A challenge to Cochlear Americas and Med-El

One of the most frequently misquoted claims CI manufacturers make about their product is where do they draw the line between water RESISTANT and water PROOF. Water resistance would imply incidental exposure to water…a splash, raindrops, sweat, etc. Water proof…well, lets just say all you need to do is dunk it in water and see if it still works. MY CI manufacturer, Advanced Bionics, warranties the processor as being water resistant. But PAINT RESISTANT or PAINT PROOF?????? Read on!

I attended the Bionic Ear Association (BEA) chapter leader and mentoring training last week at the new AB corporate headquarters in Valencia, CA. This is the perfect opportunity to show my colleagues how durable their cochlear implants are…..please don’t try this at home though.

Although the t-mic eventually succumbed to the paint or water, the processor continued to work! This happened while I was doing demolishing / renovations / painting work. I went to paint roller the ceiling and bent over backwards. Even though the left ear processor sits inside the top of my ear, the weight of it all keeps it in place. So, imagine what happens when you bend over backwards. Try it!

When I showed my colleagues at the training and the employees of AB, you had to see the expression on their faces. Meanwhile, I challenge anyone with a Cochlear America or Med-El CI to do the same thing and see if it works OR, will the manufacturer replace it free of charge?

So…here is your living proof that AB makes the most durable and reliable Cochlear Implant on the market!

9 comments for “A challenge to Cochlear Americas and Med-El

  1. May 10, 2010 at 2:32 am

    Not wanting to incite a brand war, however, without the exact same test for cochlear AND Med-El, then you can’t state that AB has the most durable on the market.

    But you could state that AB makes a very durable/reliable CI.

  2. FOL
    May 18, 2010 at 6:49 am

    Did they replace your CI after you painted it? Teehee.

  3. Sam Spritzer
    May 18, 2010 at 7:23 am

    LOL…nope, they didn’t have to! A nice 5 minute soaking, an overnight visit to the Dry N’ Store and its as good as new. Only the t-mic suffered!

  4. July 31, 2010 at 7:48 am

    Some might say that’s a rather extreme experiment, but as a mother of a 4YO, I think we’ve put Li-Li’s processor through several comparable scenarios. (With equally surprising and successful outcomes). Her Nucleus freedom survived a full laundry cycle (!) and a dip in the pond via puppy mouth. We’re crossing our fingers, but have yet to conduct any similar experiments on her new N5s, which are supposed to be able to take immersion under water for up to 30 minutes. I’m NOT showing any pictures of the processor being dipped in paint to Li-Li, though ๐Ÿ™‚ We’re not planning any controlled experiments.

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  6. Ruth Kaldor
    April 11, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    I may be researching a bit late but I have to choose between Med-El and Cochlear in a few days. Water resistance is a concern since I like to fly fish but I could just leave it in the car. Does anyone else have any advice between the two companies?

  7. Scott Rinehart
    April 13, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    First off, since there have been quite a few comments about “Brand war” on this blog, I want to be upfront and say that I do work for Cochlear. I am bilaterally implanted and use Nucleus5 processors. Below is my experience with my processor. I cannot speak for any other company’s processors.

    That being said I wanted to let Ruth Kaldor know that I am a fisherman myself. While I don’t fly fish I do fish from a kayak in the mangrove flats around Tampa bay. I wear my processors all the time and they’ve worked very well. Unfortunately, I’ve never caught a fish big enough to pull me out of the kayak, but between sweat and sudden rain storms my processors have seen quite a bit of abuse. If they do get a good soaking I try to be diligent about putting them in the Dry&Store that night to get them good and dried out. Some people will use an ear mold if they are worried about their processor falling off during activity, but they seem to stay on well enough for me not to need it. Feel free to email me if you have any questions. Srinehart@cochlear.com

  8. Sam Spritzer
    April 13, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Hi Scott…let me respond here so that others can see and chime in, if they chose to.

    The Neptune is completely submersible in water, a claim that Advanced Bionics will stand behind. Can the same be said for Cochlear? And 30 minutes of sitting still in a goldfish bowl doesn’t count since I don’t think any human being would do that.

    If your processor were to accidentally fall in the water. Will it survive? And if it doesn’t survive, will Cochlear replace it free under warranty?

    The point is, the Neptune gives you a sense of comfort in that it will withstand water….there are no “Oops” moments or “Oh shit”, now what?

  9. Sam Spritzer
    April 13, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Scott…I also want to point out one other thing. Why does the N5 user manual say you shouldn’t swim or bathe with it on yet, your current advertising is giving the impression you can?

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