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Innovative Cochlear Implant Enables Direct Android Connectivity

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 24 Jun 2019
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Image: The Nucleus Profile Plus Series cochlear implant (Photo courtesy of Cochlear).
Image: The Nucleus Profile Plus Series cochlear implant (Photo courtesy of Cochlear).
A new cochlear implant hearing aid offers easier access to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and expanded connectivity to Android smartphones via Google direct streaming.

The Cochlear (Centennial, CO, USA) Nucleus Profile Plus Implant with the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor allows users access to direct streaming with a compatible android phone, dependent upon implementation of Google Audio Streaming for Hearing Aids (ASHA) protocol into the handsets. Users can also connect to their implanted hearing aid using the Nucleus smart app, which allows them to control, monitor, and customize hearing settings, view personalized hearing information, and even locate a missing sound processor, all from the convenience of their smartphone.

Other features include Hearing Tracker, which records coil-offs time and time in speech (the amount of time spent in speech environments, including FM radio and streaming audio); and ForwardFocus, a user-activated algorithm that reduces distracting noise coming from behind a person so they can more easily enjoy a face-to-face conversation. The implant is designed so that cochlear implant recipients have safe access to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, without the need to remove the internal magnet or shielding the implant. In case it is required the magnet is still accessible for removal, if needed.

“For more than two decades, Cochlear has been pleased to provide Nucleus Cochlear Implant recipients with access to MRIs. Now, with the approval of the Nucleus Profile Plus Implant, we are able to provide our cochlear implant recipients MRI access without the need to remove the internal magnet or needing a head wrap,” said Tony Manna, president of Cochlear Americas. “We are delivering this new innovation without sacrificing our longstanding cochlear implant reliability track record, our thin implant design, and the easy to access magnet that ensures our recipients have continued MRI access now and in the future.”

In a normal ear, sound vibrations in the air lead to resonant vibrations of the basilar membrane inside the cochlea. The movement of hair cells, located all along the basilar membrane, creates an electrical disturbance that can be picked up by the surrounding nerve cells, allowing the brain to interpret the nerve activity and determine what sound frequency is being heard. The cochlear implant bypasses the hair cells and stimulates the cochlear nerves directly using electrical impulses. This allows the brain to interpret the frequency of sound as it would if the hair cells of the basilar membrane were functioning properly.

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