AAA Batteries for Cochlear Implant Processors
by Eric Sherman
Have you ever put a fully charged AAA battery into your AB Neptune processor and had it blink as if it had full power and then shortly after shut down? When we found ourselves in a similar situation, we would replace the battery with another fully recharged battery only to have the same thing happen. Right away you think, “oh no, my processor is bad,” and then next thing you know, you are on the phone with customer service looking at replacing your device.
The beauty about the AB Neptune Processor is that it’s waterproof and very durable. People participate in all kinds of extreme activities with their Neptune Processors and they continue to work. Last year, we shared a story about a father who found his child’s Neptune at the bottom of the ocean (after three days) and the processor still worked. For many recipients and their families, it’s disconcerting to see their processor shut down unexplainably. Well, it may not be a processor problem at all.
Our son has been wearing the Neptune Processors every day since he received them in 2012. We have found that the processors will shut down if the battery drops below 750 milliamps (mAh). Recently, our son’s processors were shutting down. We identified the batteries and did a refresh cycle in our smart charger. After being refreshed, the batteries could barely make it to 500 mAh and the result was the processor would turn on, beep once and then shut off.
Most rechargeable nickel–metal hydride (NiMH) batteries that are available in stores are 850 mAh and come in packs of 2 or 4. If you are buying rechargeable batteries that are not 1000 mAh and you’re not using a smart charger (see blog story “Making Your Rechargeable Batteries Last Longer For Your Cochlear Implant”) you may be misleading yourself into thinking your processor is bad.
We buy our 1000 mAh NiMH batteries online and have found that these brand batteries last at least a year or longer if refreshing and charging them with a smart charger. The ones we recommend are Powerex, Sanyo, Panasonic or FDK.
If your processor is shutting down or doesn’t seem to power up when you put in a fully charged battery, do this simple test:
Take a brand new alkaline Energizer battery, place it in your processor and see if it powers up and works for the day.
If it does, you have a rechargeable battery problem not a processor issue. Often people will replace a bad battery with another bad battery unknowingly and think it is a processor issue.
Lastly, try refreshing new batteries as it will help them properly hold a charge. You can get over 1,000 uses out of these batteries if you take care of them in the right way.
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