The United States FDA has approved a telehealth option to program cochlear implants remotely. This means that recipients who live in remote areas, or are unable to travel to their cochlear implant clinic, may be able to conduct an audiologist visit from home.
Read the FDA announcement here.
This is just the FDA approval. Availability depends on Cochlear – stay tuned!
By Deb McClendon Deitz
The Naída Link CROS is a wireless behind-the-ear microphone you can pair with your Advanced Bionics Naída Q90 or Q70 sound processor. You wear the CROS in a similar way to how you would wear a very small behind-the-ear hearing aid. You wear it on the non-CI ear. It comes with a small earhook, and also a plastic tube that that can anchor the CROS in the ear canal if desired.
After trying the plastic tubing to secure the CROS, I decided it would be more comfortable to wear it with a small piece of double-sided toupee tape. I am not used to having anything that small behind my ear and could see myself knocking it off easily. I am also not used to having anything in my ear canal. The toupee tape can be purchased on Amazon or at a local beauty supply store. Just cut a small piece, put it on the CROS on the side you want to stick to your skin.
The CROS is also backwards compatible with the previous generation processor, the Naída Q70. It uses a single size 13 disposable hearing aid battery. The battery lasts about 4 days for me on average. Advanced Bionics recommends PowerOne size 13 batteries, and estimates 3-5 days of life. My 4-day battery life is right on target!
Batteries are available in local pharmacies as well as on line. The Naída Link CROS does not beep when the battery dies. At first, I didn’t necessarily notice when the battery died. After a couple of weeks, I would notice that something was missing and then discover that the CROS battery needed to be replaced.
The CROS doesn’t have a T-mic, but it does have two mics that work wirelessly to complement your programs on the CI side. Everything you do on the CI side is duplicated on the CROS side. It’s automatic and very seamless. You power it on and off by opening and closing the battery case. There aren’t any buttons to press, so it is simple and easy to use. Once you close the battery case, the power is on. When you put it on your ear, it automatically pairs to your cochlear implant processor. There is a mute button you can press that will turn off the CROS.
Who can use it?
- Current single-sided AB Naída CI Q90 or Q70 users with no benefit from hearing in the opposite ear
- Cochlear implant candidates with no benefit from hearing aids in either ear, who will receive only one implant
The audiologist pairs the Naída Link CROS to your cochlear implant processor. All you need to do is install a size 13 battery and put it on your ear. Everything is controlled by the Naída CI Q90 or Q70 processor. Change programs or volume with the buttons on the processor, the AB MyPilot, or the ComPilot, and the Naída Link CROS follows in lock step.
The UltraZoom program on my Naída CI Q90 works beautifully with the CROS! It’s super nice in restaurants and loud places knowing that I can hear from both sides and am zoomed in to the max to the person in front of me. I feel more relaxed and no longer need to sit and position myself with my better ear facing people talking. I can pick up the conversation on both sides equally!
StereoZoom is another program that uses sound from both devices to make a super-tight focus directly in front of you. This is probably best for extremely noisy situations, even noisier UltraZoom can handle. I don’t have StereoZoom as one of my options, but I will be sure to ask the audiologist for it next time!
Because the Naída Link CROS always streams sound from one side to the other, there are no separate DuoPhone or ZoomControl programs.
Listening to music with the CROS is interesting for sure! It’s not quite “bilateral” or stereo, but it’s nice to feel that the music is coming from all directions rather than just one side. Music coming in from all sides is more satisfying in a surround sound type of way.
I am very fortunate to have great music with my CI, so that is carrying over to the right ear now with the CROS.
The CROS is SUPER lightweight! I have to remember to remove it when I take off my CI. I cannot feel it on my right ear at all.
I first tried the CROS in the audiologist’s office. An Advanced Bionics Clinical Specialist and one of the AB research audiologists were spending the day at my clinic. My audiologist sat on my non-CI side first. We did a little experiment with my hearing using only the CI on my left side. Naturally as expected, given the “head shadow effect,” her voice came in softer when she was on my right. I could understand her, but I wanted to turn my head to hear her better.
Then she put the CROS on me, sat in the same chair, and started talking. I was stunned! She came in loud and clear, as well as if she had been sitting on my CI side.
Next, I was tested in noise. The audiologist played speech babble over speakers in the room. She started talking again on the CROS side and I was able to carry on a normal conversation without looking at her or leaning over to get closer.
