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!
MED-EL has launched the latest issue of its flagship EXPLOREMAGAZINE, which aims to raise awareness about the importance of hearing loss through inspiring and extraordinary stories. In this edition, called EXPLORETIME, readers will discover the crucial role that time plays in our lives, and how it affects our decisions and structures our day. This is a great, FREE resource for hearing health professionals, parents and CI recipients.
One of the most interesting articles is about deciding when is the best time to get an implant for you or a family member. Time It Right discusses considerations for babies, older children, and adults about the affects cochlear implants can have on quality of life at various stages.
The entire EXPLORETIME issue is available for your reading pleasure.
MED-EL announces the release of ASM 2.0, which unlocks some new features for the SONNET and SONNET EAS processors.
- Microphone Directionality
- Wind Noise Reduction
- Automatic Volume Control
For more information, read the press release.
May is Better Hearing and Speech Month! The American Cochlear Implant Alliance has put together some resources for people considering a cochlear implant. Read more here.
The American Cochlear Implant Alliance is a not-for-profit membership organization created with the purpose of eliminating barriers to cochlear implantation by sponsoring research, driving heightened awareness and advocating for improved access to cochlear implants for patients of all ages across the US. ACI Alliance members are clinicians, scientists, educators, and others on cochlear implant teams as well as parent and consumer advocates.
MED-EL announces a global competition for kids age 6-11. Aspiring inventors and artists are invited to create a piece of artwork showcasing their invention to improve the quality of life of people living with hearing loss.
One U.S. winner will be awarded $1000 deposit into a college savings plan of their choice, and an entry into an international competition for a grand prize of a trip for the winner and an adult chaperone to MED-EL’s global headquarters in Innsbruck, Austria.
A team at the University of Bern in Switzerland has developed a robot which performs many of the tasks in cochlear implant surgery.
MED-EL Launches New Spotify Playlist featuring Holiday Tunes
“MED-EL Music for the Holidays” Designed for Cochlear Implant Recipient and Family Enjoyment
See the press release here!
My Kanso Story
by Roger Smith
Hearing loss is something I’ve dealt with for over 40 years. I was first diagnosed at age five and my hearing declined for the next 20 odd years. Choosing the right hearing aid and ultimately the right cochlear implant can be a challenge. Lucky for me, my brother, four years older, has the same history of hearing loss, and I usually had him to rely on for feedback about new technology or functionality. Now, I’m in a position to provide some insights into the new Kanso Sound Processor from Cochlear!
A little bit about myself, I work for Cochlear in Sydney and help develop and market new processors and accessories. I love my job because I get to work with and learn from our customers and help make sure the new products best meet our customer needs. I’m doing this for me, my brother, my son and all of you, and I truly love it.
In my role, I had the opportunity to be part of first clinical trial for Kanso, where I tested the device for more than six months in Sydney, Australia.
One thing we’ve learned over the years is that everyone is different and what is best for one person might not be best for another.
Kanso has been developed for people who are looking for a sound processor that is discreet, smart and simple.
Kanso is for people who might be a bit self-conscious about wearing a processor, who want something to ‘set and forget,’ or who just don’t want anything on their ear, all while still receiving great hearing performance.
So here’s what I can tell you from my experience about hearing performance with Kanso.
As a recipient and customer myself, I really focus on hearing performance. I want to be able to hear my best in every situation. Whether it’s social or at work, I don’t want to miss out on anything.
So when I was asked to trial Kanso, I must admit, I was a little sceptical. Would this new processor allow me to hear as well as with my Nucleus 6® Sound Processor? I put it to the test.
I went to the noisy café and the windy beach, I listened to music and watched TV, attended lectures and conferences, and in every situation I switched back and forth between Nucleus 6 and Kanso.
I can honestly say I could not tell the difference. I felt like with Kanso I was hearing just as well as with Nucleus 6 and maybe, more importantly, my family couldn’t tell the difference either. My wife, who’s able to tell better than me when it’s time to change my microphone covers, didn’t even notice I had a new processor for three weeks!
Kanso has the same performance technology as Nucleus 6 (SmartSound® iQ), which includes SCAN*. SCAN is an automatic environment classifier that constantly scans the environment you’re in and changes the processor settings to make sure you’re in the right setting at the right time. It’s all I ever use with Nucleus 6 or Kanso.
Kanso also offers all the same True Wireless™ connectivity options as the Nucleus 6, which is very important to me. I use my Phone Clip, Mini Microphone and TV Streamer on an almost daily basis. Being able to stream directly to my processor in certain situations is a huge advantage for people with Cochlear implants.
I feel sometimes like I’ve gone from being the person in the room with a disadvantage to being the only one in the room with a real advantage.
* SNR-WR, WNR and SCAN are approved for use with any recipient ages 6 years and older, who is able to: 1) complete objective speech perception testing in quiet and in noise in order to determine and document performance: and 2) report a preference for different program settings.
