Nucleus 6 CI Processor Uses GN ReSound Unite Hearing Aid Wireless Accessories

Breaking News: Cochlear’s new Nucleus 6 cochlear implant speech processor will use GN ReSound Unite 2.45 gHz wireless streaming accessories, rendering obsolete troublesome FM systems.

Back in September we reported on Cochlear licensing GN ReSound’s 2.45 gHz wireless technology, which is currently used in their Unite wireless accessories for their Alera and Verso hearing aids. Due to the longer design & regulatory approval cycle we were fully expecting Cochlear would have a “Made for iPhone” (MFI) Bluetooth CI processor in maybe 2-3 years with their Nucleus 7 processor, so imagine our surprise when we caught this Tweet leading to this video:

At first, the video seemed a bit amateurish due to an apparent incongruity: “Molly” slips a Nucleus CI processor onto her right ear, and then touches the volume control button on top of the ReSound Unite TV transmitter; and then later uses the Unite Mini Mic (“spouse mic”); then at the end of the day slips the processor off of her left ear. It isn’t until the end of the video that we see that this is an official Cochlear video; however don’t bother typing in www.cochlear.com/mollysday as the link is 404.

Unknown from this video, however, is compatibility with the Phone Clip Plus accessory, as the signalling from that device as well as the obsolete original Phone Clip differs, as they override the on-board switching fior instant automatic comnnection of incoming phone calls.

What this means for existing Nucleus system users:

• For existing Nucleus 5 and Freedom speech processor users — especially children — this is a compelling upgrade, because current Phonak MicroLink FM systems suffer from very troublesome interference, with a number of verboten N-band (US) and H-band (UK & EU) radio channels: This author can personally vouch for the efficacy and interference resistance of the 2.45 gHz digital signal reception from the Unite Mini Mic to the ReSound Verso hearing aid system;

• For existing N5 & Freedom users who have other hearing impaired family members, the direct compatibility of the Unite wireless accessories means they can share the signal, whether it’s watching the same TV program, or putting a single Mini Mic on a speaker;

• For existing hearing aid users who either have a family member who is implanted with the Nucleus system, or who are themselves “bimodal” users with a hearing aid on the other ear, this is a compelling reason to immediately upgrade their hearing aids to the ReSound Verso system, to instantly leverage the Unite digital wireless system, even if the time horizon to upgrade to the N6 processor is 6-18 months~

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About the author

Dan Schwartz

Electrical Engineer, via Georgia Tech

4 Comments

  1. pchanavan
    June 4, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    What is the audio bandwidth output for the Unite Mini Mic and other remote accessories? The frequency bandwidth for many hearing aids extend beyond 7 kHz.

    The Hearing Blog replies: Perry, that is a great question, especially since CI’s can MAP any frequency to any spot on the spiral ganglion. We’ll message GN ReSound for an answer to your important question.

    That Being Said, when you look at the revised articulation index in Mead Killion’s “Count The Dots” audiogram, there are only two dots above 635o Hz, i.e. 98% of speech information content is from 6350 Hz and lower.


  2. Perry C. Hanavan
    June 5, 2013 at 12:41 am

    I agree there are few dots above 6500 Hz but there are more dots in the high frequencies for the new version of Count the Dots audiogram. Too, most audiometers are limited to 8000 Hz. However, note the 5 or 6 studies referenced in the article including Pittman and Stelmachowicz demonstrating the importance of high frequency access for children above 6000 Hz in the Count the Dots article. Also note the articulation index for Bluetooth systems due to limited bandwidth to 4 kHz using the Count the Dots audiogram (Question 16 in the article).

    Also, it would be interesting to have an article about the new Phonak Roger 2.4 gHz system (https://www.phonakpro.com/content/dam/phonak/gc_hq/b2b/en/evidence/insight/Insight_Roger_new_wireless_Technology_028-0955.pdf) and compare and contrast this system with the ReSound United Mic. Obviously there are vast differences between the two systems in terms of cost, internal vs. external receivers, purpose, etc. It appears there is a movement away from FM.


    • Dan Schwartz
      June 5, 2013 at 11:52 am

      Perry, in fact we were referring to Mead’s January 2010 revision, “Count The Dots” audiogram. When you look at it, you will see 8 dots at 4000 Hz, 5 dots at 5040 Hz, 4 dots at 6350 Hz, and 2 dots at 8000 Hz.

      Also, the 4hHz bandwidth you mention is for the antiquated headset profile introduced in Bluetooth 1.5; while the Advanced Audio Distribution Protocol (A2DP) introduced in the Bluetooth 2.1 stack has (we believe) either 16kHz or 20kHz, depending on the CODEC used.

      Because the airwaves are getting so crowded, the trend is away from analog FM transmission and towards 2.45 gHz digital, with the Bellman Audio Domino and both first & second generation Etymotic Companion Mic systems as well as the ReSound Unite system, and of course the emerging Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (“BLE”) specifications used in the “Made for iPhone” (MFI) standards~


  3. Matt Elliott
    June 6, 2013 at 11:28 am

    I wish the whole video didn’t have the background music. Just a simulation of the kind of sounds the CI was actually picking up. That would have been so much more impacting and useful. I also like the fact at the beginning there was the sounds of the internal noise. I’d love to know what my son hears when his implant is off.


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