What if you never had to change the battery in your hearing device? What if you could simply plug it in alongside your phone at night and trust that it would be ready to go the next day? What if your hearing device could recharge itself using the energy you generate while chewing, or by drawing power from sunlight?

These are just some of the near-future possibilities described by our own Dr. Christopher Schweitzer, Ph.D., in a recently published article for The Hearing Review.

Comparing imminent advances in hearing aid battery technology to those we’ve seen over the past few decades in mobile phones and handheld computing devices, Dr. Schweitzer believes we are approaching an era where the annoyance of having to replace hearing aid batteries is a thing of the past. As an example, he highlights a new device from IMHearing that can be recharged using a micro-USB connector. Users never need to open a tiny battery cover or pry out a miniature battery, and charging the device is as easy as charging the average smartphone.

In the future, we may not even have to plug in the devices. Dr. Schweitzer also notes that researchers are working on hearing devices that can be recharged wirelessly, through the skin, as well as devices that draw energy from the natural movements of the facial muscles. There are even materials in development that use biomimicry to act like plant cells, converting sunlight into electrical energy. These devices may be a little ways off, but they demonstrate the industry’s ultimate goal: to create a hearing aid so small and unobtrusive that the wearer never has to touch, interact with, or even think about the technology that enhances their hearing.

Read Dr. Schweitzer’s full article in The Hearing Review: Batteries in Your House Plant?