New Processor Information Summary

Exciting news is on the way from Advanced Bionics, Cochlear, and MED-EL!  AB and MED-EL are on the verge of introducing new processors, and Cochlear is making the Nucleus 7 and Kanso 2 processors available to N22 recipients.

Advanced Bionics

Advanced Bionics Sky CI M90The United States Federal Communications Commission has approved the radio-frequency components of a new family of processors from Advanced Bionics.  According to the report, there will be three versions, presumably offered in different markets around the world, and with different feature sets.  The three processors are identified as Naída CI M30, Naída CI M60, and Sky CI M90.  The accented character isn’t in the FCC documentation, but the assumption is that it will mirror the current family of processors.

More information is sure to be coming from Advanced Bionics.  But based on sister company Phonak’s Marvel line of hearing aids, the M series will likely include direct wireless streaming from both Android and iPhones.  And it appears they will be somewhat smaller than the current Q series processors.

 

Cochlear

Cochlear Nucleus 7 processorCochlear Kanso 2The Nucleus 7 processor and the Kanso 2 processor have received FDA approval for N22 recipients.  This FDA approval paves the way for the company to make the processors available to N22 recipients.  Cochlear continues to support its legacy users by making the latest technology available to the greatest extent possible.

See the press release for more information.  And this helpful Cochlear processor comparison chart describes the differences between your current processor and the Nucleus 7 or the Kanso 2.

 

 

MED-EL

MED-EL RONDO 3The new RONDO 3 has its own page on the MED-EL web site!  The processor has a high-tech look with its array of holes.  And it introduces a second microphone so that it can focus on sounds coming from directly in front, which is helpful in noisy situations.  The rechargeable battery life is up to 24 hours, while that of its predecessor was up to 18 hours.

Wireless streaming is accomplished with an intermediary device, the AudioLink.

While MED-EL claims that the Rondo 3 is compatible with all hearing aids, the only compatibility is that you can wear any hearing aid on one side, and the RONDO 3 on the other side.  There is no provision for the RONDO 3 and any hearing aid to stream from one side to the other, to work in concert on noise reduction strategies, or to stream to both side simultaneously, unless the RONDO 3 has a telecoil.

 

Advanced Bionics Issues a Recall

Advanced Bionics has sent a letter to some recipients of the HiRes Ultra / HiRes Ultra 3D noting that some of these devices may have an issue with the electrode array that could adversely affect the performance of the device.  The text of the letter is available here.

Implants that may be affected have been recalled, and the current version available today has resolved the issue. The company says that about 0.5% of recipients of the affected devices have had revision surgery.

To assess the significance of the issue, refer to our analysis of the FDA Manufacturer and User facility Device Experience database. A constant failure rate for a given manufacturer should show a curve that rises with the number of implants in the field. Over the past several years, all three major CI manufacturers show relatively flat numbers of incidents.  As cochlear implants have enjoyed healthy growth in this time frame, the implication is that reliability has been improving steadily.

The Advanced Bionics chart shows a spike in the middle of 2019, which may be related to the recall.  After the middle of 2019, the incident rate seems to have returned to preceding trend. Prior recalls (from any manufacturer) are visible on the charts.

There does seem to be a recent increase in reported events for Cochlear towards the end of 2019 beyond what a trendline would indicate.  Hopefully this is just an anomaly, and not related to any reliability issue. The MED-EL curve appears to be decreasing, which would indicate improved reliability, particularly in a growing market.

Advanced Bionics Voluntary Field Corrective Action

Advanced Bionics has issued a press release saying that it will retrieve the initial version of HiRes Ultra and Ultra 3D cochlear implant devices.  Newer versions of the devices have already been approved by some regulatory agencies, and is available in some markets.  Availability may be limited while the new version is being rolled out.

Less than 0.5% of the original version have been explanted related to lower
impedances and reports of decreased hearing performance. This situation does not present a device related safety issue.

Naída CI Connect

1. Directional Microphones Pick Up Your Voice

2. Answer or End Calls with a Simple Press of the Button

The Naída CI Connect is available now for ordering in the United States.  This small boot slides onto the bottom of the Powercel 170 battery, and enables direct Bluetooth streaming from nearly all Bluetooth 4.2 devices and older phones.  With the Naída CI Connect, you can hear the phone ring in your processor, and answer the phone by pressing the button on the bottom.  There is no need to take the phone out – the microphones on the Naída CI Connect become your phone microphones.  Truly hands-free calling with any phone!

You can also use the Naída CI Connect to stream sound from a Bluetooth device directly.  And with the TV Connector, you can stream sound to both processors if you have two Naída CI Connects.  You can get a Naída CI Connect and a TV Connector for $409 from Advanced Bionics today!

Advanced Bionics Chorus Processor for C1 Available Now

Advanced Bionics announces US availability of the Chorus processor for C1.0 and C1.2 recipients.  Chorus offers several great features for recipients of these legacy implants, including:

  • All-day hearing on one rechargeable battery
  • Significantly smaller than the Platinum Sound Processor
  • Roger technology integrated in the processor
  • Comes with your choice or Roger Pen or Roger Select
  • Waterproof wearing options

Learn more at Advanced Bionics!

Naída CI Q90 Acoustic Earhook in US/Canada

Naída CI Q90 Acoustic Earhook

Advanced Bionics announces the availability of the Naída CI Q90 Acoustic Earhook for Naída CI Q90 recipients in the US and Canada. With the simple addition of the acoustic earhook, the Naída CI Q90 sound processor can deliver acoustic amplification in combination with electrical stimulation to help maximize your hearing experience. Intended for CI candidates and recipients who may benefit from acoustic amplification, the Naída CI Q90 Acoustic Earhook is an all-in-one solution that extends AB’s portfolio for individuals with severe-to-profound hearing loss.

