One of the best benefits of my sons newer cochlear implant processor (he received several years ago) was that it uses a AAA battery to power it. No longer did we have to depend on a proprietary battery and charger. We could pick up either 1000 milliamp hours (mAh), Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) rechargeable, or alkaline batteries at any store and it would power the processor. Although using a rechargeable battery was more expensive, it made more economic sense to use on a daily basis than burning through alkaline batteries.
Rechargeable batteries should last up to 1000 charges. We don’t really keep track of how many times we charge our AAA batteries, but we went from replacing batteries every few months to maybe once a year… if not longer.
We extend the life of our rechargeable batteries by investing in a smart charger.
A smart charger is designed to protect and prevent from over-charging your batteries. If your batteries feel very warm or hot when pulling them out of the charger, it’s likely you’re not using a smart charger and over-charging and shortening their life span.
The smart charger we purchased allows us to charge, discharge, refresh, and test the batteries. The batteries definitely don’t feel warm after charging. In addition to extending the life of the batteries, we found that when a battery tests below 700 mAh on our smart charger, it will only power our son’s processor for a short length of time… which is less than a day, randomly shutting off the processor before signaling a low battery. In general we refresh our batteries with the smart charger, which is a process of discharging and recharging several times. We do this especially if the battery tests below 800 mAh. This assures that our son’s processor will be powered throughout the day. If we can't refresh the batteries back to 900 to 1000 mAh, we will no longer use them in the cochlear implant processor.
Also, not all rechargeable batteries are the same. Do a little bit of homework before you buy. We found some batteries lasted longer than others. Also, we found it best to charge a new NiMH rechargeable battery before using it. These batteries will self-discharge, so who knows how long they have sat in some warehouse or on a store shelf. There are many resources on the internet; Michael Bluejay (http://michaelbluejay.com/batteries/) put together a battery guide on his blog that you may find helpful.
If you have battery or charger suggestions, please share your comments. Lastly, remember to recycle old batteries.
#cochlearimplant #ciwear #CIbattery