All cochlear implant manufacturers have different benefits. In many ways, performance is similar, but the current and future technology capabilities as well as accessory options may help you make your decision. What works for one person may not work for the next. Most companies have options in the kind of technology you can wear (behind the ear (BTE), off the ear (OTE) and body worn processors). Some are waterproof, some can be made waterproof for swimming and other water activities. Each company also has their own way to connect to various technologies. For example, Cochlear and Resound have a partnership so their hearing devices work together. Advanced Bionics and Phonak work together. This allows for bimodal streaming. So, if you have a hearing aid in the opposite ear, they technically work together.
It is also important to have a device that your audiologist and surgeon are comfortable using so that they can maximize your programming so you can hear your best. Communicate with them about your interests and lifestyle wants and needs. They may be able to give you more individualized answers that are best for your hearing. Your individual situation may make a big difference in what you choose. It can be helpful to talk to other CI users, but remember a lot of them have a bias towards their company and that's because they were comfortable with that company when they selected them.
Also, ask about customer services and how well they respond to patient needs, including help with insurance reimbursement. Remember, you will have this device for a long time, it is not like hearing aids where you can switch manufacturers later. So, you have to be comfortable in your decision.
Start with the surgeon. Ask why he or she prefers implanting particular manufacturers. Your ear anatomy also plays a role in the selection.
The audiologist can then guide you through a comparison of features and you can provide input to choose a manufacturer that has desirable features. As an example, if you wear a hearing aid in one ear, you will want to explore which if any manufacturers are compatible with the implant.Best of luck on your journey!
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