Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH), the global leader in implantable hearing solutions, has today announced the release of the Nucleus® Smart App for Android, offering greater connectivity than ever before for people in the UK living with disabling hearing loss.

Users of the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor can now control their hearing with the Nucleus Smart App* from a compatible Android device. Users may also access a range of new features such as the ability to ‘switch off’ distracting background noise and focus on the conversation in front of them. From locating a lost or misplaced sound processor using the Find My Processor feature, through to confidently tracking progress with the Hearing Tracker feature, users can experience unprecedented connectivity and performance.

Jan Janssen, Chief Technology Officer, Cochlear explained that since the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor was first launched in 2017 as the world’s first Made for iPhone cochlear implant sound processor,1*** Cochlear has been working to extend the benefits of its industry leading technology to Android smartphone users, and bring new features to existing users.

“Embracing digital technologies that enhance the experience and hearing performance for people who rely on our products is a key focus of our product innovation. 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 from a compatible Apple device. Now we’re 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,” said Janssen.

The results of a UK survey** released today revealed that 58% of baby boomers (age 55 and over) would manage disabling hearing loss through technological intervention. The Nucleus 7 Sound Processor was created to meet this demand for seamless and convenient management of hearing loss through hearing performance features and enhanced connectivity.

Along with the release of the Nucleus Smart App for Android, Cochlear has added a first-of-its kind control feature called ForwardFocus. This user-activated control feature allows the wearer to hear better in challenging listening environments such as a busy restaurant. When switched on, ForwardFocus reduces distracting noise coming from behind a person so they can more easily enjoy a face-to-face conversation.2

“ForwardFocus is designed for users who want to manage their hearing in very noisy situations, and enhance it in situations where even people without hearing loss would struggle. It’s anticipated that this will resonate with the 62% of the baby boomers surveyed who say the enhancement they would most want from their hearing technology is the ability to block out or ‘switch off’ background noise and focus in on a specific sound. ForwardFocus allows users to listen to a specific sound source near them – such as hearing a friend across the table in a noise restaurant,” Janssen said.

Additional insights from the survey include baby boomers’ concerns about how hearing loss could negatively impact them:

  • Nearly two-thirds of baby boomers (63%) felt age related hearing loss could negatively impact their ability to socialise with their friends and family
  • More than half (58%) of respondents reported concern that age related hearing loss could negatively impact their experience of everyday sounds (e.g. the sounds of nature such as birdsong, chatter/ laughter etc.)

“These survey results suggest disabling hearing loss is something baby boomers are aware of and they are prepared to consider technology interventions appropriate for their needs. This is very positive as hearing loss is often not thought of as debilitating issue. In fact in adulthood, it is associated with greater unemployment, increased risk of poor health and depression,” Tracey Twomey, Consultant Clinical Scientist, Nottingham Auditory Implant Programme and Chair of the British Cochlear Implant Group.

“We know that people with disabling hearing loss can withdraw in social situations when they find it difficult to hear and feel unable to participate. That is why advances in technology that may help them to feel confident in situations that may be otherwise challenging are welcome,” added Ms Twomey.

Increasingly, evidence is showing cochlear implants for adults as an effective intervention for a much wider group of candidates than had previously been thought.3 Today more than 450,000 people around the world can hear thanks to Cochlear’s technology.4 The company’s cochlear implants are the most reliable in the industry, 5 which is one of many reasons why more people choose a Cochlear hearing solution than any other brand.5

The Nucleus 7 Sound Processor is now available for the first time to people with a Nucleus 24 Series Implant.6 This means thousands more people from all over the world living with disabling hearing loss will be able to choose a Nucleus 7 Sound Processor for the first time.

** About the YouGov Omnibus Survey: 2,206 UK adults, of which 925 were aged >55 years were surveyed during May 2018. Data was compiled and analysed by research agency YouGov. The survey was carried out online. While the survey cannot be applied wholly to the general population, it does effectively measure the preferences and opinions of adults >55 years who may have age related hearing loss or may go on to develop hearing loss.

*** 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.

Hearing loss represents a significant global health burden with 466 million people living with disabling hearing loss worldwide, and this figure is projected to grow to 900 million – one in every 10 people – by 2050.7 In the United Kingdom it is estimated 750,000 people are living with severe to profound hearing loss.8 According to the World Health Organization, there are approximately 72 million people who could potentially benefit from the use of a hearing device, such as a cochlear implant or hearing aid.9

Editor’s Note: 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.


Reference

1. Apple Inc. ‘Compatible hearing devices’ [Internet]. Apple support. 30 March, 2018 [cited May 2018]. Available from: https://support.apple.com/en-au/HT201466

2. Cochlear Limited. D1376556.CLTD5709 Acceptance and Performance with the Nucleus 7 Cochlear Implant System with Adult Recipients. 2018 Jan; data on file.

3. The Ear Foundation. Adult Cochlear Implantation: Evidence and experience / The Case for a Review of Provision. Available at: www.earfoundation.org.uk

4. Cochlear Limited 2017. Cochlear 2017 Annual Report. Available at: http://www.cochlear.com/wps/wcm/connect/intl/about/investor/annual-reports

5. Cochlear Limited. Cochlear Nucleus Implant Reliability Report, Volume 15, January 2017. 2017, Mar. [Latest generation of cochlear implants commercially available as at 30 January 2017.] Available at: http://www.cochlear.com/wps/wcm/connect/intl/home/discover/cochlear-implants/nucleus-6/nucleus-implant-portfolio/reliability-report

6. Cochlear Limited.D1224199-1, NEO-XS Extensions System Project Version 7.0 RC1 System End to End Verification Report, 1.D. 2017, May; data on file.

7. World Health Organization. Deafness and Hearing Loss Factsheet [Internet]. Updated February 2018 [cited April 2018]. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs300/en/

8. Laura Turton & Pauline Smith (2012) Prevalence & characteristics of severe and profound hearing loss in adults in a UK National Health Service clinic, International Journal of Audiology, 52:2, 92-97, DOI: 10.3109/14992027.2012.735376

9. World Health Organization. 10 Facts on Deafness [Internet]. Updated April 2017 [cited June 2018]. Available from: http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/deafness/en/

10. Cochlear Limited. D1190805.CP1000 Processor Size Comparison.2017 Mar; data on file.

 

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