Cochlear Kanso 2 Processor Review

Iraida Franceschi

Cochlear Kanso 2

As a child, I had allergic reactions to everything and anything that grows under the sun, (i.e., grass and tree pollen, dust, mold, etc.)  So I commonly experienced recurrent ear infections.  Therefore, I was always given antibiotics or antihistamines, and ironically, it was also said that the medications I was taking affected my hearing loss as well.  Either way, I was one of those people that thought hearing-aids were always going to be part of my life.  Never imagined that hearing-aids were no longer going to be sufficient for me.  Yet, during a hearing evaluation, my audiologist told me I should consider cochlear implants, and I went home feeling overwhelmed.  Fast forward to 2011, and after being told I qualified, I started to research more and more about cochlear implants all the while asking questions in social media.  It was all a little daunting but having most of my worrisome questions answered by my doctor and by other cochlear recipients slowly gave me confidence to go forward with the process.

Now you see it – now you don’t!

In 2012, I decided to get a cochlear implant – and it was a success!  Having had such a great experience with my first, I decided to go for my second a year later, becoming bilateral in 2013.  At that time, I received the Nucleus 5 processors (for both sides), and I continued enjoying the journey for approximately 8-9 years until it was time to think about an upgrade.  Cochlear Americas had just released their newest processor:  Kanso 2.  So, I knew that all I needed to do to get the upgrade process started was to email or call Cochlear, as they now have a Reimbursement and Insurance Services department to help with the process. Cochlear Americas also takes care of contacting my Audiologist and ENT Surgeon to obtain the letter of medical necessity and other information pertaining to the upgrade. Consequently, I am happy to announce that my upgrade was successfully approved, and that I have had the Kanso 2’s since November 2020. 

My Kanso 2s with safety line hair clips

Key Features of the Kanso 2

Built-in Rechargeable Battery: The rechargeable battery is non-removable, and internally settled (built-in) inside the Kanso 2.  This means I do not need to worry about putting on or taking off the rechargeable battery, because the Kanso 2 is a one-piece unit processor.  This is also known as an Off-The-Ear (OTE) processor.

Easy on and off functionality: I can turn it on by placing it on my implant and turn it off by taking it off.  Or I can tap twice to turn on and tap three times to turn it off while it’s still on my implant.

SmartSound iQ with Scan Technology: The scan technology is automatically listening to the surrounding sounds, and it adapts or changes the settings depending on the environment.  There are six scenes in total: Quiet, Speech, Speech in Noise, Noise, Music, and Wind.

Direct connectivity to a smartphone: Connecting to a smartphone (Android or iPhone) to stream and enjoy music, movies, videos, phone calls and video calls.

Nucleus Smart App: The app can help control the sound settings, track hearing data, and battery level.  It is free and can be downloaded from the Google Play Store or Apple Store.

Dual microphones: This is important to help filter out background noise and enhance the hearing experience.

Once I received the processors, I called my audiologist to make a mapping appointment.  This was necessary because the Kanso 2’s I had received are the latest and newest processors available – and were completely different from the processors that I was using.

In comparison, the Nucleus 5 is a behind the ear (BTE) processor, whereas the Kanso 2 is an off the ear (OTE) processor.  This allowed me to free my ear for wearing glasses or sunglasses — and masks which are required now due to the pandemic.

With an Off-the-Ear processor, I won’t need to worry about the coil or the cable, as the Kanso 2 is a one-piece unit.  Moreover, the Kanso 2 has a built-in rechargeable battery in it that is non-removable.  This means that when I am done for the day, I can simply place my processors in the charger/dryer box and close the lid to allow it to automatically begin charging wirelessly.  It takes approximately 3 to 4 hours to charge in full.  However, because most of us sleep 6-8 hours at night, it has been said we can leave them safely drying overnight, the technology is smart, and the charger/dryer won’t overcharge the processors.

