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Comparing cochlear implant models

Photo: Tips on choosing the right cochlear implant for your child

There are several different makes and models of cochlear implants but they all work in a similar way.

Most UK implant centres will offer a choice of two or more devices. In the UK most children use cochlear implants manufactured by Cochlear, Advanced Bionics and Medel.

There is currently no evidence that children perform better with one manufacturer’s device over another.

Before you make a decision, you may wish to consider the following:

  • Speak with other families about their experiences of and decisions about individual devices.
  • Ask how many cochlear implants the surgeon has implanted of the make and model you’re interested in, and the experience of the team, particularly in providing these implants to children.
  • Cosmetic features of the cochlear implant, such as the size of the speech processor, how it fits on the ear and how it looks. Older children should be given as much choice as possible in how their implant looks.
  • Reliability and robustness of the external parts of the cochlear implant.
  • Reliability and safety record of the internal implant. How many people are currently implanted with the make and model you’re interested in and what is the expected life-span of the implant. This information can be found on the implant manufacturer’s website.
  • Battery life and type of battery the implant uses. Can they be recharged? Will they last a whole day at school?
  • How easy is it to tell if the battery has run down? Is the system easy to use?
  • When fitted to young children, is it easy to tell if the implant is switched on and working well using the visual indicators?
  • Is the device water resistant or waterproof?
  • Compatibility of the implant with FM systems and other audio equipment.

There are websites that contain information and comparison charts for cochlear implant manufacturers and models to help you choose the one most suitable for your child and their needs.