Cochlear Nucleus 7 Sound Processor | Cochlear Implant Processor Review

By: Dr Cliff Olson
June 5, 2019
Video Transcript

When your hearing loss has reached a point where hearing aids don't work anymore, there is a good chance you will be a Cochlear Implant candidate.  If you are in the process of receiving a Cochlear Implant, you are going to have to make a decision on which Cochlear Implant Manufacturer's processor meets your needs best.

The Cochlear Nucleus 7 processor is an impressive piece of technology, but no processor works without the actual implant.  Their newest Profile Implant has 22 electrodes and is one of the thinnest in the industry at 0.3mm at the tip and 0.6 mm at the base.  Just like other implant manufacturers, their processors are extremely durable and backwards compatible so it will work with future generations of processors.  Cochlear also has an off-the-ear processor called the Kanso, but that is a topic for another video.

For right now, let's take a look at the cool features of the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor.

#1. Is the Bluetooth -  The Nucleus 7 can directly connect with an Apple iPhone.  Cochlear is the only implant manufacturer that offers this feature.  This allows you to stream all audio directly from your Apple devices into your Nucleus 7 processor.  If you have a hearing aid on the other ear (bimodal), then you will be able to stream audio directly into that at the same time as long as it is a ReSound hearing aid.  Bluetooth also lets you stream from other remote accessories like a TV streamer, Phone Clip, and Mini Microphone 2+.

#2. The Nucleus Smart App - The Nucleus 7 Sound Processor also has an App that lets you change Volume, microphone sensitivity, programs, find a lost processor, check battery life, and check the status of your processor.  Basically, it turns your phone into a remote control on steroids.

#3. The SCAN Program with SmartSound iQ - SCAN stands for Scene Analysis.  This allows your Processor to automatically change into program settings best for that environment.  It has 6 scenes: Quiet, Noise, Speech in Noise, Wind, & Music.  Using the dual microphones on the Nucleus 7 processor it can result in a 28% better speech understanding in Background Noise.

#4. Accessories - The Nucleus 7 comes with 4 accessories (not including a remote control).  You can choose from a Mini Microphone 2+, Phone Clip, TV Streamer, Retention devices, Extra batteries and chargers, and an Aqua Kit.  However the best accessory is the Plus One Program.  This program lets you delay getting one of your accessories for a year until you get some experience with your Sound Processor.

As cool as the Nucleus 7 Cochlear Implant Sound Processor is, there are a few things that I would like to see Cochlear do.

#1. Make it CROS compatible - If a hearing aid doesn't provide you much benefit on the non-implanted ear, then you could receive more benefit from a CROS transmitter on that side.  This way, you can send sound from your bad side into your Nucleus 7 processor so you can actually understand speech from that side.  This will also preserve the cochlea on that side in case you consider alternative treatment options in the future instead of getting implanted in both ears.

#2.  Direct Android Compatibility - While I do own an iPhone, I personally prefer Android devices.  However you cannot stream audio directly into your Nucleus 7 processor from an Android device.  If you are an Android user, you will have to make a possibly even more difficult decision than getting an implant.  You will have to decide if switching to an Apple device is worth it.

Overall, the Cochlear Nucleus 7 Sound Processor is a fantastic option for anyone considering a cochlear implant.  As always, I highly recommend you research all of your implant options before deciding on which manufacturer to ultimately go with, but if you want a reliable Cochlear Implant with a Sound Processor that is loaded with amazing features, you may want to strongly consider placing the Nucleus 7 near the top of your list.

Dr. Cliff's Thoughts
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