAMeredith Rockafellow Van Sant
Course: #19634
CEUs/Hours Offered: AAA/0.1 Intermediate; ACAud/1.0; BAA/1.0; CAA/1.0; Calif. HADB/1.0 Hearing Aid Related; IHS/1.0; NZAS/1.0
Course Details

View this course for FREE. Need CEUs? Join our CEU Total Access Program to get unlimited CEUs.

Only $99/yr

Learn More

Going Green? Introducing the World's Longest Lasting Mercury Free HA Battery by Rayovac [Recorded Webinar Course]

Presenters

Denis Carpenter, BSKevin Kouba, BBA, MBA
Course: #13244
CEUs/Hours Offered: AAA/0.1 Intermediate; ACAud/1.0; AHIP/1.0; BAA/1.0; CAA/1.0; Calif. HADB/1.0 Hearing Aid Related; IHS/1.0; Kansas DHE, LTS-S0035/1.0; NZAS/1.0
Course Details

View this course for FREE. Need CEUs? Join our CEU Total Access Program to get unlimited CEUs.

Only $99/yr

Learn More

Rayovac Hearing Aid Batteries – Important Things to Know to Ensure Patient Satisfaction [Recorded Webinar Course]

Presenters

Ann Rule, MBAKevin Kouba, BBA, MBA
Course: #23184
CEUs/Hours Offered: AAA/0.1 Intermediate; ACAud/1.0; AHIP/1.0; BAA/1.0; CAA/1.0; Calif. HADB/1.0 Hearing Aid Related; IHS/1.0; Kansas DHE, LTS-S0035/1.0; NZAS/1.0; SAC/1.0
Course Details

View this course for FREE. Need CEUs? Join our CEU Total Access Program to get unlimited CEUs.

Only $99/yr

Learn More