Saturday, March 13, 2010

Nucleus System 5- My Experience

Well, I finally got my new processors on Tuesday. When they say it takes 6-8 weeks to arrive, they're not kidding! I did get pretty impatient, but the important thing is that they did come. Here are some pictures... *sorry for the blurry quality. These were taken from my phone, since my sister decided to steal my camera, even though she has her own....sisters!*

On the left if my pink Freedom (the beige thing is the FM boot), on the right is my brown N5 with the pink cover.
Left---> Right Freedom, N5 with pink cover, N5 with blue cover.

Brown N5 on my head- side view. Please excuse the messy hair, I just put it up to take the picture :)

The remote...  I definitely think that's more of a personal preference thing. As someone who always has a cellphone in her pocket, it's no big deal for me to carry it around. It's pretty user-friendly once you take the time to figure out how to adjust all the settings. The only thing I wish they would add (possibly with future remote software upgrades?) is the option to have certain settings as "favorites" in the remote (similar to in a cell phone) that you adjust the most, making them quicker and more accessible to get to. Another thing is, it look like an Mp3 player. Or a cellphone. Or some combination of the two... What's the problem?

We're not allowed to use them in school, so I'm always completely afraid I'm going to get yelled at for having my "iPod" out in class, or even worse, have a teacher not listen to me and take it up. I don't adjust the settings too much, but I try to do it pretty discretely when I do- so far, so good.

AutoPhone- Would someone please enlighten me how the darn thing works? I know for a fact I have it, because my audiologist knew I wanted to try it out, and I saw her check off the little box for it. However, it's failed to come on every single time I've been on the phone (and I've used three phones- my cellphone, our landline, and my sister's cell). I  can hear better without T-coil than when I manually enable T-coil, so I don't mind it now working.. I just want to know if there's a way for it to work! My audiologist said it's voice activated, so the person on the other end has to have spoken for a few seconds before it detects it. No luck!
The view from behind- It's much, much thinner than the Freedom. I really like how I can make it stand out with the covers, or I can make it blend in completely. From the front, you really can't see any of it (my hair covers the earhook), unlike the Freedom, which was pretty bulky and noticeable from the front.
Battery Life- With the Freedoms, I barely got a full day of battery life, so I was worried that I wouldn't get very much out of the N5 (which use 1 less battery). The computer estimated that my right ear, which has a very strong map, would last 16 hours. It predicted my left ear, which has an even stronger map, would last 13 hours. Not quite a full day, but close enough. Yesterday was the first day I actually got to wear them all day (Tuesday- I didn't get them until my 9AM appt. Wednesday- I had French Honor Society inductions in the evening, and changed the batteries before  I went just in case, and Thursday I had a ton of reading to do and a very loud family, so the implants came off during my reading time). I put them on yesterday at about 8AM and I didn't get a single low-battery warning, even though I went to sleep at 12:30 AM. I'm pleasantly surprised that they actually appear to be lasting longer than my Freedoms did (weirdly enough, although partly due to my use of the FM boot on one Freedom). I know a lot of people really want the rechargables, but I never used them with my Freedoms, since they died during the school day, so I doubt I'll use the rechargeables for the N5 when they come out.

FM- There is not yet a boot released for the N5 for FM, so I have to use a neckloop with T-coil called the MyLink. While it's nice to have less on my ear, it's not exactly a fashion statement to walk around with a neckloop all day. I put the bottom part under my shirt, but I don't normally wear T-shirts, so a good portion is visible. I had to go a few days without the FM, and it made me realize there were come classes I really needed it for (French, my AP classes) but I also realized there were some that I could hear just fine without it. I think I may just "play it by ear" ( pun intended) and only use the FM depending on what I'm doing in each class each day. When it's not in use, I can just take the FM off, so it's not a big deal.

Hearing- I was MAPped the same day I received the N5s, so my hearing is better than it was on Monday, but I don't know which I can attribute it to. I'll have to try out my Freedom again and see if I notice a difference, but I was told that, if I did, it would be pretty minimal. We'll see.

Funny story... I had taken off my FM neckloop in one of my classes, since we were just doing bookwork. The girl who sits next to me asked about it, and I lamented how I found it kind of annoying, but mentioned it was because I got new, smaller processors. I figured she's noticed since I'd worn my hair up the day before, but I lifted my hair up and pointed it out to show her anyway. "Ohhhh!" she exclaimed, "I was wondering why you hadn't wearing anything on your ears... I see it now!" 


