It’s not very clear how to recycle Cochlear sound processor technology

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I want to recycle Cochlear sound processor technology as well as accessories and Cochlear doesn’t lay out how to do that. And that’s bad.

A Cochlear sound processor isn’t like a standard hearing aid. It’s not going to work for just anyone if you change the ear mold.  No, it’s advanced technology jammed into a hearing aid sized device that works externally with a Cochlear implant that’s been surgically installed (or an Auditory Brainstem Implant, which this author has). Older models were driven by wallet-sized sound processors attached by wire to an over-the-ear microphone. A later model still had corded devices but most of the technology was jammed into a behind-the-ear piece (they didn’t call it the “Freedom” for nothing).

Cochlear makes a big deal about tech advancement and will render older versions obsolete and stop making them or replacing them. What they won’t do is tell you how to do what’s best for the environment and inform you about recycling options for the sound processor technology or rechargeable battery unitsr.

Oh, they do offer trade-in deals if you’re upgrading processors. As long as you pay in cash, you can get 10% off your new sound processor unit when you trade-in your old one… At least that was what was offered to me when I had to do an upgrade last year. I didn’t have $10,000+ laying around for a Nucleus 6 sound processor (and, let’s be honest, who has $10k easily in reach? Economics of the current show fewer), I needed insurance help to pay the costs. Heck, that factor should be accepted and adhered to from the start by Cochlear – their devices amount to medical assistance and that playing up cash over insurance seems to be an attempted work-around. The trade-in option should be there for any-and-all. Not to save money but to deal with units no longer able to be used.

I still have a Spectra-22 processor tucked away in my closet. The device still turns on but it isn’t programmed anymore. I can easily take wires for the device to places like Best Buy, Staples and drop them in a wire recycling bin. The unit utilized a single AA battery and rechargeable or disposable batteries like that are easy to deal with as well. Things like the body-worn processor, over-the-ear microphone and telecoil (which is a major cog to make the processor and implanted device communicate with each other) are not technology basics, though and how to recycle those pieces is an enigma.

I also own a Nucleus Freedom sound processor. That thing put me through hell starting on August 4th, 2017 when it broke. The technology jammed in the over-the-ear piece and telecoil need to be dealt with, as does behind-the-ear clips for both disposable and rechargeable batteries. The latter is also a quandary as it isn’t clear about the rechargeable battery packs and if they need a special recycling or can be grouped with cell phone or laptop computer batteries that are being recycled.

Perhaps deep search engine research will disclose what to do and where to go for disposing of obsolete and broken Cochlear sound processor technology but it’s disappointing for Cochlear not o be responsible and direct with this on their own site.

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