Which Cochlear Implant to choose?

Hi All, I’m an approved candidate for a CI in my right ear. I have until January '13 to have it done or do the evaluation process all over again. Left ear is getting worse so I’m more and more motivated to jump into this. So, while the decision is a little frightening, I think it may be the right one for me.

Question is (since it’s not enough anxiety to have to decide whether to do the surgery) how have people gone about deciding which of the three implant manufacturers to choose from?

Real question is: How does one sift through all the beautiful marketing materials and get to the meat of the information available? Are there positive and negative experiences that anyone can share? [BTW- ENT surgeon has a preference but has said it’s “up to me”.]

Thanks All!

I think your ENT if he has a preference he should tell you what it is and why. Also ask your ENT if you can talk to some of his/her patients to see which one they ended up using and why and if they were satisfied with the results. Hopefully CI patients on this Forum will let you know what they chose and why. You can also go on the HLAA web site and ask their members. I know several of their moderators have CI and are more than happy to give their opinions. Good luck!

Thanks Seb, My ENT told me his preferred brand and cited why (research, customer service, etc). I figured I wouldn’t start off by disclosing a bias…
I am definitely trying to find CI recipients to relay their stories, struggles and decisions. I don’t know anyone personally at this point, but am definitely looking.

There is clearly a lot of info out there of which I feel I am just tapping the surface.


Hi Dan,

Here is a brand comparison chart to use at your own discretion - www[dot]cochlearimplantonline[dot]com/site/cochlear-implant/brand-names/brand-comparison-chart/ (Be sure to replace [dot] with ‘.’)

While every brand has unique strategies and features, the end results are the same - every recipients are given great quality of hearing!

People choose brands based on some of these reasons:

  • Surgeon’s and audiologist’s preferences
  • Reliability
  • Engineering design
  • Sound processors features
  • Waterproof/water resistance ratings
  • The appearance of the sound processors
  • Some try on the sound processors and decide which one fits more comfortably
  • Microphone design
  • Customer service that they received during candidacy process
  • Personal experiences of other cochlear implant recipients with whom they connected.

Remember, cochlear implant is just a tool - it’s the auditory rehabilitation that you receive after the activation that will help you receive the best results.

Also, beware of people who will try to tell you that one is the “best” or trash talk other brands - there are quite a few of them out there.

I have Cochlear - Nucleus 24 internal with Nucleus 5 Sound Processor. I will be happy to share my personal experiences as someone who has been hearing with cochlear implants for 23 years, if you would like. However, I can’t share the experience of how I chose Cochlear not only because I received the cochlear implant as a child, but also because it was the only brand available at the time when I received it in 1989.

I will also be happy to put you in touch with Advanced Bionics recipients and also MED-EL recipients if you like so that you can learn more about their experiences in using their brand - just please e-mail me at cochlear[at]rachelchaikof[dot]com and I will give you their contact info.

Hope to get some good info on this forum. I was just qualified as my hearing is below 16% with my high power hearing aids. Now on to step two and choosing which ones.

Hi Rachael, Thank you so much for the info. It actually is amazing how much information is out there to sift through. Dan

Hi Cyborg, That’s excellent advice. Thank you. Just in the last week I’ve discovered a lot of info just by hunting around online and have found the two you mention. I’ll keep on reading.

I was recently implanted with a Med-El. I chose it because they have the smallest processor and internals plus a remote control. I also had quite a bit of residual hearing (tonal) so Med-El’s flex internal arrays have been designed to help prevent trauma at insertion. I’m very happy with my choice so far and I still have residual hearing in my implanted ear. I qualified for a CI because my word recognition scores were close to zero. My tonal loss is considered moderate to mild.