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Cochlear Nucleus 6 Speech Processor

The Nucleus 6 Cochlear Implant processor has just been released. I currently have excellent sound with my Nucleus 5 Cochlear Implant processors, so why am I going to upgrade for the third time?

When I had my first implant the Cochlear Implant Speech G3 processor used analogue technology. I upgraded to a digital Freedom processor and this gave me better sound quality. Then I upgraded to the Nucleus 5 which gave me even better sound quality, particularly in noisy environments. It was also so much smaller and my ears hurt less. I have excellent sound, particularly in my usual day to day life work, family and home activities.

The Nucleus 6 processor is being released this week (Nov-13) in Adelaide and I’m going to the launch to find out more about it and why I would want/need it. However, I asked two people what they think. They have been the ‘guinea pigs’ testing this N6 system for the past couple of years.

“I regularly get asked about what are the benefits of upgrading to Nucleus 6, so I am going to share my experiences with you. The things important to me are the benefits I get from the new features and improved technology.”

The N6 processor feels slightly lighter– “this means it is easier to wear.”
Battery power consumption is slightly better – “so my rechargeable batteries last longer”.
The telecoil function is improved –“ making it easier to hear on the telephone”.
It has greater water repellent qualities –“ thus it is better protected should it get wet”.
More robust buttons -“this means I can feel them easier.”
There are two remote assistants – giving choice about how to control the processors. “they really take it all to another level.”
It performs better in noise., “It has enhanced my ability to hear in nearly ALL noise environments, a lot of places I could not handle are now back on :- Churches/Funerals, Restaurants are now 'dooable' as I can handle all the associated noises, but the BIGGEST improvement for me is I can now stay 'inside' the pre school (where I volunteer) for extended times whereas before I only lasted 5 minutes.”
N6 is Wireless Ready and is 5 times more powerful than previous processors. Cochlear says “Soon” the N6 will directly connect recipients to a wide range of 2.4GHz Wireless Devices. This means recipients can use Bluetooth-enabled devices without connecting accessory cords or neck loops.
The N6 keeps a record of the programs you use– “my audiologist can better program it for me for personal listening environments.”

But the GREATEST BENEFIT is the new SmartSound2. “Every second of your day your processor automatically scans your environment and adjusts programs. It does all of this without you needing to do a thing. It senses what listening environment you are in and adjusts your programs. This is a huge benefit especially for people who don’t want to worry about carrying and using their remote assistant. It’s also a fantastic benefit for children and seniors who may not be as technically minded and this way it is helping to make LIFE so much easier.”

“Let me explain:
If you are using EVERYDAY (HOME program) when you are at home and in quiet and then step outside or go into a Café or noisy Restaurant, it automatically adjusts your processor as the listening environment changes. “

If MUSIC is playing, it will automatically adjust to MUSIC program. ”I could not 'hear' or define the lyrics of songs clearly on my car nor could I be bothered trying to listen to ABC Radio at home, but now, that's ALL in the past....The ABC is on at home and car around the clock and when I want my country music, I play it......so it’s fair to expect you will hear it all clearer and more defined with the N6.”
So, will I upgrade. My opinion is that now
I hear with implants I MUST hear the best I possibly can and this means upgrading with new technologies. Every generation of processors improves and brings my hearing closer to normal and I want that.

Acknowledgement: Thanks Bob and Faye for sharing their experiences.

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