Troubleshooting Cochlear Implant , Processor Will Not Turn On
Cochlear Implant battery terminal
Cleaning cochlear implants

Troubleshooting Cochlear Implant | Processor Will Not Turn On

By Eric Sherman


Have you ever placed a fully charged battery into your cochlear implant processor only to find out it doesn’t power up?


In a blog story, AAA Batteries For Cochlear Implant Processors, I wrote about how rechargeable batteries can lose their capability to store a charge above 750 milliamps (mAh). When this happens the processor tends to turn on and then shut down or may not power on at all. Well there may be another issue with the battery that can fool you into thinking your processor has gone bad.


Over time, the processor’s battery terminals can become dirty. When this happens, the dirt forms a barrier between the battery and the processor’s battery terminals preventing your processor from turning on.


This happened to my son’s processor. After a weekend of totally refreshing the rechargeable batteries, one of his processors didn’t power on. I knew the batteries were good because they all tested above 900 mAh and they worked in the other processor. Plus, my son had recently seen his audiologist for a mapping session and all his equipment checked out. I thought I was going to have to buy a new processor because his is out of warranty.


My son is bilaterally implanted and wears Advanced Bionics Neptune processors on a daily basis. The Neptune processors are very durable, so it is hard to imagine that it would die from everyday use.


When examining the processor, I noticed what looked like a scuff mark on the brass battery terminal. I grabbed a Q-tip and 91% isopropyl alcohol and cleaned the terminals in the processor. The scuff mark came right off. After making sure everything looked clean, I popped in a fully charged battery and the processor powered right up and has been working ever since.


Practicing good maintenance on your hearing devices will help them last and stay in good working order. Make sure you follow your manufacturer’s instructions on maintenance and troubleshoot before you start looking at replacing your device. It might just save you time and a lot of money.


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