Since the Nucleus 7 was first launched in 2017 as the world's first Made for iPhone cochlear implant sound processor**, Cochlear has been working to extend the benefits to Android smartphone users.
"Embracing digital technologies that enhance the experience and hearing performance for our customers is a key focus of our product innovation," said Tony Manna, President, Cochlear Americas. "With the launch of the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor last year, we were the first in our industry to introduce a Made for iPhone cochlear implant sound processor, still the only one to offer direct streaming to a compatible Apple device. Now we are pleased to offer Android users the ability to use the Nucleus Smart App to track their hearing and access new features. We are committed to giving people who are living with disabling hearing loss greater choices when it comes to controlling their hearing experience."
Along with the release of the Nucleus Smart App for Android, Cochlear has also added a first-of-its-kind control feature called ForwardFocus*** available to compatible smartphone users of the app. The user-activated control feature allows the wearer to hear better in a challenging listening environment such as a noisy restaurant. When switched on, the ForwardFocus feature reduces distracting noise coming from behind a person so they can more easily enjoy a face-to-face conversation.
The Nucleus Smart App, which is exclusively compatible with the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor, offers a range of features for users. From locating a lost or misplaced sound processor using the Find My Processor feature, to confidently tracking progress with the Hearing Tracker feature, or reducing noise from behind with the ForwardFocus feature, users can experience unprecedented connectivity and performance in managing their hearing.
"We live in a world where consumers expect to be easily connected to technology, and consumers should expect to get innovative, accessible technology out of their medical devices too," said Patricia Trautwein, AuD, Vice President, Marketing and Product Management, Cochlear Americas. "At Cochlear, we are proud to be the first in the hearing implant industry to provide convenient monitoring tools and direct connectivity to smartphones. We want our recipients to be able to take control of their hearing performance like they may do already with their fitness and health and how they are accustomed to connecting with their other consumer electronics."
In addition to the new connectivity and performance features, the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor will be available for the first time to people with a Nucleus 24 Series Implant (CI24R/CI24M).This means thousands more people from all over the world living with disabling hearing loss will be able to experience the innovative Nucleus 7 Sound Processor technology for the first time. The Nucleus 7 received international acknowledgement from leading design and technology award bodies, including a Red Dot for Product Design 2018 and a Good Design Award® Best in Class.
Availability of the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor differs from country to country. The anticipated availability of the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor for Nucleus 24 Series Implant recipients, Android compatibility with the Nucleus Smart App and ForwardFocus in the United States and Canada is late summer 2018.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the impact of hearing loss is substantial around the world and in the United States. Hearing loss affects 466 million people worldwide and almost 50 million Americans. These figures are projected to grow to 900 million with one in every 10 people around the globe having hearing loss by 2050. There are approximately 72 million people who could potentially benefit from the use of a hearing device, such as a cochlear implant or a hearing aid. Cochlear implants are the only proven medical treatment option for those with severe to profound hearing loss.
* The Nucleus Smart App is compatible with iPhone 5 (or later) and iPod 6th generation devices (or later) running iOS 10.0 or later. To use the Nucleus Smart App for Android, your device will need to run Android 5.0 (Lollipop) or later and support Bluetooth 4.0 or later. For a list of verified devices, visit http://www.nucleussmartapp.com/android.
** The Nucleus 7 Sound Processor is compatible with iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone SE, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5, iPad Pro (12.9-inch), iPad Pro (9.7-inch), iPad Air 2, iPad Air, iPad mini 4, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 2, iPad mini, iPad (4th generation) and iPod touch (6th generation) using iOS 10.0 or later.
*** ForwardFocus can only be enabled by a hearing implant specialist. It should only be activated for users 12 years and older who are able to reliably provide feedback on sound quality and understand how to use the feature when moving to different or changing environments. It may be possible to have decreased speech understanding when using ForwardFocus in a quiet environment.