Read more here.

Advanced Bionics Receives Acoustic Earhook Approval

Naida EAS

Advanced Bionics announces approval in the US and Canada for the Naída CI Q90 Acoustic Earhook.  The Acoustic Earhook can be added to a Naída CI Q90 processor to provide additional low-frequency information.  If residual hearing decreases to the point where the acoustic information is no longer useful, the Acoustic Earhook can be swapped out for Advanced Bionics T-mic.

The Naída CI Q90 Acoustic Earhook will be made available to a limited number of North American centers in 2017 and will be made generally available in the United States and Canada in January 2018.

Naída Link CROS Review

By Deb McClendon Deitz

Advanced Bionics Naida Link CROS

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.

Real-Life Impressions

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

Deb Deitz.jpg

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!

Advanced Bionics Naída Link CROS

Naid Link CROS

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:

Jul 26, 2017

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.

About Phonak

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.

For more information, please visit www.phonak.comwww.phonakpro.com

  1. Siburt, H., & Holmes, A. (2015). Bimodal Programming: A Survey of Current Clinical Practice. American Journal of Audiology,24(2), 243-9
  2. 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

Media Contact:
Olivia Duarte
Advanced Bionics
661.362.1400
MediaInquiries@AdvancedBionics.com

Choosing a Cochlear Implant that Works with a Hearing Aid

By Jessica Lewis

The journey to begin the process of cochlear implantation is an exciting prospect. When your audiologist tells you there may be hope to regain hearing and comprehension, the potential seem limitless. Amongst the excitement and new possibilities, the process of cochlear implantation can be overwhelming, and it’s not a decision to be made overnight.

My first step after making the decision to move forward with implantation was to learn about how cochlear implants work – not a deep technical perspective, just an overview such as can be found in the videos on the manufacturer’s web sites.  In particular, I was interested in understanding the differences between cochlear implants and hearing aids.   

When I began my cochlear implant journey last year, I had to choose which implant and company I would partner with for life. And they all promised better-than-ever features over the others. I was told by my audiologist all the general bells and whistles of the different implants, but ultimately she just handed me big packets of information on the three brands: MED-EL, Advanced Bionics, and Cochlear and said, “it’s up to you!”

The first step to any decision is to research every possible outcome. Brand packets in hand, I meticulously combed through each one hoping to have one company stand out over the other. But unfortunately, all three brands look like they offer similar implants, with very small distinctions between them. This was where I decided to hit the pavement and go straight to the sources. My audiologist was kind enough to get me in contact with representatives and implant recipients for Advanced Bionics, Cochlear, and MED-EL. I set up meetings over coffee, chatted via email, and took voluminous notes throughout the process. I truly felt this made my decision easier, as I was able to discuss and listen to first hand experiences: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I qualified for a cochlear implant in both ears, but I decided to only implant one for now as I can still use a hearing aid in the other ear. Many cochlear implant recipients are bimodal, meaning that they use one cochlear implant and one hearing aid.

While you can use any hearing aid with a cochlear implant, they really are different devices, and process sounds differently.  Successful bimodal users learn to adapt to the different inputs to each ear.

Sister companies Advanced Bionics and Phonak recently introduced the Naída bimodal hearing solution, consisting of a cochlear implant with a Naída CI Q90 processor, and a Naída Link hearing aid.  The sound processing technology is the same for both instruments.  And the volume behavior (the way the loudness is adjusted automatically) is also the same. My hope is that this will make the transition to becoming a bimodal user as effortless as possible, and that it will provide me with the best bimodal hearing experience.

One nice feature available now is that when you change program or volume by pressing buttons on either instrument, both instruments respond, and you can hear the beeps in both ears.  Also, you can stream sounds to both instruments using a ComPilot or a Roger Pen.  

Some new features are coming soon that will make the Naída Link system even more integrated.  I look forward to programs such as DuoPhone, where you hold the phone up to one ear, and the sound is streamed wirelessly to the other, so you hear it in both ears!  And StereoZoom uses the mics on the two instruments together to make a super-tight focus directly in front of you – perfect for noisy restaurants!

Needless to say, I made the decision to go with Advanced Bionics because of all the features for bimodal users like me.

Naida bimodal

With both the Link and implant,  I am able to hear sounds that I haven’t heard since my hearing loss began (including my cat’s incessant meowing which I’m not sure I missed…). I’m able to capture wonderfully clear sounds and speech with just the implant itself, but the addition of the Link adds such a richer sound to my surroundings, adding a more natural tone. I can carry on conversations in restaurants with ease, hear my boyfriend calling me from another room, and even talk on the phone with the T-mic or my Roger pen streaming into both ears. It’s astounding how clear I am able localize sounds through these intelligent and cohesive devices; two ears are definitely better than one!

Going forward, I can’t wait to see what additional features Advanced Bionics and Phonak will offer bimodal users.

About the Author

Jessica LewisJessica Lewis is a twenty-two-year-old recently hired pediatric oncology RN. Her hearing loss started in 2014 warranting the use of bilateral hearing aids until becoming a cochlear implant recipient in 2015. She was implanted June 30th, 2016 and activated on July 14th, 2016 and received her Naida Link a week later. She currently resides in Jacksonville, Florida where she hopes to not only change the lives of her pediatric patients but also advocate for the deaf/hard-of-hearing community she so closely relates with. She strives to pave the way for awareness and recognition of this community in introducing new technology and communication techniques through her experiences both medically and professionally.