Why Wait? Hear Now With CI!

Why Wait? Hear Now With CI!

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Cochlear implant technology has evolved significantly in recent years and will continue to grow and change. There are two components to a cochlear implant: the internal part (implant) and the external part (sound processor). Changing to a newer model device or technology is referred to as an upgrade.

Technological and design advances in the future are possible for both the internal and external parts of your cochlear implant. Since changing the internal part requires surgery, internal part enhancements are not typical–repeat surgery to upgrade to new technology is not commonly done and is not the preferred option. In addition, regulatory approval for new implant technology from a manufacturer takes time, due to research and development, as well as meeting the regulations surrounding medical devices. Companies generally only release a new implant every 5 to 10 years.

Enhancements targeting the external part, the sound processor, are more likely when talking about upgrades. Changing the processor is usually quite easy and requires a visit to your audiologist. Cochlear implant manufacturers typically release new technologies for speech processor software and hardware, with some upgrades being more involved than others. The upgrades are therefore not necessarily guaranteed and often also depend on the hospital budget. If you hear that your cochlear implant manufacturer has released a new technology, first ask your audiologist to find out if an enhancement is available to you.

If you are a cochlear implant candidate, and waiting for surgery, you may wonder if its worth waiting for new technological enhancements before getting implanted.

Do not wait. It is possible to experience technological upgrades, even after you have been implanted. In most cases, you will be able to access new technological advancements from your cochlear implant manufacturer even being a current implant user as the most common upgrades are to the software or model of speech processor.

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