  1. Ooh I so WANT an N5 upgrade!! Another year or 2 hopefully I'll be upgraded!! It looks a LOT better. With the Freedom it sticks out the back of your ear, it is visible and it's heavy!! Love the smaller N5! I had the chance to try it on at a Cochlear Day back in October :)

  2. Hi. My daughter is 4 and just got her first CI last October. She got nucleus 5 and we also got chocolate brown which blends so well with her red hair. I love your blog bc she is learning to hear with this but you give great perspective. Keep it up b/c I loved it. Lesli Garris in Greer, SC.

  3. Hi Lesli, glad you like my blog! I always wondered what color processors red-heads picked, since none of them seemed to match- now I know! Best of luck with your daughter and her CI!

  4. PinkLAM, you wrote something that is very distressing:

    "Another thing is, it look like an Mp3 player. Or a cellphone. Or some combination of the two... What's the problem? We're not allowed to use them in school, so I'm always completely afraid I'm going to get yelled at for having my 'iPod' out in class, or even worse, have a teacher not listen to me and take it up. I don't adjust the settings too much, but I try to do it pretty discretely when I do"

    Whoa, horsey! Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should a teacher, aid, or anyone else even think about touching it, or harassing you over using it. Period.

    To defuse any possible issues, you should show your remote to the teacher the first time you give him or her the FM transmitter. Most people will actually be interested in learning about your (truly) high-tech bionic hearing, and especially with the coil stuck to your head.

    But, there are always a few ***holes in life, so if any teacher or other school employee hassles you over any issue related to your hearing & deafness, politely inform them to either cease, or you will walk out and call Superintendant to report this unlawful activity... And have his name & number in your purse to follow through. A teacher taking away your Remote Assistant is just like pulling the glasses off the student sitting next to you.

    Since you're in a publicly funded school, they are subject to the laws & regulations of Section 501 & 504, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and also the IDEA 2006 laws. And, once in a while, you have to assert yourself to preserve your rights under the law.

    Incidentally, things can really go awry when you have a guide dog. Wait til you see this article and my underlying analysis.

  5. Hi PinkLAM,

    I too had the freedom with the FM reciever. Since this post was way back in March, have you heard anything about a new one coming out for the N5?

    I was upgraded to the N5 about 3 week ago and I am really missing wireless sound! :P

    I am struggling to see how they can make one for the N5, If it plugs into the port like the old one did then its going to look pretty ridulous IMO!



  6. How long do you get now with your batteries? Do you still get 13 hours? Have you tried the recharargeables?

  7. Matt- I read somewhere that someone heard (AKA, not sure how reliable it is) that they're going to be releasing the boot for the FM late August. I find that the MyLink works fine- yes, it's a hassle if you're doing physical stuff like sports or PE- just to day I was taking a CPR class and the neckloop kept swinging out of my shirt as I practiced on the dummy, hitting both me and the dummy repeatedly. Wouldn't have been very good if I was actually administering CPR! But it does work well in a classroom situation, and it easily slips under the shirt. With the N5 remote, I'm able to easily adjust the telecoil ratio (although the AutoPhone feature seems to be a bust). It's also nice not to have the extra weight from the boot, nor the loss of battery life.

    You know, I was thinking exactly what you were about the boot plugging into the port. I have a feeling that whatever they come up with will be very clunky or awkward looking. Unless like the last one it's a separate battery, but the boot sticks out from the bottom and the plug is at the top of the battery? I do not think they thought this through when designing the processor!

  8. Anon- There are many days that I've worn the batteries for over 13 hours, and I've yet to get a low battery warning. I'll have to check the battery life estimate the next time I go for a mapping, but I think it's somewhere closer to 20. I still change the batteries every morning, since I don't want to chance them going out on me during the middle of the day.

    My rechargeable batteries just arrived at the doorstep yesterday. Haven't had time to fool around with it and plug everything in, but I will report when I do!

  9. I don't have an easylink which is a bit dissapointing. Im hoping they provide an FM solution soon though.

    I remember when reading the brochure for the N%, it mentioned that there are 4 chips unused for future accessories/upgrades. I wonder if the FM system will use one of these? (Bear in mind I could be talking out of my bum here!)

    I actually had the autophone turned off. Apparantly the company told my cochlea service centre to turn it off as a default, as it seems to pick up telecoils when you don't want it to!

    I wanted it turned off anyway becuase sometimes when I'm using a mobile, if the reception isn't great it will buzz alot :)

    I have the the bigger rechargeable batteries which are supposed to last a day and a half.. but I have yet to get a full day out of them! - I am actually charging two batteries a night and carrying a second one around as a spare.. just in case.

    Have been reading some of your blog posts and they are great! - Found your last one about the ambulance etc very funny. That kind of misunderstanding happens to me all the time!


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