Home Academia & Research New for iOS Devices: a Cochlear Implant Sound Processor

New for iOS Devices: a Cochlear Implant Sound Processor

by Shelley D. Hutchins
iPhone 7 plus against white background

Apple has teamed with the Cochlear company to create a cochlear implant (CI) sound processor for iPhones, iPads or iPodTouches. According to an article on ZDNet—a business technology news website—the device is set for release in September for new CI recipients in Canada and the United States. A month later, the device will be available to some existing CI wearers. The processor, called Nucleus 7, comes with a companion mobile application, as well as a bimodal version for people with a CI in one ear and a hearing aid in the other.

The Nucleus Sound Processor eliminates the need for an interstitial device by streaming sound directly from an iPhone into the wearer’s implant. This direct streaming works for phone calls as well as FaceTime, YouTube or other video playback, alerts and alarms, game sounds, and just about anything else in use on the iOS device.

The Nucleus Smart App offers features including the ability to find implant coils when they’re not being worn, track coil-off time, and optimize the sound processor for different types of noise based on the wearer’s usage patterns.

More on advancements in hearing assistive technology:

Five experts in hearing-assistive technology predict where innovation is headed—and it seems much of it revolves around the device in your pocket.

Like it or not, people with hearing loss are using personal sound amplification products. A cadre of audiologists says the profession needs to embrace the devices as part of patient-centered care.

Recent technological advancements that integrate CIs with hearing aids have widened the pool of candidates for implantation.

Victor Rodrigues, chief software architect for Australia-based Cochlear, worked with Apple to develop the processor.

“We’ve been working with them to make sure that our technology got to a point where we both agreed it was the right fit and we’re excited it’s materialised,” Rodrigues says in the ZDNet article.

Apple is “very big in the accessibility space, they have a lot of technology that takes care of users in this space. They have been such an awesome collaborator … they look out for their end-users as well.”

Shelley D. Hutchins is content editor/producer for The ASHA Leader. shutchins@asha.org.

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