The AB Clinical Specialist asked if it seemed strange to hear on the right side but have it processed by the left CI. I had to think about it, and it didn’t seem at all strange. I felt balanced and I also felt I was hearing on both sides as I should be hearing. There is less stress hearing on both sides. I felt more relaxed with two ears picking up sounds!
My cochlear implant situation is a little different than most people who may be interested in the CROS. I do have a working CI on the right side. However, due to damage in my cochlea from a 1985 CI, I am missing some important speech frequencies. The right side only gives me bass sounds. That’s all great for music, but not for everyday listening.
Listening to music with the CROS is interesting. Music sounds the same – it is, after all, being controlled by my usual CI programs. I have very very good music with my left CI and am super grateful to Advanced Bionics for giving me the extra pitches that bring out the melodies and harmonies. With the CROS, I was picking up the SAME good music I have on both sides. It was double the pleasure for sure!
I do have the option of wearing both of my cochlear implant processors when listening to music, and that does have an additive bass effect. However, the binaural CROS option gives me a nice sound quality, so I am going to have to listen to a lot more music before I can decide which I prefer.
In listening around the house and at a restaurant, it is so easy to hear sounds from both sides. It’s definitely more relaxing, less work, and much more natural when things come from both sides.
I don’t know if insurance will pay for the CROS – it’s supposed to be an option for new AB users in the processor kit. Each clinic is going to set their own price for the CROS. My price will be different than yours.
Bilateral cochlear implants are probably a better solution if that is an option. If you have a CI on only one side, or if you are like me and one of your bilateral implants doesn’t do particularly well, you may want to consider a Naída Link CROS!
About the author
I have been an AB CI user for over 15 years. I lost my hearing at age 17, when I just woke up deaf one morning! This was 1971 and there were no CI’s back then. I lived my life in silence with lipreading. In 1985 I had an experimental CI put in my right ear. Only 16 of them were ever implanted. Mine failed after about 6 months. It was an interesting experience, but they had nothing to replace it with, so I spent another 14 years in silence after having to stop wearing it.
In 2002 I decided to give CI’s another shot. After a huge amount of research, I chose Advanced Bionics, and it’s been the best decision I could have made. I was actually able to talk on the phone again two weeks after activation!
It’s been an amazing 15 years being able to hear again. I am grateful to AB for always giving me new programs, new processors and innovative ideas to improve my life. The CROS is going to make a quality of life difference for me. I am grateful!
MED-EL Announces RONDO 2: A True Revolution in Cochlear Implants
RONDO 2 is the first cochlear implant audio processor that can be charged wirelessly. This ground-breaking new design takes away the need for disposable batteries, making RONDO 2 the easiest-to-use audio processor ever made.
September 15, 2017 — (Innsbruck, Austria) — MED-EL, leading provider of hearing loss solutions, has launched the first cochlear implant audio processor with wireless charging.
Powering up RONDO 2 couldn’t be easier. Users simply have to place it on the charging pad and it will charge automatically. Each 4 hour charge gives an exceptional 18 hours of battery life—in other words, a full day of hearing from one overnight charge.
This simple design means that for the first time, cochlear implant users will not have to deal with the hassles of changing batteries or adjusting their processor. They can just put on RONDO 2 each morning, and then forget about it for the rest of the day.
“We’re so used to charging our mobile devices at home overnight,” says Gregor Dittrich, Director of Product Management at MED-EL. “You charge your phone and tablet in this way, so why not your audio processor? It’s the next logical step for cochlear implants and we’re so excited to be pioneering the way forward”.
RONDO 2’s single-unit design is sleeker and more streamlined than ever before. It is perfect to wear with glasses or hide completely under hair. With the interchangeable Design Covers, users can also make RONDO 2 blend in with their natural hair colour, or match their own unique style.
And of course, with waterproof covers, and Bluetooth accessories for easy connectivity with phones—RONDO 2 is ideal for a busy, modern lifestyle.
RONDO 2 will be available from the beginning of 2018, depending on country. Visit rondo2.medel.com for more information.
