Monitor when hearing aids are charging

So, I have an unusual situation that I am hoping some of you in this community can help me figure out. My 94 year old mother in law has hearing aids and her vision isn’t great. She is having an issue of not placing her hearing aids in the charger correctly every night. There is a little green light on the charger that lights up when the hearing aids are placed in the charger correctly. However, she can’t see that little green light. So, quite often, her hearing aids aren’t charged and she basically can’t hear.

I was thinking I should be able to automate this someway in that maybe a bright light goes off if the hearing aids are placed in the charger correctly. I know some plug modules do monitor the amount of electricity flowing through them and maybe when the hearing aids are put in correctly, the level of electricity flowing through them would go up, triggering a bright lamp to go off.

Anyways, any help or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Cliff

There are several different ways of approaching this. Your idea of monitoring the current draw is certainly one possibility. You may also be able to detect the light. You might even be able to use a tiny pressure pad underneath the charger to detect when the hearing aids are present, although that might not be as good because if they weren’t placed exactly right, they would still have the same weight. Anyway, several different ways. (You could also point a camera at the charger so that you could check remotely to see if they were charging.)

First, though, we do need to ask a couple of questions because it will affect which solutions are possible.

  1. what country is your mother-in-law in?

  2. does she have a SmartThings/aeotec hub, and if so, which model?

  3. what is the brand and model of the charger?

  4. what is the brand and model of the hearing aids?

  5. what type of phone does she have, iOS, Samsung Galaxy, other Android, or other?

Once we know the answers to those questions, we can better address some possible solutions. :sunglasses:

Thanks for the reply and helping me out with this issue. To answer some of your questions:

  1. She is in the US

  2. Aeotec SmartThings hub

3 & 4. No sure of the brand of hearing aids and charger

  1. She does not have a cell phone

She’s 94 years old and still lives by herself in her own home. She does put her hearing aids into the charger. But, sometimes she just doesn’t put them in correctly. And the little green light to show they are in correctly is so small, she can’t see it.

Thanks again

1 Like

It would really help to know the model of the hearing aids as some have Bluetooth communication, which gives you some additional options, although if she doesn’t have a smart phone that may not matter either. Also, with the model number, we could figure out the current draw. One of the issues with hearing aids is that they are so small that they may not reach a threshold trigger for many rules engines. :thinking:

Thanks for the reply. I’ll get the make and model of the hearing aids the next I am over there. Should be today or tomorrow. I believe they do have Bluetooth. Wondering if there was some kind of Bluetooth interface that communicate with the hearing aids and send some kind of message through SmartThings.

Could be, but it can’t go directly to the SmartThings hub. You’d need to get an inexpensive android Wi-Fi phone at the very least to receive the Bluetooth messages. But that could open up some options, definitely.

Another question, how is the charger powered? does it plug straight into the outlet or is it a USB charger? If USB, something like a Zooz double plug with power monitoring on the USB might give you better visibility of low power charging, compared to monitoring the 120V plug. (I have a couple of different Zooz products that monitor USB power draw but I’ve never used it for automations so I don’t know how accurate it is).

2 Likes

Does the double plug monitor energy through it? Is this something the can be monitored through the SmartThings hub?

Yes, but it turns out the double plug (ZEN25) has been discontinued. If you can get your hands on one, here’s what it looks like in ST using their custom driver:


(Identical stats for the right outlet go here)

One available on eBay

ZEN25 product page for reference:
https://www.support.getzooz.com/kb/article/266-zen25-double-plug-specs/

The ZEN20 power strip also has USB outlets, but is more expensive and currently sold out pending release of the updated 800LR version.

1 Like

Here’s the option for including USB in a routine - you just get charging/not charging

The main outlets are much more versatile, you can trigger using voltage, current, power or cumulative energy consumption.

2 Likes