After 27 years with Cochlear technology, James shares his favorite features after upgrading to the Cochlear™ Nucleus® 7 Sound Processors and how Cochlear continues to support him.


I was born with hearing loss about 27 years ago to hearing parents. It was the early 90s and cochlear implant technology was still relatively new for pediatric patients. I started with the Spectra 22 Sound Processor and lots of speech therapy. I remember running down the soccer field with the sound processor in a backpack. My parents credit my younger sister for always talking to me and practicing with me.

Man with Nucleus 7 Sound Processor skiing

My first upgrade was to the behind-the-ear ESPrit 3G Sound Processor. I remember going to Vermont to go skiing shortly after that upgrade. It was wonderful to not carry around a backpack for my sound processor and be able to change out the colors. I went on to upgrade to the Nucleus Freedom Sound Processor in 2008. With this upgrade came the personal audio cable. I was able to connect my sound processor to devices with a cord and started listening to music more. I recognized I was starting to hear things better, doing better in noisy environments and hearing different sounds. Then came the Nucleus 6 Sound Processor. I went from avoiding phone calls to starting a new job and feeling extremely comfortable using the phone in a customer service role via the Cochlear™ Wireless Phone Clip.

I most recently upgraded to the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor1. It has been phenomenal, and upgrading was easier than it has ever been. It was the first time I was able to take advantage of the ready to wear option and have the new sound processor sent to me pre-programmed. I was a little nervous, but the process was so easy, and I was able to start using my device as soon as I received it. I love how it fits on my ear. The sound processor feels lighter, smaller and fits more securely.

What really makes the biggest difference for me and the feature I get the most excited about is the direct streaming2. I answer the phone with a simple click of a button. My family is out of state and notices that I use the phone more often to call them. It makes it so much easier to talk with friends and family over the phone and participate in calls for work. I can easily listen to music and audio books. I continue to be impressed by the clarity of sound.

Man with Nucleus 7 Sound Processor hiking

I find with the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor it is easier for me to take control of my hearing in difficult listening environments. I have the option to use the Nucleus Smart App3 to control the environment. I have the ForwardFocus4 feature enabled and enjoy using it to hear my friends and cancel out the background noise when needed. The Nucleus 7 Sound Processor is great because you have the option to manage your hearing yourself or let the sound processor do it for you. I move throughout my day from work to lunch with friends to exercising with ease. I feel empowered to explore and travel. Hearing has just become easier for me.

I’ve had the same internal implant for 27 years. The Nucleus 7 Sound Processor is my 5th sound processor upgrade. I think it is just incredible that I received my internal implant in 1994 and Cochlear continues to make new sound processor technology accessible and available for me. It is exciting to me that I can expect Cochlear to continue to be here to support me and offer new features and functionality. I feel so blessed that my parents took a leap of faith 27 years ago and that I get to experience the features of the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor today.

For more information on the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor upgrade, visit here.

  1. The Nucleus 7 Sound Processor is compatible with the Nucleus Profile Plus, Nucleus Profile Series, CI500 Series, CI24RE (Freedom) Series, CI24R, CI24M and CI22M implants.
  2. The Cochlear Nucleus 7 Sound Processor is compatible with Apple and Android devices. For compatibility information visit
  3. The Cochlear Nucleus Smart App is compatible with Apple and Android devices, for compatibility information visit
  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.
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.