CI Companies

Carsten

New Member
I know this question has been done to death on this forum, but I would still like to do it again.

I'm 27, I started loosing my hearing at 11 I was fitted with hearing aids, but I am now at a point where they don't do anything for me anymore.

So to my question... I am facing getting a CI if I wish to keep any semblance oh hearing, my audi has suggested either Advanced Bionics or Cochlear N5.
I have done quite a lot of reading on both brands they both seem to have their share of advocates.
My research of Cochlear suggests on the technology front they haven't released anything truly new in a long time, the implant is about tapped out on future capability for processor upgrades, but they do have the reputation and reliability factor going for them.
AB seems to have the better tech front of the two for future upgrades, and the fact they have been working with phonak impresses me.
I know AB has had a few recalls but really that does not bother me given the stats of 2 in 28000 causing a severe problem.

I would like peoples opinions on both of these brands especially people that have had one brand then been re-implanted with another and also any other relevant facts that might be useful from anyone at all.

I have to say at the moment I am leaning towards AB from much of what I read about them.
I have asked the surgeon that will be doing the surgery what she thinks of both brands her reply was "I have more experience with Cochlear but either brand will do an excellent job"

I know opinion on these matters is always subjective so just any opinions anyone has would be really great.
 

cdmeggers

Well-Known Member
Cochlear recently had a recall with their internal N5 device... not sure if FDA has reapproved that yet or if Cochlear is still sending the internal N24 implants out along with the N5 external device.

I have AB, and I chose AB because of the technology and the fact that they do come up with new speech processing strategies and all that. I personally felt they were more advanced technology-wise than Cochlear, and with AB working with Phonak, that was just a bonus for me. I'm really eager to learn more about the new Naida Q CI which should be available this coming summer. I've only had my CI for a year now, but I'm quite happy with it.

Some people are happy with their AB's, others are happy with their Cochlear's, etc. I know of a couple online who both have CI's... the wife has bilateral AB's, and her husband has bilateral Cochlear's... and she says her husband wishes he had gone with AB instead. Guess he was more impressed with his wife's progress with the AB than he was with his Cochlear's.

They all work, it's just a matter of what features and technology that appeals to you. :) There is one person on here who has both Cochlear and AB... One of his AB devices failed, but AB was under a recall at the time he underwent implantation, so he was reimplanted with the N5 from Cochlear. Surely he'll chime in.
 

Carsten

New Member
Interesting reply..
In my original post I also meant to say, I had seen AB were coming out with a new implant this year? Not just a new processor but a new implant, but I can't find any news on this does anyone know anything?

The same for Cochlear as well, I read somewhere they also have a new Implant coming?
 

cdmeggers

Well-Known Member
from my understanding the new AB internal implant is the same as the previous, just a change to the electrode array (mid-scala electrode designed to preserve residual hearing), already approved in Europe and Canada. When you go to the AB site, choose the Global edition, as the US site still doesn't have much new info since we're still waiting on the FDA's approval. The Cochlear Implant Technology Innovation Leader | Advanced Bionics. Have no clue on the status of any of the new devices/products for Australia.

As for Cochlear... I have no idea. I'm only aware of a new N6 processor coming out, but know nothing about a new internal implant.
 

Carsten

New Member
The HiRes 90k advance implant is already being used here, I know that for sure, but I thought there was a entire new generation implant coming from AB but maybe the advance is what I was reading about.

I drive by the Cochlear factory most days on the way to work, I would love to go in and talk to them but the place is so secure there is no way of getting in.
 

DeafAlex

New Member
AB's new processor will be out this summer in the US, already out in UK and Canada.

Since you were born hearing and were HOH most of your life, I recommend AB for you. Cochlear is really best suited for those born deaf, as it does not provide the rich hearing experience late-deafened remember.
 

HOH-ME

Member
I'm also in the process of selecting a CI and from my research, I agree with Alex. For those that have never had hearing or have had very limited hearing Cochlear work fine. For those that have had hearing and know what sounds are supposed to sound like, Med-El or AB are better choices. AB has a new electrode, as other's have said, and it's anticipate FDA approval in the US this summer. I go for my follow-up eval appointments this week and I will be asking about that. I see the audi tomorrow so hopefully I will get some info from her. If I do I will pass it along.

I am leaning toward the AB with the Med-el in second. I have decided that Cochlear isn't even in the running any longer.
 

