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.

 

Advanced Bionics / Phonak Naída Bimodal Solution Seminars

Naida bimodalSave the date!  Advanced Bionics is hosting a series of seminars providing information about how Naída cochlear implant processors and Naída hearing aids.

Discover the benefits of AB’s newest innovation—the Naída bimodal hearing solution. This interactive, hands-on seminar is for anyone considering a cochlear implant and unilateral AB recipients. The event will provide participants with the opportunity to learn about the Naída bimodal hearing solution, wireless communication, and aural rehabilitation resources.

For more information, see the flyer.

CochlearImplantHELP has always provided news of new cochlear implant products, oftentimes before the official manufacturers’ announcements. We are pleased to announce local informational events about new products and features hosted by cochlear implant manufacturers. Please use our contact form to submit manufacturer flyers for consideration.

 

 

Advanced Bionics and Phonak Announce Bimodal CI/HA Streaming

The_Naída_bimodal_hearing_solution_from_Advanced_Bionics_and_Phonak_webready

Advanced Bionics (AB) and Phonak announce the introduction of the new Naída bimodal hearing solution featuring the Phonak Naída™ Link, the world’s first hearing aid offering full-bandwidth, bidirectional audio streaming with the Naída CI sound processor from AB. Using shared technology co-developed by AB and Phonak, the Naída devices are able to communicate with each other in a way no other hearing aid and cochlear implant combination can match.

Bimodal features may include functions such as DuoPhone, in which you hold the phone up to one ear, and hear the sound in both ears. The direct communication between the cochlear implant processor and the hearing aid may also allow you to change program or volume on both instruments by pressing a button on either one of them. Currently these types of functionality are only available for bilateral Advanced Bionics cochlear implant users, or bilateral Phonak hearing aid users.  About half of all cochlear implant users are bimodal, meaning one cochlear implant and one hearing aid. These users will be able to take advantage of features previously available only to those with two cochlear implants or two hearing aids.

For more information, see the press release.

Naída CI Q90 Additional Information

Naida CI Q90The Naída CI Q90 is shipping in North America now!  Newly implanted recipients and paid upgrades will receive them first.  Recipients who are participating in the free upgrade program, implanted after February 9th, 2015, will receive the Q90 between 4/1/2016-11/15/2016.

If you have a Q70, you can trade it in for $2500. If you have a Harmony or a Neptune, you may participate in the buy-back program, which will give you $1900 towards a complete Naída CI Q90 kit.

The Q90 is EAS (Electro-Acoustic Stimulation) ready.  When available, you may be able to use the built-in hearing aid component to augment the sound you get from the cochlear implant. EAS is approved in Europe, and is under development in the United States.

Power Cell MiniThe new PowerCel 110 Mini and the PowerCell 170 Mini can be used in the AquaCase. These batteries are also compatible with the Naída CI Q70 processor.

SoundRelax and WindBlock can be used on your primary program.  EchoBlock should be installed on a separate program.

The Phonak EasyCall can be used if you have 2 Naída CI Q90 or Q70 processors, one processor and one compatible Phonak hearing aid, or two compatible Phonak hearing aids.

The continuously-growing constellation of accessories includes, but may not be limited to:

  • EasyCall
  • DECT Phone
  • Roger Pen
  • Roger 17
  • Roger Clip-on mic
  • ComPilot
  • RemoteMic
  • TVLink

For Q70 users, the software to enable WindBlock, EchoBlock, and SoundRelax, as well as using the EasyCall, is already shipping to your audiologist.  Check with your center to see if they are using it yet.

In addition to being EAS-ready, the Q90 offers StereoZoom for bilateral recipients.  StereoZoom uses two microphones on each processor, a total of four microphones, to focus the sound more tightly than microphones on only one processor can accomplish.  The two processors communicate with each other wirelessly.

Pro tip for TVLink users – it’s for more than watching TV!  If you stream music through the TV, you can hear the music wirelessly with the TVLink.

Advanced Bionics Naída CI Q90 Availability

Naida CI Q90

The Naida CI Q90 Pre-sale starts on November 16th for US and Canada residents!  The newest processor from Advanced Bionics offers these exciting features: Contact Customer Service to place your order today.