Once I go about my daily routine, and if I am attending online meetings that day, I know I can use the Mini-Mic 2+ to stream directly into the Kanso 2’s.  All I have to do is plug one end of an audio cable into the headset port on my computer, and the other into the Mini Mic 2+.  Then I select the audio input on the Mini Mic 2+ by pressing its mode-selector button three times to set it to the music icon. The Mini Mic 2+ streams sound wirelessly to both Kanso 2 processors, and its mic picks up my voice.  This, to me, is a game changer!  The sound quality is impressive, and I can follow conversations with my colleagues via Zoom.  Just to be able to listen and chime in with constructive feedback, is all worth it.

The Mini Mic 2+, ready to stream from my computer

I am also excited to share that working out with my Kanso 2’s has been easier.  Plus, I found out that the Kanso 2’s have a water resistance rating of IP68, which means that the sound processor can withstand sweat much more than my Nucleus 5’s did as these had an IP57 rating.  I could also get rained on or splashed and not have to worry about damaging my Kanso 2’s.  In fact, I have been reading about the IP68 rating, and it has been said that the Kanso 2’s can be submerged underwater (to a maximum depth of 1.5m) for up to thirty minutes without any damage.

After I am done teleworking, I am usually using my iPhone, listening to music, or browsing TED Talks videos to listen to as that is now part of my daily audio rehab.  With the iPhone, I don’t need any other intermediary devices, as the Kanso 2’s are able to stream sound directly to my implants.  As a matter of fact, this is probably the easiest thing to do, to make calls or receive FaceTime calls from my daughters, because once the iPhone is paired, I really do not need to press any buttons.  It just rings and streams without delay.

I can scroll down the timeline in social media and if I click on a video, it will instantly stream the sound to my Kanso 2’s.  If I get interrupted with a call or a FaceTime call from my daughter, the call will take over and instantly connect.  Then when I hang up, the video that I was watching resumes playing.  It surely is as easy as I am making it sound!

Nucleus Smart App screen shot

The Kanso 2’s can also be used with the Nucleus Smart App, which is a free app that can be downloaded from the Apple Store – or Google Play (for Android).  Once downloaded and paired, I can check my settings, such as volume, sensitivity, treble and bass – or I can change programs or leave it on Scan, which is a special program that listens to the surrounding sounds near me, making adjustments depending on whether there is noise or quiet, speech, music or even wind.

There is also a Hearing Tracker feature, which displays Time in Speech (per day) in which I can tell it to “set a goal” depending on the number of hours I wish to achieve and it will highlight the days I have met the goal.  The other feature in the Hearing Tracker is the Coil-Offs for tracking the number of times the coil was disconnected from the implant each day. 

If I ever misplace my Kanso 2’s, I can tap the “Find my Processor” button to show me the location of my Kanso 2’s to help me find them.  So, there are quite a lot of features in the app that are useful.  But the feature I use the most is the “status” of the batteries, as the Nucleus Smart App can display the amount of charging power remaining in the rechargeables, and it does so by displaying the percentage.  This is a very convenient feature.

Selecting Scan and Forward Focus

I also tested the “Forward Focus” feature, which is also a very effective setting for when I wish to drown out any noise behind me.  So, I placed my back behind the TV, which was playing really loudly, and I had told my spouse to read a paragraph or two out of a book I had grabbed. He read out loud and I started to notice that his voice was in focus while the TV noise was reduced to some degree – but noticeable enough for me to enjoy this feature.

Now, in regards to the Kanso 2’s SmartSound iQ with Scan Technology, I was surprised that I didn’t notice much difference.  I have tested this program by playing loud music from my Amazon Echo to make the Scan recognize music and change settings, and it certainly did so.  Then I would walk away to the dining room and start a conversation with my husband, and the Scan program would automatically change to the Speech setting.  All these changes were happening as I expected them to, but in a very subtle and unnoticeable way.  In fact, the only way I could tell it was changing was because I was looking at the Nucleus Smart app and watching the changes.  Perhaps I should give more time to the Scan feature or bring it to the attention of my Audiologist for enhancement.

