ROCHESTER, Minn. – An 8th grade student may have made a discovery that could save people who wear hearing aids significant money.
Ethan Manuell is an audiology patient at Olmsted County Medical Center and wears a hearing aid in his left ear. He began a study, with the help of his audiologist, Mary Meier Au. D, looking into the effect wait time has on hearing aid batteries, which is the time between activating the battery and placing the battery in the hearing aid.
To activate a hearing aid battery, users need to remove a sticker on the battery which allows oxygen to mix with zinc-oxide inside the battery. Manuell did tests to see if waiting a little longer before putting the battery into the device would make a difference. What he found was if users wait 5 minutes after pulling off the sticker, the battery will last 2-3 days longer, which is significant considering batteries usually last anywhere from 2-7 days depending on the model.
“The more energized zinc you have, the longer it lasts. So this discovery I made, if you wait five minutes, it improves the battery life by 80%,” explains Manuell.
Ethan has won several awards and received recognition for his “5 minute rule” discovery, including earning a US Naval Science Award.