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Cochlear Complete Hearing Solution - September 2019

Introducing Cochlear™ Nucleus® 7 Sound Processor with Expanded Connectivity

Natasha McDougald, BMgt

September 23, 2019

Interview with Natasha McDougald, Product Manager – Cochlear Implants regarding the Nucleus® 7 Sound Processor with Expanded Connectivity


AudiologyOnline: What can you tell us about the latest product innovation from Cochlear?


Natasha McDougald: Cochlear is excited to announce our latest product innovations on the sound processor and software side of the business. Cochlear recently announced the commercial availability of Custom Sound® 5.2, allowing for expanded connectivity with the Nucleus 7 sound processor, our smallest and lightestsound processor with proven hearing performance2. This software release allows recipients with a Nucleus 7 sound processor to leverage built-in technology to now stream audio directly from compatible Android™ smartphones* without compromising size, weightor battery life3 by adding attachments to the sound processor or using intermediary devices. Please note, that in order to enable direct streaming on a compatible Android smartphone, a firmware update to the processor is required (performed via Custom Sound 5.2), along with an update to the Nucleus Smart App, and the Android 10 operating system on compatible Android devices. These advancements allow our recipients to truly connect without compromise on both iOS and Android platforms!

AudiologyOnline: You mentioned that the Nucleus 7 sound processor allows users to connect to a compatible smartphone without compromise, how does that work?  

Natasha McDougald: Connecting without compromise means that recipients wearing the Nucleus 7 sound processor can directly stream music, video, audio, and phone calls from compatible Apple® and Android™ smartphones without adding attachments to the sound processor (making it heavier and increasing battery drain) or having an intermediary device that needs to be worn around the neck/on the body.  We achieve this by collaborating directly with Apple and Google to develop specific connectivity protocols based on Bluetooth Low Energy that are optimized for hearing devices,  specifically Made for iPhone (MFi) on Apple devices (launched with the Nucleus 7 sound processor in 2017) and Android Streaming for Hearing Aids (ASHA) launching this fall on Android devices. 

These protocols leverage the connectivity of Bluetooth Low Energy but are designed specifically for the streaming requirements and battery needs of hearing devices in order to optimize a wearer’s listening experience.  

Additionally, with a recent update to our Nucleus Smart App, recipients are now able to control and monitor their Nucleus 7 sound processor from the convenience of their Apple Watch®

Audiology Online: I had heard that the Nucleus Smart App was available on the Apple App Store® and Google Play, but Apple Watch functionality is new – tell me more.

Natasha McDougald: Today, recipients with a Nucleus 7 sound processor are able to use the Nucleus Smart App on their compatible iOS or Android™ devices to control and monitor their sound processor, track personalized hearing information and progress with the Hearing Tracker, and locate a misplaced Nucleus 7 sound processor with the Find My Processor feature. The Nucleus Smart App for Apple Watch allows recipients to check battery status, change program and volume, and even enable ForwardFocus** to hear better in noisy environments, all with a tap on their wrist.

AudiologyOnline: Do these advancements only apply to new Nucleus 7 sound processor recipients moving forward? 

Natasha McDougald: What’s exciting about the innovation with Android is that it allows all of our Nucleus 7 recipients (with a compatible Android device) to access this expanded connectivity via a simple firmware update to the sound processor. The firmware update can be applied when the sound processor is connected to Custom Sound 5.2 fitting software. This update allows the Nucleus 7 sound processor to be able to stream audio directly from compatible Android smartphones without the need for the Cochlear Phone Clip.

For Apple users, access to the Nucleus Smart App for Apple Watch can be enabled by simply updating their iOS Nucleus Smart App to the latest version.

AudiologyOnline: How can audiologists and patients find out if their Apple or Android device is compatible with these innovations?

Natasha McDougald: A great reference for our clinicians and recipients is our compatibility webpage.  The Cochlear compatibility webpage lists the compatibility of Cochlear’s Nucleus 7 sound processor and Smart App with various operating systems and devices along with pairing instructions. Check out:

AudiologyOnline: What excites you the most about working with Cochlear?

Natasha McDougald: I always tell people that I have the best job ever!  I’ve been working at Cochlear for 8 years, and prior to that, I was a Systems Engineer for a large computer company in Silicon Valley architecting software solutions. I have a daughter who was born with hearing loss and implanted with cochlear implants, which has allowed me to find my passion for technology that changes the lives of those with hearing loss. I want to work to provide solutions that enable our recipients to access sound, language, and life!  I am delighted to work for a company that is committed to this life changing technology, passionate about research and development, and filled with colleagues dedicated to making a difference in the lives of those affected by hearing loss.

For more information on the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor’s expanded connectivity options, please check out the Cochlear Partner Page.


  1. Cochlear Limited. D1190805. CP1000 Processor Size Comparison. 2019, Apr; Data on file.
  2. Cochlear Limited. D1296247. CLTD 5620 Clinical Evaluation of Nucleus 7 Cochlear Implant System. 2017, Sept; Data on file. 
  3. Cochlear Limited. D1140877. Battery Life and Power Consumption Comparison between CP1000, CP900 Series and CP810 Sound Processors. 2017, Sept; Data on file.

*The Cochlear Nucleus 7 Sound Processor is compatible with Apple and Android devices, for compatibility information visit Compatible Android devices that enable direct audio streaming are anticipated soon.

**ForwardFocus can only be enabled by a hearing implant specialist. It should only be activated for users 12 years and older who are able to reliably provide feedback on sound quality and understand how to use the feature when moving to different or changing environments. It may be possible to have decreased speech understanding when using ForwardFocus in a quiet environment.

© Cochlear Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Hear now. And always and other trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of Cochlear Limited or Cochlear Bone Anchored Solutions AB. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners. 

Views expressed are those of the individual. Consult your hearing health provider to determine if you are a candidate for Cochlear technology. Please seek advice from your health professional about treatments for hearing loss. Outcomes may vary, and your health professional will advise you about the factors which could affect your outcome. Always read the instructions for use. Not all products are available in all countries. Please contact your local Cochlear representative for product information.

The Cochlear Nucleus 7 Sound Processor is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Apple, the Apple logo, FaceTime, Made for iPad logo, Made for iPhone logo, Made for iPod logo, iPhone, iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad mini, iPad and iPod touch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

Android and Google Play are registered trademarks of Google Inc.

The Android robot is reproduced or modified from work created and shared by Google and used according to terms described in the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution License.

The Cochlear Nucleus Smart App is available on App Store and Google Play. For complete smartphone compatibility information, please visit

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natasha mcdougald

Natasha McDougald, BMgt

Graduating in Management Information Systems, Natasha McDougald began her career as a system analyst working with tech companies in the Silicon Valley.  Personal circumstances became a catalyst for career change;  and 16 years ago Natasha transitioned from desktop based computers to tiny embedded biomedical computers known as cochlear implants.  Natasha has worked at Cochlear Americas for almost 7 years partnering with clinicians and surgeons at the universities, hospitals and private practices to bring cochlear implants to pediatric and adult patients.  Extremely passionate, Natasha is professionally and personally invested in the implantable hearing industry and strives to forward the cause of those affected by hearing loss.  She has presented numerous talks and courses on hearing loss, multiple disabilities, advocating skills and cochlear implantation to audiences in the medical-technology, educational, special needs and family support sectors.