What is Kanso?
Kanso is an integrated sound processor for a cochlear implant that has the processing unit (read: brains of the computer), the battery, and the coil all in one unit.
It must be worn directly over the implant, so there are no cables to fiddle with and no earhook as it sits behind or above the ear.
To break it down further:
This is the part that does the hard work. It gathers the sound through the dual microphones and processes the input, filtering out background noise and sounds that you don’t want to hear based on your situation. Kanso comes with the same industry leading sound processing capabilities as the Nucleus® 6 processor with SmartSound™ iQ.
Kanso also has SCAN* technology, which means the processor can analyze the environment you’re in and put your processor in the right program, no matter what the situation.
Kanso has only one button to control functionality of the processor. This was done to simplify the user interface and make it even easier to use. You can control on/off, programs and streaming accessories with this one button. For those who want even more control, Kanso is compatible with the Cochlear Remote Control and Remote Assistant.
The microphones are where the sound comes into the processing unit. Kanso has two microphones. This is very important for background noise management because the processor can analyze the sound from the two microphones and determine which sounds came from behind. This ‘beamforming’ means you can hear better in noisy situations.
The coil is the part that communicates with the internal implant. It sends the ‘sound’ to the implant. Kanso has the coil built in so there is no coil cable to deal with.
You use Kanso with zinc-air disposable batteries. Rechargeable batteries would mean a bigger and heavier processor, which is not something customers wanted. With two zinc-air batteries, Kanso is designed to deliver the same battery life as Nucleus 6.
Kanso comes with retention accessories like the nearly invisible safety line for everyday use and the headband for more vigorous activities.
Kanso is fully compatible with the Cochlear True Wireless™ devices – Mini Microphones, Phone Clip and TV Streamer – so you get even greater performance in challenging situations and the convenience of no wires.
Real Life Experience
By now you’re probably thinking ‘great, so you can hear well but how well does it stay on? Is it really discreet? What about swimming and sports?’
Here’s how I answer these questions after six months of experience with Kanso:
What’s retention really like? Does it fall off?
Straight away, people ask me about the retention of Kanso. Does it fall off? No. I’ve never had a situation where the Kanso just fell off my head.
I use the same magnet strength (2) as with my behind-the-ear (BTE) sound processor and didn’t have any problems with Kanso falling off.
Did I accidentally knock it off? Yes. I had to break a few habits. With a BTE, if I had an itch, I could just flick the coil off and scratch and the BTE would keep everything on my ear. With Kanso, I had to remember to hold the processor while I scratched. This took me a week or two to change.
I also had to be a bit more careful changing a shirt or putting on a hat, but this was not a big deal to me. When wearing a hat, I did have to loosen the band a bit, but it didn’t seem to impact my hearing when I had the hat on.
Kanso comes with a clear safety line (like a fishing line) that you can attach to your hair with a clip or another, longer line that you can clip to your shirt. I used the short one in my hair, and I must say I was really hesitant to wear a hair clip, but it was pretty much invisible and surprisingly easy to use. Clip it in in the morning and pop it off at night – too easy!
How’s the battery life?
Battery life with two disposable zinc air batteries was the same for me (around 62 hours because I’m a low power user).
How simple is Kanso to use?
As simple as I found my Nucleus 6 to be, Kanso was just a little bit simpler. I use a hearing aid mould with my BTE for retention, and with Kanso, I didn’t have to spend a few seconds each day putting the earmould in and positioning the coil. And having only one button and SCAN* means Kanso is truly a ‘set and forget’ processor.
Can I use Kanso in water?
Kanso comes with a waterproof accessory that covers the processor and allows you to swim, snorkel, exercise and more.
I found the hearing performance when using the Aqua+ to be slightly less, but I could still understand, communicate and have fun with my kids and hear safety alarms or whistles.
If you’re doing anything besides just relaxing in the water, you’ll need to use something to keep the Kanso in the Aqua+ on your head. I used a neoprene swim cap (Nammu), but there are lots of options out there, and the Aqua+ has notches for goggle straps if you prefer that. A small price to be able to hear in the water!
How discreet is Kanso?
I’m not really too worried about people seeing my processor since I’ve been wearing something on my ears for 35 years. But if I was concerned about it, Kanso would be perfect for me. I have shorter style hair and Kanso is nearly invisible when I put it on.
Can I wear a hat or helmet?
As with any implant and processor combination, implant location on your head plays a role in how well (or not) hats and helmets fit. My implant is located just above and behind my ear – right on the ‘hat line.’ I find that I can still wear my hats and my bike helmet but with the hats, I need to loosen a little bit or there is a little too much pressure. This only bothers me in the wind as a loose hat comes off easier.
Is Kanso right for me?
This is the one question I can’t answer. Only you and your hearing health professional(s) can decide what is best for you
Personally, I would be very happy with either Kanso or Nucleus 6. I’m not worried about discretion, and I get great hearing performance and connectivity with both.