In honor of National Grandparent’s Day on September 10, MED-EL USA released new survey results today that indicate a growing acceptance of conversations surrounding hearing loss. The survey also found that family members and major life events would play a key role in motivating people with hearing loss or difficulty hearing to have their hearing checked. Survey highlights include:
- Nearly half of Americans – 46% – know someone with hearing loss or difficulty hearing, and 64% have had a conversation with that person about it
- 83% of adults said that they would feel comfortable talking with someone they knew if they thought they may be experiencing hearing loss or difficulty hearing, signaling a potential shift in overcoming stigma that has traditionally surrounded hearing loss
- 79% of adults 65 and over said that if a family member or loved one approached them about having their hearing checked because they were experiencing hearing loss or difficulty hearing it would motivate them to do so
- 66% of Americans said that a major life event (e.g., marriage, birth of a child/grandchild, health scare) would motivate them to get their hearing checked if they were experiencing hearing loss or difficulty hearing
Advanced Bionics extends their portfolio of solutions for cochlear implant users with the introduction of the Naída Link CROS Solution.
If you have one cochlear implant, and no hearing in the opposite ear, the Naída Link CROS can transmit sound wirelessly from your ‘bad’ side to the cochlear implant!
Full press release from Advanced Bionics:
The Naída Link CROS Solution
Advanced Bionics extends their portfolio of solutions for cochlear implant users with the introduction of the Naída Link CROS Solution.
— Advanced Bionics extends their portfolio of solutions for cochlear implant users with the introduction of the Naída Link CROS Solution—
VALENCIA, Calif., July 26, 2017 – Today, Advanced Bionics (AB) and Phonak announced an industry first for cochlear implant users. The Phonak Naída™ Link CROS, a wireless audio transmitter, was introduced to provide full access to sounds for unilateral cochlear implant candidates with no hearing in their opposite ear. Approximately 30%– 45% of cochlear implant recipients¹ are single-sided listeners who are at a significant disadvantage when positioned with their “hearing ear” away from the speaker, as might happen in automobiles or at meetings or group dinners. A second cochlear implant would be beneficial but access may be limited due to medical indications or cost. The Naida Link CROS is a tiny, ear-level device that picks up signals presented to the “non-hearing” ear and instantaneously transmits them to the cochlear implant system on the “hearing ear.” A recent study demonstrated that the Naída Link CROS provided immediate improvement in speech understanding in quiet and noise and a better overall hearing experience².
The Naida Link CROS device extends the Naida family of hearing solutions from AB and Phonak for severe-to-profound individuals. Utilizing the proprietary Binaural VoiceStream Technology™, an automatic wireless network is established between the Naida CI sound processor and a Naida Link CROS transmitter, Naida Link hearing aid or second Naida CI sound processor. This wireless network enables the sharing of control signals, and full-bandwidth audio streaming so that all cochlear implant recipients can benefit from hearing from both ears. The Naida Link CROS allows unilateral cochlear implant recipients to hear from wherever they want and walk into any listening situation with more confidence. It is so discreet and easy to use that they can just switch it on to enjoy hearing from both sides and wear it without being noticed.
“We are excited to bring CROS technology to cochlear implant users. This technology has been life-changing for individuals with single-sided deafness. We expect the same benefits for those individuals who hear from a single cochlear implant,” said Stefan Launer, Vice President of Science & Technology, Group Research & Development. Tony Spahr, Director of Audiology and Product Management at Advanced Bionics, says “I’m genuinely excited about the difference this will make. Listening with one ear presents great challenges for communication. For individuals relying on a single cochlear implant, the Naída Link CROS is the best way to gain complete access to the sounds of the world.”
The Phonak Naída Link CROS is available in the United States and Canada starting today and in Europe starting this summer.
About Advanced Bionics
Advanced Bionics is a global leader in developing hearing solutions for individuals with severe-to-profound hearing loss who no longer benefit from hearing aids. Founded in 1993 and a subsidiary of the Sonova group since 2009, AB develops cutting-edge cochlear implant technology that allows recipients to hear their best.
AB offers the most sophisticated cochlear implant system on the market, the HiResolution™ Bionic Ear System, with five times more sound resolution than its competitors. It’s designed to help recipients hear in noisy settings and enjoy the full dimensions of music and tonal languages.
With sales in over 50 countries and a proven track record for developing high-performing, state-of-the-art products, AB’s talented group of technologists and professionals from all over the world are driven to succeed, work with integrity and stay firmly committed to quality.
In 2017, Phonak, a member of the Sonova Group, proudly celebrates its 70th anniversary. Headquartered near Zurich, Switzerland, Phonak was born in 1947 out of a passion for taking on the most difficult hearing challenges. Seventy years later, this passion remains. As the industry’s leading provider, we offer the broadest portfolio of life-changing hearing solutions. From pediatric to profound hearing loss, we remain committed to creating hearing solutions that change people’s lives to thrive socially and emotionally. We believe in creating a world where ‘Life is on’ for everyone.
