- AB has world class customer service! They care and they are easy to access with questions and problems. You can chat with them online by going to: www.bionicear.com or emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org. They are also located in California.
- AB also has audiologists on staff willing to help answer any questions you have - just email HEAR@advancedbionics.com.
- Advanced Bionics customer service doesn't just stop. They go the extra mile to make sure you are well taken care of. If anything should go wrong with your processor, they ship out the new processor to your home via FedEx within 24 hours (sometimes 48 hours, depends on the day your claim is made).
- AB works harder to improve their products and listen to cochlear implant recipients as to what it is they want.
- AB has more speech processing strategies. We do not all like the same music (country, classical, hard rock, etc.) so why should be be put into the same way to speech coding strategy? With Advanced Bionics you have choices.
- Advanced Bionics has the industry's best external durability. Just ask your audiologist which device breaks down the least often.
- AB's implant has enough capacity to receive at least ten more years worth of free (there may be a co-pay for audiological services at worst) software upgrades!
- AB's implant (called HiRes90K) is also much more reliable (just 2 failures out of 28,000) and more than twice as durable (it can withstand up to 6 joules of impact versus 2.5 joules for the competition). If you want to be technical right now, Cochlear America's implant is currently under recall so they are reverting back to their older implant which is only 1 joules.
- Neptune - It is the newest and most advanced cochlear implant sound processor available with the advantage of not requiring anything worn on the ear! In addition, Neptune is the world’s first waterproof sound processor, providing the ability to swim and bathe while continuing to hear the world. While the Neptune does not have T-mic or ClearVoice yet available, it is going thru FDA for approval and is expected in the near future. Harmony is another model offered by AB that is a behind the ear model to be worn, it is not waterproof (however it is rather water resistant such as if you were splashed with water or even were to run through the sprinklers, it is not going to 'ruin' your device), and it does have the T-mic already incorporated. The BTE model is also a lil bigger and bulkier than your average BTE hearing aid.
- Another great feature mentioned earlier is the T-mic which allows you hold a phone naturally over the ear, instead of trying to find the mic somewhere on top of the processor above your ear. With the T-mic, you can even use a bluetooth or headphones with ear buds. The other companies can't offer the T-mic because AB has a patent on it.
- AutoSound is another feature with AB processors that adjust automatically and adapt to changing listening conditions. Meanwhile, other competitors devices the person would be fidgeting with the controls on their processor to adjust to the different varying listening conditions.
- AB has the highest Input Dynamic Range capability. IDR is the difference between the loudest and softest sounds that are presented to you at once. AB has the capability to go up to 80. Cochlear only allows you to go up to 45. Given the choice, it makes sense to be able to have 'control' of where your IDR is.
- AB can stimulate the electrodes faster than any other implant - up to 83,000 times per second. Cochlear can only do 32,000 times per second.
- AB is working with Phonak to develop a smaller external processor. Phonak is a manufacturer for hearing aids, a leader in miniaturizing hearing aids. AB and Phonak are both part of the same company and the only cochlear implant company with such a relationship. The two companies are in the process of developing a smaller processor currently. Just imagine what the two of these companies may be capable of. Technology has come a long ways since cochlear implants began back in 1985.
Here is a good introduction to the Neptune by Advanced Bionics. https://ablearningcenter.adobeconnect.com/_a1012873554/p25bgtomgsx/ On the right, there is a box that says 'Notes', there is the captions to the slide show for those that cannot hear it without the captions.
The Neptune is the device I will be getting. If my clinic provided backup processors like some clinics do, I would probably opt for one Neptune and one Harmony. But since I'm only allowed to choose one, I'm going with what I'm pretty confident that I will enjoy. Both processors rank high, but it is based on your preference as to what you'd want to choose. For me, its the fact that I don't want a BTE model on my ear anymore. I'd love to have NOTHING on my ear. I have long hair so I'm pretty sure my hair will cover the cap where I connect the processor to the implant on my head. And then the cable I would have it go under my clothes and clip onto my pants. I believe the cable would most likely look as if I am listening to an iPod. Then the fact that I can actually go swimming with this is another plus! I cannot even begin to imagine being able to hear my kids in the water and the safety that would come along with that, especially if at a waterpark and a lifeguard is blowing his whistle! I've always had to rely on being very observant of whats going on around me because I don't hear enough to 'just get by'. I doubt that my observant behavior will go away though, its a habit that has been with me for over 28 years now, I'm sure it will take time for me to 'trust' that this new device is going to be my lifetime partner.
I also want to share with you an interesting webpage http://www.citheory.com/ This guy, Mike Marzalek is very intelligent, he has created his own speech processor for his cochlear implant. Very interesting things to read and learn. And he leaves you with his email address if you should have questions. Although I don't understand everything he is talking about, I'm planning on having my dad read it. I'm pretty confident my dad would find this very interesting and would totally know what this guy is talking about and be able to explain it to me better. If not, I'll be emailing Mike myself.
***NOTE*** A lot of my research above, I have taken from notes from various places on the internet.
**Edit** When I do edits, I am adding in comments made on the Hearing Journey forum that I am a member of.
"CA (Cochlear America) can only stimulate one electrode at a time. AB on the other hand, can stimulate 1, all, none or any combination. This is the basic theory around which AB designed the INTERNAL IMPLANT. I am talking about the part surgically implanted in my head. Because of this basic design methodology, the AB internal implant can cause more tones or frequencies to be excited by that internal implant that the sequential mode used by CA. Thus in theory, AB should provide better quality hearing. Beyond that the AB internal implanted processor is using just a fraction of it's capability and future software upgrades to the External sound processor can allow future functions to be used without further surgery. Think about that. Improvements without further surgery. I chose AB for these reasons." - Ken Fitzgerald