Kanso and Nucleus 6
Here is a comparison summary of Nucleus 6 and Kanso:
- 2 microphones and SmartSound iQ and SCAN
- True Wireless compatible
- Aqua+ for complete waterproofing
- Dust and splash proof
- CR230 Remote Assistant and CR210 Remote control compatible
- Offers Hybrid™ Hearing with acoustic component attached
- Can use disposable or rechargeable batteries
- Telecoil optimised for phone use
- Compatible with all Nucleus implant types
- No acoustic component
- Disposable batteries only
- Nothing on the ear
- Telecoil optimised for room loops
Some considerations when choosing between Nucleus 6 and Kanso:
- Since Kanso is not worn on the ear, people with glasses might find Kanso works better, especially if you have thick temple pieces on your glasses.
- While both processors are compatible with the Phone Clip, the Nucleus 6 processor telecoil is optimised for phone use. I used Kanso with the mics alone on the phone for quick conversations with family and friends but much preferred the Phone Clip for long calls or calls for work.
- Consider battery type and how important that is to you.
- If you wear hats a lot, consider taking one to your audiologist appointment to try on with Kanso because it slightly thicker than the Nucleus 6 coil. While I could still wear hats, I needed to adjust them slightly
Talk with your hearing health professional and be honest about what you hope to achieve with your processor. I hope hearing about my experience has proven helpful if you’re thinking about Kanso. Good luck with your hearing journey!
About the Author
Roger Smith, MSPT has been working in the field of healthcare for over 18 years. He is currently a Global Product Manager with Cochlear Ltd., spending the past 5 years in Sound Processors and Connectivity. As an employee and an active volunteer, Roger draws on his unique experience as a cochlear implant recipient to help improve the lives of those with hearing loss.
by Howard Samuels
Read this review to receive a discount code on Ditto!
Ditto is a small device that vibrates to provide you with alerts from your phone. It is focused on that one task, eschewing the feature creep that plagues so many consumer products.
From the manufacturer:
We created Ditto as a kind of anti-gadget – something to free people from worrying about their smartphones and to be more present in life. Ditto is tiny and elegant. No buttons, switches, lights displays, or cables. Less is more.
Ditto vibrates when you get an incoming phone call, a text, an email, or a notification from a large and growing portfolio of third-party apps. You don’t have to be inundated with constant vibrations, however. You can choose which apps will cause the Ditto to vibrate, and you can also select important people from your list of contacts, or allow alerts from anybody.
Straying ever so slightly from the ‘simple is better’ mantra, Ditto can also alert you when you are far away from your phone. This is helpful if you are prone to leaving your phone behind – Ditto will vibrate before you get too far away. The distance varies, but it is basically the range of the Bluetooth connection.
For cochlear implant HELP readers, perhaps the most important function is Ditto’s ability to vibrate at a preset time – it’s an alarm clock! Rather than large and expensive bed shakers or flashing lights, you can clip Ditto to your sleepwear, or wear it on the included wristband. My preference is to use the wristband because I can leave it on all day and all night. Ditto is waterproof, so you can wear it in the shower. The included thin and durable neoprene wristband looks great, but it does tend to stay wet for quite a while. And because it vibrates on your wrist, it won’t wake up your partner.
To set an alarm, go to the Alarm screen, choose one of the alarms to set, and set the time of day. You can assign a name to the alarm to be displayed on your phone when the alarm occurs. This can be helpful if you have set several different alarms and need to know which one is begging for your attention. The alarm can be set to vibrate its pattern one time, or it can repeat every two minutes for ten minutes, or until you turn it off.
Once an alarm has rung, it stays off unless you enable it again in the Ditto app. A recurrence feature would be helpful, so that you could set the alarm to wake you on the days you work each week without having to remember to set the alarm each night.
The Ditto web site has some short instructional videos to show you how to set up Ditto, attach it to the wristband, change the batteries, etc. The videos are available from within the Ditto app as well.
Ditto uses a single CR1632 button cell disposable battery, which lasts 3-6 months. When the battery gets low, you receive a notification to change the battery soon. The CR1632 battery generally isn’t sold in local pharmacies, but it is readily available from Amazon and other online sources.
Ditto is far more convenient and portable than traditional alarms targeted at the deaf and hard of hearing market. Because it is a high-volume consumer product, it costs much less than dedicated wakeup systems. And its main purpose of notifying you when you receive phone calls, texts, etc, is very useful. Ditto is a cost-effective alternative to a smart watch if the only goal is to receive notifications from your phone. Two additional features would make it a perfect fit – recurring alarms, and a wristband that dries more quickly.
Cochlear implant HELP reader can enjoy a 20% discount until October 31st, 2016, by using discount code cochlear20!
Two Ditto devices were provided by Simple Matters for the purpose of this review.