- Siburt, H., & Holmes, A. (2015). Bimodal Programming: A Survey of Current Clinical Practice. American Journal of Audiology,24(2), 243-9
- Mosnier, Use of a Contralateral Routing of Signals (CROS) System in Bilaterally Deaf Recipients with Unilateral Cochlear Implant, presented at the 13th European Symposium on Paediatric Cochlear Implantation, Lisbon, May 25th 2017
Cochlear introduces the Nucleus 7 sound processor today! Compatible with Nucleus CI24RE, CI500 and Profile Series Implants, key features include:
- The N7 is the lightest sound processor on the market.
- Can stream sound directly from compatible Apple devices. Bimodal users can stream sound directly from a compatible iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to the Nucleus 7 in one ear and a compatible ReSound hearing aid in the other ear.
- Control, monitor and customize hearing on an iPhone or iPod touch through the Nucleus® Smart App available to download for free from the App Store®
The Nucleus 7 is expected to be available in the US in September 2017 for new candidates. In October 2017 the processor will be available as an upgrade for current recipients in the US and Canada. There is no information yet about availability in other regions, or on compatibility with Nucleus 22 series implants.
For more information, read the press release here.
Get a sneak preview of the Cochlear Nucleus 7 processor! Stay tuned here for breaking news on the N7 from Cochlear.
Information distilled by Bob MacPherson from an interview with Jan Janssen, Senior Vice President Research and Development, Cochlear Limited on MedicalResearch.com, dateline july 20, 2017:
* The Nucleus® 7 Sound Processor is the world’s first and only Made for iPhone cochlear implant sound processor, allowing users to stream sound from their iPhone®, iPad® and iPod touch® directly to their cochlear implant sound processor. It not only enhances the experience of talking on the phone, it also makes features like enjoying music or watching videos, as well as audio apps such as Maps or FaceTime, more easily accessible.
* The Nucleus 7 Sound Processor is also the smallest and lightest behind-the-ear sound processor on the market.
* With the availability of the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor, Cochlear is also offering the first Made for iPhone Smart Bimodal Solution (the combination of a cochlear implant in one ear and a hearing aid in the other), enabling both hearing devices to provide synchronized streaming to both ears from a compatible iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. The Nucleus 7 Bimodal Solution is delivered by using a Nucleus 7 Sound Processor, a compatible ReSoundTM hearing aid and a paired iPhone or iPod to control functionality for both hearing devices.
* The Nucleus 7 Smart App gives parents confidence that they can monitor their child’s sound processor and ensure they are hearing. The device also includes a variety of features that make it easier on parents and caregivers including:
The new Hearing Tracker feature records coil-offs time (each time the sound processor coil does not detect the implant coil, such as if it has fallen off a child’s head) and time in speech (which optimizes the sound processor for different types of noise environments).
The Nucleus Smart App Find My Processor feature helps locate a lost sound processor by using Location Services to determine the last place the sound processor was connected to the paired iPhone or iPod touch, whether it has been lost on the playground, in the house or in the car.
Parents are also able to see battery status, adjust volume and change programs using the Nucleus Smart App without needing to touch the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor.
Compared with the Nucleus 6 (below) the Nucleus 7 appears to be slightly shorter vertically, while extending a bit more from front to back. So far it appears that there will be only one version of the processor, the CP1000, without an accessory socket, similar to the CP920 version of the Nucleus 6 processor.
Cochlear has received FDA approval for the Nucleus 7 (N7, or CP1000) BTE processor. This doesn’t mean the processor is available today – it’s up to the company to determine when it will be available.
Preliminary features and differences between the N7 and N6 include:
- Supports Hybrid (EAS) hearing
- Made for iPhone compatibility
- The telecoil is optimized for loops
- Compatible with the Nucleus Smart App (iOS devices remote control app)
- Remote control (volume, sensitivity, & program settings, telecoil, audio accessory)
- Remote assistant replaced by iOS app – compatible Apple device required. Includes tracking function to help locate a lost processor.
- One processor size option. The N6 has two options, the larger of which allows for Direct Connect inputs.
The Nucleus 7 is not compatible with Nucleus 22 or Nucleus 24 implants.
Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available!