  • With AutoSound™ OS technology, your Naída CI Q90 intelligently analyzes and automatically adapts to the sound around you, so you hear your best wherever you go without having to change programs or adjust any settings.
  • The StereoZoom feature uses the front and back microphones on both processors to zoom in on a single voice in a noisy environment, so you can chat one-on-one with less effort in extreme noise.
  • The WindBlock feature automatically reduces wind noise for greater comfort in windy environments like a golf course or the beach.
  • The SoundRelax feature automatically dampens unexpected loud sounds, such as door slamming or clanging dishes, for a more pleasant listening experience.
  • The EchoBlock feature improves the sound quality in reverberant environments you encounter, like museums, galleries, and places of worship.

Some of these features will be available for the Naída CI Q70. An appointment with your audiologist will be necessary to activate them.

Initial Naída CI Q90 upgrades will be reserved for recipients who are paying for the upgrade, including a trade-in program for current Naída CI Q70 recipients.  Information for Naída CI Q70 recipients who were implanted on or after February 9th, 2015 will be provided shortly.

Power Cell Mini

In addition, two smaller, lighter batteries with improved battery life will also be available. The PowerCel 110 Mini and PowerCell 170 Mini offer extra comfort and up to 36 hours of battery life. These exciting new batteries will also work with the Naída CI Q70.

Free Shipping on CiWear Shirts

37ba4bb6d5-Ci-Wear-TM-logoCiWear and Cochlear Implant HELP are proud to offer free shipping on CiWear merchandise to the Continental US until 12/31/2015.  Use voucher code ‘cochlearimplanthelp’ at checkout.

The folks at CiWear who make the shirts that hold off-ear cochlear implant processors securely and manage cables now offer shirts in two different materials – one for swimming, and another for sports.

Ci Wear Swim

Ci WearTM teamed up with Victory KoreDryTM, a manufacturer with 30 years of experience in water sports gear, to manufacture our shirts in the USA. CiWear Swim

Key Features:

  • KoreDryTM fabric that is 80% nylon and 20% lycra
  • water-repellent
  • Breathable
  • Dries quickly so you stay warmer
  • Raglan sleeves and flatlock stitching for added comfort and flexibility
  • U.V. tested at UPF 50+ (equal to SPF 150+) factor both wet and dry giving it a rating you can depend on to protect your skin against the damaging rays of the sun when in or out of the water

Ci Wear Sport

Made with high performance premium quality Wicko active mesh for moisture management to keep skin cool and dry. Ideal for all your indoor and outdoor activities, including swimming. The lightweight, stretchable fabric combined with raglan sleeves, and flatlock stitching make for easy movement, flexibility and added comfort.

Key Features

  • Made of 100% Polyester
  • Quick drying
  • Breathable
  • Moisture management (wicking)
  • lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Ideal for putting under uniform or wearing as a exercise shirt
  • Pockets fit the Neptune, AquaCase and smartphones and digital music players upto the size of an IPhone 6

Advanced Bionics announces FDA approval of two new sound processors

Naida CI Q90Stäfa (Switzerland), 18 August 2015 – Sonova Holding AG, the world’s leading provider of hearing solutions, announces today that its subsidiary Advanced Bionics (AB) has received FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approval in the United States for its new Naída CI Q90 and Q30 sound processors. FDA approval follows Health Canada approval earlier this year. Distribution of the Naída CI Q90 sound processor is expected later this year in the United States and Canada. The Naída CI Q30 is designed to meet the needs of the global market and will be available in specific markets outside of North America.

The new Q90 is the top-of-the-line processor in the Naída CI Q Series from Advanced Bionics, following the previous release of the Q70. Offering new PowerCel innovations that reduce size and improve battery life as well as new microphone technology for focusing on speech, the Naída CI Q90 now raises the bar as the premium choice for recipients who want the full line of features in the most compact package. Some of the advanced Q Series features include industry leading automation with new innovations that block obtrusive sounds, such as wind and echoes, to improve hearing in challenging settings. Supporting the Naída CI Q Series, the latest version of AB’s signature fitting software, SoundWave 2.3, also received FDA approval.

And directly from Advanced Bionics:

The Naída CI Q90 is the top-of-the-line processor in the Naída CI Q Series from Advanced Bionics, following the previous release of the Naída CI Q70, which raised the bar for superior hearing. Offering new microphone technology for focusing on speech, the Naída CI Q90 now surpasses the bar as the premium choice for recipients who want the full line of features.

New and current Naída CI Q70 recipients** can also benefit from some of the advanced new Q Series features, including new innovations that automatically reduce obtrusive sounds, such as wind, echoes, and sudden loud noises to improve hearing in difficult environments.

