Do you still struggle to hear and understand conversation in noisy situations? In a new clinical study, recipients who had been using older-generation sound processors reported significantly better hearing in everyday situations when they upgraded to the latest technology. Find out more about the differences they discovered.


Do you still struggle to hear in noise? You’re not alone. Conversation nearly always involves listening in varying levels of background noise with competing speakers who are moving around1. So it’s not surprising that difficulty understanding speech in these environments is a commonly reported challenge among cochlear implant recipients.

Benefits of upgrading your sound processor.

Significantly clearer speech

If you’ve had your sound processor for many years, you may be missing out on the opportunity to better manage your hearing in these challenging situations, whether that’s during school activities, work meetings or outings with family and friends.

In a recent clinical study, recipients found speech to be significantly clearer in everyday listening environments when they upgraded their current CochlearTM SPrint™, ESPrit™, Freedom®, Nucleus® 5 or Nucleus 6 Sound Processor to more advanced technology2.

benefits of upgrading your sound processor.

The participants (or their carers) aged 3 to 49 were asked to assess the hearing benefits after a one-month take-home experience with the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor* in their daily listening scenarios.

Compared with their older generation sound processor, recipients reported significant improvements in hearing speech in a variety of listening environments: one-on-one conversations, small groups, and large meetings3.

Hear what others have to say about their experience

It’s something that Kathleen and Ginger experienced firsthand when they upgraded their older generation processors to the latest technology.

“When I got my Nucleus 7, I was truly astounded at the improvement of technology over my Nucleus 5,” says Kathleen. “I can now carry on conversations with anyone, anywhere, even in a noisy room.”

“In deciding to get a new sound processor, it was just the desire to keep up to date with the technology and to continue to improve whatever hearing I could get,” says Ginger who is now able to take notes in work meetings without having to look at the speaker.

Benefits of upgrading your sound processor.

The Nucleus 7 Sound Processor features ForwardFocus4 and SmartSound® iQ with SCAN5 – Cochlear’s most advanced sound processing technology. Switching on ForwardFocus using the Nucleus Smart App6 on her phone is something that Sue says has really helped her to enjoy being with friends and family.

“ForwardFocus really does improve the quality of sound to enable conversation in a social situation where I might have struggled previously,” says Sue who upgraded her two Nucleus 6 Sound Processors. “To have that extra noise reduction … you can relax a bit more and participate in that conversation without struggling quite so much.”

Benefits of upgrading your sound processor.

For Marty, moving from a Nucleus 5 Sound Processor to a processor with SmartSound iQ with SCAN  has made a huge difference in her day-to-day life. SmartSound iQ with SCAN is designed to automatically make hundreds of decisions to optimize your hearing performance as you move from one situation to the next, without you having to make manual adjustments.

“I love the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor,” Marty says. “I put it on SCAN and just go about my business.”

To learn about upgrading your sound processor to the latest technology, click here.

  1. Hey M, Hocke T, Böhnke B, Mauger SJ. ForwardFocus with cochlear implant recipients in spatially separated and fluctuating competing signals – introduction of a reference metric. Int J Audiol. 2019;58(12):869-878.
  2. Zhang J, Morgan C, Deng XC, Wang Y, Lee M.  Hearing Performance Outcomes in Cochlear Implant Users after Nucleus® 7 Sound Processor Fitting. ACI Alliance Conference Poster. April 2021.
  3. In this study, Mandarin-speaking Chinese recipients were assessed using their current sound processor (ESPrit™, Sprint™, Freedom®, Nucleus 5 and Nucleus 6) then again after up to one-month use with the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor.
  4. ForwardFocus can only be enabled by a hearing implant specialist. It should only be activated for users 12 years and older who are able to reliably provide feedback on sound quality and understand how to use the feature when moving to different or changing environments.  It may be possible to have decreased speech understanding when using ForwardFocus in a quiet environment.
  5. SNR-NR, WNR and SCAN are approved for use with any recipient ages 6 years and older who is able to 1) complete objective speech perception testing in quiet and in noise in order to determine and document performance 2) report a preference for different program settings.
  6. The Cochlear Nucleus Smart App is available on App Store and Google Play. For compatibility information visit
Anna Martinez
Anna Martinez is the Associate Volunteer Engagement Manager and has worked for Cochlear since 2016. She is responsible for communication and onboarding with the Cochlear volunteer community. Anna is a Colorado native and enjoys being outside in the beautiful weather with her son.