The next generation cochlear implant processor has been rolled out by Advanced Bionics, enhanced with Phonak’s high-performance hearing aid technology, achieving an industry first in bimodal technology. The processor will be launched in the UK within the next few weeks, so it will be some time before it is actually available as the audiology clinicians will require training prior to provision – this processor has the most exciting list of goodies!
The new processor is 40% smaller than the Harmony, Advanced Bionic’s previous BTE processor – in the photo below, the Harmony is on the left, a hearing aid is on the right, and the new processor is in the middle. It’s thinner and lighter – it is smaller in size, but larger than life in performance. The processor is available in lots of colourways.
UltraZoom - The user can focus on a speaker in front of them in a noisy environment.
ClearVoice - Sound is automatically analysed to filter out environmental sounds from the speech signal, improving understanding of speech in noise by up to 55%.
The SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio) is how much louder a voice is in relation to other background noise. Children need a speaker to be 15 decibels louder than background noise in order to be easily understood. Adults only need a SNR increase of 4 to 6 decibels. When UltraZoom is used with ClearVoice by a unilateral user, up to 6.5 dB SNR is obtained. The future capability of these combined features mean bilateral users will benefit with up to 70% improvement in understanding speech in noise.
HiRes Optima - Advanced Bionics’ newest sound processing strategy optimises battery life.
T-Mic - The unique T-mic is a microphone situated at the ear canal, utilizing the ear’s natural capability to gather sound for optimal listening.
HiRes Fidelity 120 - This is the only sound strategy in the cochlear implant industry that uses 120 spectral bands to deliver five times more sound resolution than any other cochlear implant processor. This means sounds are richer, fuller, and more natural.
AutoSound - The widest range of sounds, from softest to loudest, up to 80 IDR (Input Dynamic Range), are automatically adjusted to.
Matt has a Harmony processor, a Oticon Safari 900 SP hearing aid, and an iConnect. He wants to pair his laptop to his Harmony via Bluetooth – he hates wires everywhere and wants to do his auditory rehabilitation at his desk in a noisy open plan office. The easiest solution for Matt is to use a Phonak Smartlink with an MLXi FM receiver, but this is expensive. To access Bluetooth, the iConnect is needed to attach the processor to cables, neck loop, or Bluetooth headphones. Advanced Bionics advised Matt that the best solution is to upgrade to a Phonak hearing aid and the new Advanced Bionics processor with all its connectivity options…..
Phonak ComPilot - With the ComPilot, Matt can link wirelessly to a wide variety of devices such as mobile phones, computers, Bluetooth, media players, TVs, navigation systems, and FM systems.
Phonak RemoteMic - Speech is streamed directly and wirelessly to both ears, making it easier for Matt to listen to speech in noisy places.
Phonak TVLink - Audio is streamed directly to Matt’s cochlear implant processor so he can listen to the TV.
Advanced Bionics myPilot - With this remote control, Matt can change his processor settings.
*** Bimodal Technology ***
For the first time, Matt is able to wirelessly and simultaneously stream sound to a Phonak hearing aid and an Advanced Bionics cochlear implant processor. This is a hugely exciting stride forward in cochlear implant technology, merging the technologies available from Phonak and Advanced Bionics.
The new cochlear implant processor is very exciting for bilateral listeners – such as me! Phonak Binaural VoiceStream Technology™ will allow me to hear speech and phone calls, adjust volume, and change programs – simultaneously.
ZoomControl - I will be able to focus on a speaker situated on either side of me, to help me hear better in noisy places.
DuoPhone - My phone calls can be automatically streamed to both ears so I can hear voices in stereo, with a higher level of speech perception from binaural hearing.
QuickSync - Both processors can be adjusted instantly at the same time.
There is yet more to come from Advanced Bionics – WindBlock, EchoBlock, and SoundRelax.Cochlear implant processors are entering an exciting phase of development as all manufacturers are expected to come out with new processors this year.
Watch this space!