Carsten

New Member
I'm also in the process of selecting a CI and from my research, I agree with Alex. For those that have never had hearing or have had very limited hearing Cochlear work fine. For those that have had hearing and know what sounds are supposed to sound like, Med-El or AB are better choices. AB has a new electrode, as other's have said, and it's anticipate FDA approval in the US this summer. I go for my follow-up eval appointments this week and I will be asking about that. I see the audi tomorrow so hopefully I will get some info from her. If I do I will pass it along.

I am leaning toward the AB with the Med-el in second. I have decided that Cochlear isn't even in the running any longer.
From interest, what is it about Med-El that is attracting you? Personally they never entered into my considerations.
 

green427

Active Member
Ask your surgeon which brand he recommends.

Some recommend one brand based on experience with certain patients.

Some recommend one brand based on how many freebies they get (common in the USA).

It is just like deciding which is better: Ford or Holden? Both will get you from here to there.....
 

cdmeggers

Well-Known Member
AB's Neptune was just approved for use in Australia, so who knows when Australia will get the new Naida CI processor.
 

cdmeggers

Well-Known Member
Australia only recently (in the last few years) started implanting AB if I remember that right. They were sticking to Cochlear for a long time, as Cochlear is based in Australia. No idea if they do Med-El or not. Australia generally get the newest Cochlear products first (then the rest of the world will eventually get the new stuff after approval in different countries).


This is the Australian AB site: http://www.advancedbionics.com.au/home.php
 

Carsten

New Member
I did ask and pros and cons of different brands, they only said they have more experience with cochlesr, but they haver been doing AB now for 3 years and have had very good results with their products, especially in post lingual deaf people.

My understanding on the Neptune when AB brought their products to Australia they anticipated that it wouldn't be wanted here, but after finding there was they sought approval for it which was pretty quick in coming, so I dare say the new processor will be as well, but even if it's not I make 3 trips a year to LA, I can easily update it there.
Also about Cochlear I would be happy to use them if they actually had any new technology, right now they have been using the same basic implant since the 90's even though it is smaller now. Nothing I read shows any leaps forward.
I actually would like to use them being an Australian company but just can't justify it.
 

cdmeggers

Well-Known Member
That was how I felt about Cochlear... they are always repackaging their products, but not really that much improving of their products going on. And for a while, my friend (she only has hearing aids and does extremely well with them) felt like Cochlear was focusing more on their BAHA's instead of the CI as well. I'm sure Cochlear has a great product, but I just feel they're outdated. I'm quite excited about the new BTE processor from AB, as they've incorporated some of Phonak's technology into the design. Wireless capabilities between the new BTE and newer Phonak hearing aids (for those who are bi-modal) would be awesome.

It's good AB was able to bring Neptune to Australia, and hopefully they won't wait so long on bringing the new Naida CI there too, for those who want AB and to be able to take advantage of the newer processors.
 

HOH-ME

Member
From interest, what is it about Med-El that is attracting you? Personally they never entered into my considerations.
The softer electrode is what attracted me to Med-El. The first clinic I went to only deals with Cochlear and Med-El and I liked Med-El better than Cochlear. I am going to a different clinic, tomorrow actually, and they deal with all 3 brands. I am leaning toward the AB right now but I've never seen it in person yet. I would like the best chance to preserve my residual hearing and the best chance of being able to enjoy and appreciate music. Cochlear just doesn't have the track record for either of those. AB has the "best" technology in their design and it seems to be the one engineers would pick or do pick. My decision rests on talking to the audi and surgeon about their experiences with all the brands and more so if it's worth waiting for the new implant AB has in the pipline that is rumored to be approved in the US this summer.
 

Paullys50

Member
From interest, what is it about Med-El that is attracting you? Personally they never entered into my considerations.
Why wouldn't you consider Med-El?

I went with Med-El (implanted 2/27/2013, activated 3/26/2013), and interestingly enough I passed by them originally too. Guess I got caught up in all the marketing hype that comes along with CI implants. I was all about AB until I talked with the surgeon and the CI audi. Then when I felt all three in my hands, the choice for me was obvious.

The surgeon talked about the variation of trauma a patient would experience during the implant surgery. Med-El being the smallest implant and the most flexible allows for the least trauma. Granted, CI surgery is so common that "trauma" probably isn't all that different, but it was his two cents.

The audi talked about abilities, they felt Cochlear was really good at background noise reduction, and that Med-El was really good if you were trying to achieve sound localization with bilateral hearing. Since I have some hearing in my right hear, localization is important, and at some point in the future I know my right ear will fail and I will be bi-lateral. So again that was important. Also talked about various sound processing strategies (which I simply cannot even remember the details of that conversation to repeat here), not to say one was better than the other, but I just leaned towards Med-El after that conversation.

