I am thrilled to announce the launch of Akoio’s new, patented hearing aid battery dispenser! The idea for a hearing aid battery dispenser germinated during my graduate school years at Pratt Institute. I have used hearing aids since I was 6 years old, and I was discouraged by the lack of innovation in hearing products, especially the batteries I had to carry with me at all times.
Understanding the Need for a Hearing Aid Battery Dispenser
For my friends who are unfamiliar with hearing aid batteries, I will provide a bit of background. Those buggers are small! As a person who is over six feet tall with hands and feet sized to match, it is difficult to handle these tiny batteries. Adding to the challenge, hearing aid batteries are powered with zinc air technology. That means the battery “powers up” or becomes activated when the chemicals inside the battery mix with oxygen from the air. Therefore, the batteries have tiny air holes that are covered by a very sticky tab, which you peel off when you are ready to use the battery. Again….big hands, tiny tabs to grip…not ideal. Next, there is the question of portability (or lack thereof). Hearing aid users rely on zinc air batteries to hear, and therefore we must carry fresh batteries with us everywhere we go.
Traditional hearing aid batteries brands come in flimsy packages that are prone to breaking and spilling batteries all over. (The story about the time my batteries spilled everywhere while going through TSA security at the airport is a story for another day. Let’s just say crawling under the conveyor belt was quite an adventure.) Go ahead, check out the price of hearing aid batteries at the drugstore. You’ll see they cost over $1.00 each. So, with every lost battery we hearing aid users silently hear the “cha-ching” of the cash register. The next dilemma is what to do with used batteries. There are many occasions when there is no trash can or recycling bin nearby to dispose of a spent battery. And, finally, let’s talk Design. Those old hearing aid battery packages were so uncool for my twenty-something, design-student self. I knew there had to be a better way.
Advocating for Accessibility
Encouraged by teachers and peers at Pratt, I began researching and creating initial concepts for a lifestyle battery device to make it easy for people to power their hearing aids. After graduation I was grateful for the opportunity to work with Sam Farber, founder of OXO. Sam created the Good Grip Kitchen products. As his protégé, I learned about universal design. Inspired by Sam’s work, I adopted the same philosophy and commitment to making status quo products better and more accessible. All the while, the hearing aid battery dispenser idea was brewing.
In my role as leader of Accessibility Initiatives at Apple, Inc, I spoke with so many other people with hearing loss who were just as frustrated with hearing aid batteries as me.
So, I formed Akoio and assembled an incredible team of design and manufacturing experts to help me reimagine the hearing aid user experience. We set out to make hearing aid use more efficient, accessible, and stylish. I believe we have accomplished our goal to make it simple and easy for people of all ages to manage hearing aid batteries and to carry them everywhere you go – all in a stylish dispenser. (See the hearing aid battery dispenser page for all the details.)
VARTA Battery Partnership
Of course, a hearing aid battery dispenser must start with the best hearing aid batteries. Safety and reliability were paramount concerns from the start. I am incredibly proud of the partnership we have with our battery supplier, VARTA. Widely considered the world leader in hearing aid battery technology, VARTA is a German company that has been an industry leader for over a hundred years. (Fun Fact: VARTA batteries powered Neil Armstrong’s camera when he became the first person to ever walk on the moon.) With the Akoio hearing aid battery dispenser, our customers will receive long-lasting, rust-proof batteries and ultimate quality assurance. Because our dispenser is patented, Akoio stores batteries securely like no other brand can. This secure storage helps ensure you don’t lose any batteries, as well as prevents potential safety hazards that can occur when batteries are loose.
Now Available on Amazon
Calling all my friends who use hearing aids, please buy Akoio on Amazon! We’d also love it if you would leave a product review to share your experience with the dispenser.
Adopting the Akoio Conquer Life™ mindset encourages us to respond to obstacles with a positive attitude and to choose our reaction to life circumstances. My hope is that the Akoio hearing aid dispenser will enable everyone with hearing loss to spend less time worrying about hearing aid batteries and more time doing the things they love. I hope the Akoio dispenser transforms the experience of changing your hearing aid batteries from frustrating to rewarding.
The name Akoio comes from the Greek and Tagalog languages, and combined has the dual meaning of “I hear” or “I listen.” The name was chosen to symbolize the approach we take to design products and services for people with hearing loss. Today, I am moved by how well it describes the Akoio team behind the dispenser. This is a team of individuals who both hears and truly listens. They passionately support better hearing health because they recognize its power to enhance mental and physical health. Thank you to this team and to the entire Akoio community for supporting accessibility everywhere…especially in hearing aid batteries.