There are 3 cochlear implant companies on the market today:
Cochlear implants systems are made up of internal and external components that work together. The design of the internal device and external components may look different, but they function very similarly. There is no definitive evidence that one implant system provides better results than another.
The following information briefly describes important facts about the 3 implant systems. Please consult the websites or the booklets provided by your audiologist for more detailed information.
Advanced Bionics and Cochlear Corporation offer a 3-year warranty on the external sound processor and headpiece. Med-el has a 5-year warranty policy. Warranty policies go into effect from the day of initial activation. A one-time replacement for loss or accidental damage (beyond repair) is available during the user’s initial warranty period. Warrantied items are replaced due to “normal wear and tear.” For coverage after the 3-year warranty, service contracts can be purchased from the manufacturer. Loss and damage insurance policies are available and are strongly recommended for all children with cochlear implants. Some families choose to cover the hardware through homeowner’s insurance policies as well. Proper care and storage will affect the durability of the external hardware. The better the hardware is cared for, the less chance of encountering problems.
Cochlear implants are man-made medical electronics. Although the internal devices are designed to withstand long-term use, it is unlikely that they will last a lifetime. All manufacturers offer a 10-year warranty for the internal portion of the cochlear implant system. This policy goes into effect the day of surgery. Internal devices may fail due to electronic malfunction or due to a direct blow to the head. For this reason, we recommend parents carefully consider allowing their child to participate in “high risk” activities, such as contact sports or bicycling or roller-blading without a helmet.
Cochlear implant manufacturers track the life of their implants as a number called Cumulative Survival Rate (CSR). This percentage is tracked by the device model, number of recipients and years that it remains in use. This information is available to the general public upon request.
Each manufacturer offers different external sound processors and internal devices. You can learn more about the most current offerings by visiting their websites above.