Finally I held each in my head, and I liked the sleek feel of the BTE from Med-El. No buttons, no nonsense. The D-Coil is extremely thin which is important for me because I do need to wear a hard hat on occasion for work, my plan is to wear a head band to hold the coil in place and act as a cushion for the hard hat straps. I felt a thicker coil would make this awkward. The BTE was the smallest of all three, and because I couldn't touch the new BTE from AB I was not going to speculate. I like the battery options for Med-El's BTE, due to my work I can have long days and while 16 hours on the rechargeable is great, knowing I can go with the 675 batteries for days of use was a nice option. No fuse with re-charging, just go.

I really wanted the T-Mic feature from AB, that was probably the one thing that was hard to let go of.

I am a little nervous about the small user base of Med-El in the States, but at the end of the day as someone mentioned, it's like a car all three will work and I'm can't imagine anyone trying to compare these implants by stating one is a family sedan, one is a sports car and one is a luxury car. All three are family sedans, just need to decide on the options.

EDIT: Also liked the prospect of the Rondo processor. Not sure if I will get one until I see it, but it's an all-in-one unit which tells me Med-El is pushing the envelop when it comes to design and what they can/can't do. Hopefully they will have one I can see during my next mapping at the end of April.
 

Attachments

DeafAlex

New Member
Why wouldn't you consider Med-El?

I went with Med-El (implanted 2/27/2013, activated 3/26/2013), and interestingly enough I passed by them originally too. Guess I got caught up in all the marketing hype that comes along with CI implants. I was all about AB until I talked with the surgeon and the CI audi. Then when I felt all three in my hands, the choice for me was obvious.

The surgeon talked about the variation of trauma a patient would experience during the implant surgery. Med-El being the smallest implant and the most flexible allows for the least trauma. Granted, CI surgery is so common that "trauma" probably isn't all that different, but it was his two cents.

The audi talked about abilities, they felt Cochlear was really good at background noise reduction, and that Med-El was really good if you were trying to achieve sound localization with bilateral hearing. Since I have some hearing in my right hear, localization is important, and at some point in the future I know my right ear will fail and I will be bi-lateral. So again that was important. Also talked about various sound processing strategies (which I simply cannot even remember the details of that conversation to repeat here), not to say one was better than the other, but I just leaned towards Med-El after that conversation.

Finally I held each in my head, and I liked the sleek feel of the BTE from Med-El. No buttons, no nonsense. The D-Coil is extremely thin which is important for me because I do need to wear a hard hat on occasion for work, my plan is to wear a head band to hold the coil in place and act as a cushion for the hard hat straps. I felt a thicker coil would make this awkward. The BTE was the smallest of all three, and because I couldn't touch the new BTE from AB I was not going to speculate. I like the battery options for Med-El's BTE, due to my work I can have long days and while 16 hours on the rechargeable is great, knowing I can go with the 675 batteries for days of use was a nice option. No fuse with re-charging, just go.

I really wanted the T-Mic feature from AB, that was probably the one thing that was hard to let go of.

I am a little nervous about the small user base of Med-El in the States, but at the end of the day as someone mentioned, it's like a car all three will work and I'm can't imagine anyone trying to compare these implants by stating one is a family sedan, one is a sports car and one is a luxury car. All three are family sedans, just need to decide on the options.

EDIT: Also liked the prospect of the Rondo processor. Not sure if I will get one until I see it, but it's an all-in-one unit which tells me Med-El is pushing the envelop when it comes to design and what they can/can't do. Hopefully they will have one I can see during my next mapping at the end of April.
There's pics of the Rondo on a child's head in the thread titled "Medel - Rondo Info".
 

NaidaUP

Well-Known Member
There's pics of the Rondo on a child's head in the thread titled "Medel - Rondo Info".
The new Rondo processor looks way too thick to wear a hat and won't the mic then be under the hat as well? Is the Rondo the processor you get activated with?
 

Paullys50

Member
The new Rondo processor looks way too thick to wear a hat and won't the mic then be under the hat as well? Is the Rondo the processor you get activated with?

You get your choice of the BTE (Opus 2) or Rondo. You get two processors, so I have two BTEs but I can exchange one for the Rondo if I so choose. Certainly won't fit under a ball cap. Considering it's the first of it's kind, can't complain too much IMO.
 
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