Now let me bring up a different aspect about the built-in rechargeables. As mentioned, the rechargeable battery is part of the Kanso 2 — which brought up concerns (to me) about whether or not it would last me all day long.  This is because I didn’t want to have to take off my Kanso 2’s in the middle of the day, or during a meeting, or even late at night while watching a movie.  The difference is that the Kanso 2 would need to be removed to be charged, and I would be left without sound.  However, after doing all the testing, I have come to realize that I am able to wear my processors for 2 days without charging them every single night.  That’s how much power there is in the Kanso 2’s (with my Scan and Mapping programs).  In the case of a power outage or when going camping, I can use the Portable Charger that was included in the upgrade kit.  The portable charger will charge similar to the charger/dryer unit for approximately 3-4 hours, which would give me another 2 days to wear my Kanso 2’s.  If, however, I were to go camping for a whole week, or if the power outage were to last much longer, my back up plan is to use my AC outlet portable power station.  This can be purchased online and is available at outdoors sporting stores.  

Either way, I can tell that the new Kanso 2’s are going to be my new connection to life.  I plan to explore the new features and enjoy the new experiences my Kanso 2’s bring me.  After all, this is the technology I have always dreamed of having, and I couldn’t feel any more grateful to be able to do so.

About the Author

Iraida Franceschi is a boricua wife, mother of two adult daughters, and one of the five Admins of Cochlear Town USA, a closed-group on Facebook.  She mentors and corresponds with other candidates during her spare time.

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.

 

iOS 13 Streaming with Cochlear Nucleus 7 Processors Update

Information for users of direct MFi streaming sound processors:

Since updating to iOS 13, some users of hearing devices with MFi (Made for iPhone) connectivity may be experiencing issues with the connection between their hearing device and their Apple device as well as with streaming quality.

NUCLEUS® 7 OR BAHA® 5 SOUND PROCESSOR USERS

Nucleus® 7 or Baha® 5 Sound Processor users, who have recently updated to iOS 13 (released 20 September 2019) and subsequent updates through to iOS 13.1.2 (released 1 October 2019) may experience the following issues:

  • Issue: The Apple device is not streaming audio to the sound processor.
    We recommend you turn the sound processor off and back on again. If this does not resolve the issue, try unpairing and re-pairing the sound processor to the Apple device.
  • Issue: Various MFi pairing and unpairing issues.
    We recommend unpairing and re-pairing the sound processor. If this does not resolve the issue, try restarting the Apple device and then pair your sound processor.
  • Issue: When using an iPhone, the Keyboard ‘click’ and other device sounds are being streamed to the sound processor. In addition, there is a reduction in the sound processor’s microphone volume.
    We recommend you set the ringer/mute switch on the iPhone to silent while streaming. This stops the device sounds from streaming. Don’t forget to turn the ringer/mute back to audible after you finish streaming.
    or
    Go to Settings> Sounds & Haptics> Keyboard Clicks. Turning this off will stop the keyboard sounds. Repeat this process to turn the keyboard sounds back on again.

Cochlear is working with Apple to resolve these issues. Apple have requested that Cochlear customers report their issues directly to them by sending an email:  accessibility@apple.com

Cochlear Announces MRI-Safe Implant

Cochlear announces the launch of the Nucleus® Profile Plus Series implant, designed for routine 1.5 and 3 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging scans without the need to remove the internal magnet.

Initial availability is in Germany, appearing in other markets pending regulatory approval.

With this announcement, all three major cochlear implant manufacturers offer up to 3T MRI compatibility without removal of the internal magnet.  More information on the differences between options will be forthcoming.

Cochlear Announces Next Phase in Development of Totally Implantable Cochlear Implant Technology

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.

 

Remote Programming for Nucleus Cochlear Implant Systems

telehealth-1

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!

Cochlear Nucleus 7 Introduction

Cochlear Nucleus 7 processor

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.

Cochlear Nucleus 7 Sneak Preview

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.