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Cochlear Receives FDA Approval for the Next Generation of the Nucleus(R) Freedom(TM) Cochlear Implant System


Englewood, Colo.--(Business Wire)--June 28, 2006--Updates Including Improved Performance, Additional Battery Options and Smaller Behind the Ear Controller to be Available to New Recipients and Nucleus 24 Users

Cochlear today announced that it has received FDA approval for the Next Generation of the Nucleus Freedom cochlear implant system, designed to mimic the functions of the human ear. The advanced system includes the widest available range of programming choices, sound processors and power options to match each individual's unique hearing fingerprint(TM). The next-generation device will be available in early July. The upgrade device will be available in late summer.

"The Next Generation of Nucleus Freedom offers advanced implant technologies combined with a broad range of listening and wearing customization, helping our recipients experience and enjoy a natural world of sound," said Chris Smith, president, Cochlear Americas. "The fact that this device will also be compatible and accessible to Nucleus 24 recipients is a testament to Cochlear's lifetime commitment to support all its wearers with access to the latest technological improvements."

Features and improvements of the device include:

  • Unmatched Reliability: Initial data demonstrate that Freedom is the most reliable device ever designed by any manufacturer.

  • Improved Hearing Performance: Test scores show that Nucleus Freedom recipients adjust and perform better in shorter periods of time when measured against Cochlear's previous device, the Nucleus 24 Contour.

  • Improved battery life and additional battery options: The Nucleus Freedom system offers disposable and rechargeable power.

  • The Mini(TM) BTE (behind-the-ear) Controller: The discreet Mini BTE provides up to 4 days (12 hours = day) of battery life and can be personalized by a quick click of the cover to change the color panels.

  • SmartSound(TM) Innovation: SmartSound technology allows users to adapt to a range of listening environments for focused listening, comfort in noise, dynamic sound environments and soft and distant sounds.
"It's thrilling to see recipients' lives so dramatically improved with the Nucleus 24 Freedom--to watch them grow, and be able to share their joy as they develop the confidence to venture into listening environments that were previously a challenge," said Cochlear audiologist Wendy Parkinson, MA, CCC/A. "With the new technology, recipients are able to hear much more effectively in previously difficult environments, such as on a phone call with a total stranger, or in a noisy restaurant."

Cochlear implants are a safe and effective treatment for severe-to-profound hearing loss in adults and children. These are amazing technological devices that bypass damaged hair cells in the ear and stimulate hearing nerves directly, providing useful hearing and improved communication abilities to the implant user. The Nucleus Freedom system is the only cochlear implant system that offers unmatched reliability, feature flexibility, IP44 tested water-resistance and a variety of adjustable options to meet each user's individual need and hearing fingerprint. This allows each individual the best chance to optimize his or her hearing experience in a range of listening situations. Initially approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in March 2005 with upgrades approved this year, the Nucleus Freedom features both an internal component and an external sound processor.

About Cochlear(TM) Americas

Since launching the world's first cochlear implant system more than 20 years ago, Cochlear Limited and its US headquarters, Cochlear Americas, have brought the miracle of sound to more than 76,000 hearing-impaired individuals across the globe. Cochlear's state-of-the-art technologies, based on extensive research and development at preeminent academic institutions, restore the ability to hear sound and understand speech--enhancing both learning capabilities and quality of life for those with severe to profound hearing loss. Cochlear has remained the market leader in its field thanks to an unwavering commitment to innovation, reliability and customer support. Numerous awards, as well as published scientific data, attest to Cochlear's outstanding product line and unsurpassed performance. Cochlear's promise "Hear now. And always" reflects its dedication to durability and service. For more information about Cochlear's products, call the Cochlear Nucleus Hotline at 800/458-4999 (Voice) or 800/483-3123 (TTY) or visit the website at www.cochlear.com.