It has been seven years since I first got the Cochlear™ Nucleus® Freedom® Sound Processor, and my heart was screaming now to upgrade. Since first experiencing hearing loss nineteen years ago and becoming a Nucleus® Implant recipient in 1997, I’ve already gone through two technology upgrades where each time there were good, welcome advancements. The current Freedom Sound Processor served its purpose quite well when I last upgraded to it in 2008, and I must say I got a quite a bit of mileage out of it. However, after so long it was beginning to show its age, and I was ready to move to the next model. It was a long wait but finally last October the announcement finally came that the new Cochlear™ Nucleus® 6 Sound Processor upgrade for Nucleus® 22 Implant recipients was ready!
After dealing with fun health insurance plan hurdles, my order was shipped. It arrived in an interesting mini-treasure chest of a case; and it reminded me of a case I used to carry with my books as a six-year-old, first grader, but I digress. After meeting with my audiologist and programming the new device, I was relieved to get back to good, clean, new device sound and feel. I felt a difference as soon as I got back in my car and hit the highway to go home.
In a week’s time, I found three major things that made this new Nucleus 6 Sound Processor upgrade totally worth it. First, I was impressed at the average number of hours I was getting from the standard rechargeable batteries – eighteen hours! This is much higher than estimates I was given and easily more than the twelve hours I averaged with the Freedom Sound Processor rechargeable batteries. I have yet to try out the disposable battery life, but I’m sure it will be fine.
The second great thing is the smaller size and thinness compared to the Freedom Sound Processor. I recently got some trendy eyeglasses that happen to be thick around the ears. The Freedom Sound Processor competed for space, but the Nucleus 6 Sound Processor fits right in and even seems to be more subtle and concealed.
Finally, the best feature is this new SCAN program. With the Freedom Sound Processor, I was constantly flipping between three different MAPs (programs) to adjust to different environments. I’m very picky with the settings and want the best setup for every environment. On the Nucleus 6 Sound Processor, I could literally ‘set it and forget it’ on the SCAN MAP. It so intelligently figures out and detects what is unwanted environmental noise and brings those levels down. I’m very sensitive to noise and loudness, so things like running fans, car noise on highways, restaurants, busy public places, etc. are easily compensated for by this SCAN program; so there is no more fiddling with the switches or worse telling someone to hold their thought while I adjust the settings. I even keep the sensitivity and volume fairly constant at 8 and 4 respectively. Right now I’m trying out familiar music to see what sounds I can pick up more with the Nucleus 6 Sound Processor based on how I remember the songs from before I had originally lost my natural hearing. So far things are looking up, and I’m even noticing being able to pick up some additional detail in newer music that I didn’t notice before. Good work, Cochlear!