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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
The 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.
The 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.
The 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.
SONNET 2 Next Generation Audio Processor with MAESTRO 8 Software Now Available from MED-EL USA
Processor Pairs to New Remote Options AudioKey App and FineTuner Echo for Optimal Control and Connectivity
January 6, 2020 – (DURHAM, NC) – MED-EL USA announced today that the new SONNET 2 audio processor is now available. Because MED-EL cochlear implants are engineered for future-readiness, recipients with any MED-EL internal system can enjoy the benefits of the new SONNET 2. The processors are programmed using the recently FDA-approved MAESTRO 8 software that has been optimized for audiologists with guided workflows that show each step in the fitting process, suggesting tasks and tools along the way. The updated software also includes extended data logging functions for hearing health professionals.
SONNET 2 connects to smartphones and tablets using Bluetooth and the new AudioLink device, which is also now available, so that users can stream phone calls and music wirelessly to their ears. Users can choose how they would like to change settings: either from the AudioKey app (available for both iPhones and Android devices) or the FineTuner Echo remote control, both of which were also launched today.
Both the AudioKey app and the FineTuner Echo enable recipients to adjust the volume and switch between programs on their SONNET 2. AudioKey offers a number of family-friendly tools including a special “find my processor” feature that allows users to locate a missing SONNET 2 processor with a near-field search within one meter. With the industry-leading “Guardian Role” function, adults can adjust the settings on a child’s audio processor from a phone and keep a record of their hearing statistics. AudioKey is the only app that allows parents to pair more than one audio processor with their phone, which is ideal if they have multiple children with cochlear implants. AudioKey is also the only app where parents and guardians can assign different levels of control to multiple people, so that every caregiver (including teachers, daycare sitters, grandparents, and even the user as they mature) can observe, control or administrate the recipient’s processors from their own phones.
For recipients who prefer an independent remote control, the new pocket-size FineTuner Echo offers an intuitive display screen that makes it simple to adjust settings, and an e-ink display that makes the screen easy to read on sunny days. The FineTuner Echo allows users to test the microphones of their or their child’s audio processor to quickly check if a device is working correctly.
“The seamless compatibility between SONNET 2, FineTuner Echo and AudioKey offers our cochlear implant users the latest in audio processing technology and wireless connectivity,” said Raymond Gamble, President & CEO, MED-EL North America. “We are particularly excited about family-friendly features like ‘Find my Processor’ and ‘Guardian Role’ that can help alleviate some of the more stressful scenarios for parents of children with cochlear implants. We also know that the unique ability to pair AudioKey to more than one audio processor is a real benefit to families with more than one MED-EL recipient.”
For more information about SONNET 2, FineTuner Echo, AudioKey or any of MED-EL’s products, visit https://www.JourneytoBetterHearing.com/.
MED-EL Medical Electronics, a leader in implantable hearing solutions, is driven by a mission to overcome hearing loss as a barrier to communication. The Austrian-based, privately owned business was co-founded by industry pioneers Ingeborg and Erwin Hochmair, whose ground-breaking research led to the development of the world’s first microelectronic multi-channel cochlear implant (CI), which was successfully implanted in 1977 and was the basis for what is known as the modern CI today. This laid the foundation for the successful growth of the company in 1990, when they hired their first employees. To date, MED-EL has grown to more than 2,000 employees and 30 locations worldwide.
The company offers the widest range of implantable and non-implantable solutions to treat all types of hearing loss, enabling people in 123 countries to enjoy the gift of hearing with the help of a MED-EL device. MED-EL’s hearing solutions include cochlear and middle ear implant systems, a combined Electric Acoustic Stimulation hearing implant system as well as surgical and non-surgical bone conduction systems. www.medel.com
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!
Canada Health has approved the SONNET 2 and SONNET 2 EAS processors for MED-EL. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available!
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.
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.
The 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.
The 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:
- DECT Phone
- Roger Pen
- Roger 17
- Roger Clip-on mic
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.
Stäfa (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.