Canada Health has approved the SONNET 2 and SONNET 2 EAS processors for MED-EL. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available!
Cochlear Limited today announced the next phase in its long-term research and development program towards a totally implantable cochlear implant, with the start of a further clinical feasibility study. The development of totally implantable cochlear implant technology is complex, and a commercially available product is not expected for years; however, it remains a long-term development goal for Cochlear.
Editor’s note: Clinical trials provide no guarantee that a product will be available in a given time frame, or even at all. If you are considering a cochlear implant and have questions about potential future developments, please discuss them with your hearing professional.
MED-EL announced today the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of the RONDO 2 cochlear implant audio processor. Just place the RONDO 2 on the charge pad and it will charge automatically without wires or cables. The rechargeable battery provides up to 18 hours of battery life, and recharges after four hours.
Product availability is estimated in Fall 2018. For more information, read the press release here.
The US FDA has approved the FLEXSOFT array, which has been available in other markets, for sale in the United States.
This array is the same length as the CLASSIC series, but designed to be atraumatic.
by Allan Larson
After using my Resound MultiMic, I realized what a difference remote microphones could make. I wanted to use multiple microphones at once in several different situations, and found that the Phonak Roger system could do that. I started looking into Phonak Roger and trying several different components. I found that getting information on what was available was a little difficult, so I wanted to put a quick reference out for anyone else who may need it. The information below comes from my own research, so if you find something that is incorrect please let me know.
Phonak Roger is Not FM
Many people confuse Phonak Roger with the older FM systems, but Roger is actually completely new technology. Older FM systems transmitted an analog signal on FM frequencies (72.025 to 75.975 MHz and 216 to 217 MHz), and only transmitted on one channel at a time making it prone to interference, range problems, and eavesdropping. Phonak Roger transmits at 2.4GHz (ISM band) using digital transmission and frequency hopping technology to decrease dead spots, improve sound quality, and secure the transmission. For more information on the Phonak Roger wireless technology, click this link.
With most of the microphones below, you can link multiple devices together, and even mix and match microphones (like a Roger Pen and 2 clip-on mics). There are some limitations to this. For example, when you have multiple Roger Pens linked, only one can be in conference mode, and the rest can be in neck-worn mode. When the microphones are linked, they do not all transmit at once. The microphone that picks up speech first will transmit until it no longer hears speech. At that point the system will switch to the next microphone that detects speech.
The Phonak Roger Pen has three different microphone operating modes. Conference mode (when laying on a table), Interview mode (when held at an angle), and neck-worn. The Roger Pen can automatically switch microphone modes based on its position, or you can manually select the mode. In Conference mode it will pick up audio from all around. In Interview mode the microphone will become directional and pick up the voice of whoever it is pointing at, while blocking out noise from around the pen. In neck-worn mode it will become highly directional with a shorter pick-up range in order to just pick up whoever is talking directly above it. The Roger pen also has Bluetooth connectivity for connecting to cellular phones and other Bluetooth devices. Using an included cable, you can also connect the Roger Pen to other audio sources like a TV or headphone jack on a computer.
The Roger EasyPen has the same three microphone modes as the Roger Pen. With the Roger EasyPen you cannot manually select the microphone modes, and it does not have Bluetooth. Like the RogerPen, the Roger EasyPen can be connected to an audio source using a cable.
The roger clip-on mic is made to be worn clipped to a shirt or lanyard. It picks up speech from directly above it. The Clip-On Mic can also be used to stream audio from another source using the included cable.
The Roger Table Mic is specifically designed to be used in meetings. It picks up audio from all around while filtering out background noise like projector fans, coughs, etc… For large meetings (15+) people, you can use multiple Table Mics to pick up sound from all around the room. The Table Mic can also be connected to other audio sources, and has a remote control that can be used to mute/un-mute the microphone.
The Roger Touchscreen Mic and Roger Pass-around are geared for educational use. The Roger Touchscreen Mic is worn by a teacher and the Pass-around is passed to other students to allow them to talk on the system as well. Multiple Touchscreen Mics and Pass-arounds can be used together in a network. The Touchscreen Mic and Pass-around only work with the newer Roger receivers, they are not backwards compatible to older FM systems.
The Roger Inspiro and Roger DynaMic are also geared toward educational use and have similar functionality as the Roger Touchscreen Mic and Roger Pass-around. The Inspiro and DynaMic will work with Phonak Roger and older FM systems.
The Phonak Roger system has several different receivers that enable the system to be used with almost any hearing aid, Bone Anchored Hearing Aid (BAHA), or cochlear implant.
Roger design-integrated receivers
The design integrated receivers are made to blend in with the design of Phonak hearing aids as well as some Cochlear implants from Cochlear and Advanced Bionics. The design integrated receivers will work with the full line of Roger microphones including the Touchscreen Mic and Inspiro.
The Roger X receiver uses a Direct Audio Input connection (DAI, a.k.a Europlug) and can be used on many hearing aids (with a DAI boot), cochlear implants, and neck-worn streamers such as the Phonak ComPilot. The Roger X comes in two different versions. One is a lower cost type 3 (03) that works with the Roger Pen, EasyPen, Clip-On Mic, and Table Mic. The other is the type 2 (02) which costs a little more, but adds support for the educational based mics (TouchScreen and Inspiro), as well as some settings that can be made using the Inspiro, and compatibility with more Roger devices. For more information on the differences between the 02 and 03 Roger X receivers, click this link.
The Roger MyLink is a neck-worn streamer that works with hearing aids that contain a TeleCoil (T-Coil). The Mylink also has a standard 3.5mm headphone jack that allows it to be plugged in to other devices like sound systems, or hearing aid streamers with a 3.5mm input.
The Roger Focus is a behind-the-ear receiver made for people with normal hearing, but that have attention related issues. It is intended to limit distractions by bringing the teacher’s voice directly in to the persons ear to help with focus and understanding. The Roger Focus is not a hearing aid, it is simply a receiver for Roger microphones.
About the Author
I have been a hearing aid user for over 20 years, since receiving my first aid at age 20. As my hearing loss has progressed, I’ve come to rely on various Assistive Listening Devices. My career in IT requires many fast paced meetings. Without remote mics I wouldn’t be able to keep up and contribute. In January of 2018 I was approved for a cochlear implant, and look forward to the next phase of my journey. I hope to not need wireless microphones once I get adjusted to hearing with a CI, but it’s nice to have them available if needed.
Allan lives in Illinois with his wife and 4 kids.
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.
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!
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