The Naída CI Q30 sets the bar for the Q Series family, offering proven AB and Phonak technology that lead the industry for hearing in noise and the option of the smallest PowerCel battery to date, compatible with all Q Series processors.

Available for the Naída CI Q70 and Q90 sound processors, Phonak Binaural VoiceStream Technology™ gives two Naída CI processors the unique ability to work together for improved hearing in challenging situations. Sound from one side is transmitted to the other side so that recipients hear the sound in both ears at the same time while distracting noise is reduced. No other manufacturer can offer the extraordinary binaural benefits this technology provides for effortless communication.

The only sound processor family that delivers hearing as unique as you are, the Q Series provides state-of-the-art technology designed to help recipients communicate with confidence, enjoy music, and stay connected to the latest consumer electronics.

• Proven technologies for better speech understanding

• Automatic adjustments for any environment

• Superior advancements for hearing in noise, on the phone, and in water

• The broadest and most proven portfolio of wireless connectivity accessories, including the new Phonak EasyCall accessory and Phonak DECT Phone

• Groundbreaking innovations in maximizing hearing with two ears working together

The latest version of SoundWave, AB’s signature fitting software, will soon be available to clinicians for enabling the new features.

AB Processors to be Compatible Wirelessly to Home Phones

DECT phone

No intermediary device required!  Connect directly to the Phonak DECT phone, or use the Phonak EasyCall to connect directly to your existing  Bluetooth-equipped mobile phone, and Naída CI Q70 sound processors.

Advanced Bionics announces future compatibility with Phonak EasyCall and Phonak DECT Phone.

The Phonak EasyCall* accessory is designed to provide universal, discreet, and hassle-free communication with any Bluetooth®-enabled mobile phone.

  • Attaches directly to the phone
  • Streams directly to both ears for best sound quality and speech intelligibility
  • Supports all brands of cell phones, including iPhone and Samsung
  • No intermediary device needed

The Phonak DECT Phone* is a cordless phone for everyone that provides an easy-to-use phone option at home or at work.

  • Enjoy calls on your landline phone
  • Transmit sound directly to one or both ears to reduce noise and maximize speech understanding – hearing aid users experience 40% better speech understanding¹
  • One solution for the whole family – family members without hearing loss can use the DECT Phone just like a regular phone
  • No intermediary device required

Advanced Bionics Announces TÜV Approval of Naída CI Q90 EAS

— The World’s Newest, Most Advanced Electro Acoustic Stimulation (EAS) System Receives Regulatory Approval for Commercial Release in Europe —

VALENCIA, Calif., May 28, 2015 – Advanced Bionics (AB), a global leader in cochlear implant technology and a company of the Sonova Group, announced today that the new Naída CI Q90 EAS received TÜV approval for distribution in Europe. With the arrival of this new product, now more than ever, cochlear implant recipients have access to the combined technologies of AB and Phonak, the innovation leaders in cochlear implants and hearing instruments.

The Naída CI Q90 EAS offers a truly integrated electro acoustic hearing solution in addition to many of the popular features delivered with the Naída CI platform:

  • Powerful acoustic Phonak receiver attaches directly to the Naída CI Q90 sound processor
  • Available for use with the industry’s largest selection of wireless connectivity accessories for phone calls and media streaming from devices by Apple®, Samsung®, Nokia® and other leading brands
  • Compatible with AB ClearVoice™* and Phonak UltraZoom speech enhancement technologies for improved understanding in noise
  • Fast, easy programming within AB’s signature SoundWave™ fitting software
  • New AB-Phonak fitting feature designed to align sound from a hearing instrument and a cochlear implant

Read more

Advanced Bionics Discloses Combined CI/HA Capabilities

Naida from annual reportAdvanced Bionics announces in the Sonova 2014/2015 Annual Report that the next generation Naída CI sound processor will include combined CI/HA capabilities, termed EAS (electro acoustic stimulation).  From page 27 of the report:

The next step-change innovation from Advanced Bionics will be the approval and launch of the Naída CI sound processor, ready for EAS (electro acoustic stimulation). This offers the full integration of Advanced Bionics and Phonak technology for recipients with some residual hearing who are seeking the most natural-sounding hearing experience. The processor combines the electric sound signal from an Advanced Bionics cochlear implant with acoustic sound from a Phonak hearing aid. The combination of electrical and acoustical stimulation should allow recipients to hear high and low frequencies for a more natural hearing experience and improved music enjoyment.