Patent Number: 6,310,556

Title: Apparatus and method for detecting a low-battery power condition and generating a user perceptible warning

Abstract: A system for detecting a low battery power condition and providing an audible warning of such a condition to a user of an electronic device such as a hearing aid is disclosed. In one embodiment, the battery output voltage is monitored and compared to a first threshold voltage at specified sampling intervals. When a battery output voltage measurement below the first threshold voltage is detected, this measurement is verified by a rule specifying that a low battery condition is not deemed to exist unless a predetermined percentage of voltage measurements within a predetermined time interval indicate that the battery output voltage is below the first threshold voltage. If the low battery condition is verified, an audible warning is generated, which is repeated at specified warning intervals. This audible warning affords an opportunity to the user for replacing the batteries in the device before loss of operation or degraded sound quality are experienced. Even after generation of the first warning signal, the electronic device continues to function essentially normally for some time. Once the electronic device enters a low battery power condition state, the audible warnings are repeated at specified warning intervals, and the battery output voltage is monitored and compared to a second threshold voltage at specified sampling intervals. If the preliminary warnings are unheeded by the user and the battery output voltage drops below the second threshold voltage, the system generates a final warning and shuts down the output stage of the electronic device. However, until this final warning is generated, the hearing aid device continues to function essentially normally, without at any instant compromising of the effective functioning of the device.

Inventors: Green; Robert Sherman (Sandy, UT), Nise; Benjamin Edward (Plano, TX)

Assignee: Sonic Innovations, Inc.

International Classification: G08B 21/20 (20060101); G08B 21/00 (20060101); G08B 021/00 ()

Expiration Date: 10/30/2018