When I was searching for new rechargeable batteries for my son’s Cochlear Implant (CI) a few months ago, I found out there are several options available with different battery lifetimes so I decided to research it further and write a helpful post on how long do Cochlear Implant batteries last.
An average Cochlear Implant rechargeable battery lasts up to 19 hours (for small batteries) and up to 40 hours for bigger batteries per charge. Disposable batteries have a battery life of at least 48 hours. The lifespan of a rechargeable battery is somewhere around 365 to 500 cycles. The battery life is mostly determined by its capacity, brand, usage, and its mapping.
Most people want to go as long as possible with their batteries without having to worry about recharging or replacing them. This is especially important for young kids who go to school. You don’t want their batteries to run out when they need them the most. There is a big variety in the battery life of CI batteries and the claims of manufacturers are not always accurate. Many factors play a role in the lifetime of a battery but the most important ones are the capacity of the battery and the brand of processor.
I listed the options of batteries and brands below:
|Cochlear Nucleus 7|
|Cochlear Nucleus 6|
|Cochlear Nucleus 5|
|Advanced Bionics Naida CI|
|Advanced Bionics Neptune|
|Advanced Bionics Harmony|
|Advanced Bionics Auria|
|MED-EL Opus 2|
|MED-EL Rondo 2|
* There is a AAA PowerPak available for some Advanced Bionics Cochlear Implants that contains 3 AAA rechargeable or disposable batteries. This pack can be worn off the ear and lasts up to 183 hours.
Factors that play a role in the battery life of your Cochlear Implant
- How thick is the skin that covers your implant?
- Type and size (capacity) of the battery. Most processor brands offer 2 sizes of rechargeable batteries (regular and compact) and a disposable option.
- Do you use streaming features often? Just like your phone, streaming can drain your batteries.
- The mapping of your CI (programming the input to the electrodes on the array) determines the amount of power that is needed to adjust the perfect loudness level.
How long does it take to charge a cochlear implant battery?
When a battery is completely empty, it takes approximately four hours to recharge completely. It is always wise to recharge the battery fully before using it to get the best out of it. The lifespan of a rechargeable battery is somewhere around 365 to 500 normal cycles. So if you charge your battery every night, you need to change them at least once a year and a half.
Why do Cochlear Implants need so much power?
To answer this question, it is important to understand how a CI works:
The cochlear implant is a microelectronic prosthetic device that restores some auditory function to persons with the greatest levels of hearing loss (profoundly or severely hearing impaired). It contains electrodes that are surgically implanted into the cochlea of the inner ear. This electrical stimulation generates sound sensations in the brain, bypassing the function of the damaged auditory nerve.
Cochlear implantation does not restore “normal” hearing. The sound sensations heard by cochlear implant users are artificial and often referred to as robotic.
In addition, the sound received by cochlear implant users is not filtered in the same manner as the human ear. Even with the latest generation devices, cochlear implant users often have difficulty discerning speech from background noise.
The benefits of implantation vary widely. How well a user performs depends on a number of factors, especially the length of time they were without hearing prior to implantation. Many users are able to talk on the telephone and listen to music. Others may only be able to comprehend speech in certain situations or hear environmental sounds.
However, in the vast majority of cases, the cochlear implant is a life-altering and miraculous technology. It enables children with little or no hearing to attend mainstream schools and greatly enhances the educational and employment opportunities available to all users.
How it works
- Sounds are picked up by the small, directional microphone located in the headset at the ear.
- A thin cord carries the sound from the microphone to the speech processor.
- The speech processor processes the sound into electrical signals.
- The signals are sent from the processor to the transmitting coil.
- The coil sends the signals to the part that is implanted into the head.
- The ci delivers the signal to the electrodes that are inserted into the cochlea.
- The electrodes stimulate the auditory nerve fibers inside the cochlea.
- The information is interpreted by the brain and perceived as sound.
With this much going on in the CI it is understandable that it needs a powerful battery to function properly.
Tips to extend your Cochlear Implant battery life
- Always use the included wall adapter and cable.
- Charge the battery for 4 hours before its first use.
- Disconnect the rechargeable battery when not in use.
Disposable CI batteries
Using disposable batteries for your Cochlear Implant is always more expensive than using rechargeable batteries. If you still choose to go this route or if your CI doesn’t support rechargeable ones, you can check our article on the cheapest batteries and how to extend their life.