What do I do if I have a problem with my cochlear implant equipment?
This page provides information about what to do if any of your cochlear implant equipment stops working. Please use the links below (shown in blue) to navigate to the desired section of the page.
It is common for each component of your external device (processor, cable and headpiece) to need replacement over time. This is due to general wear and tear and is to be expected. The most common cause of faults within the sound processors is water damage. It is advised that you use your ‘dry box’ every night to keep the internal components dry.
It is extremely important that any problems with a processor or associated equipment are reported as soon as possible. Any delay in rectifying a problem and being without any sound for a period of time, may result in the need to reprogram a processor. This in turn may affect how well you can hear or tolerate sounds for some time.
If your cochlear implant stops working try replacing any parts you have a spare of. Listed below are the components of each company’s processor.
Advanced Bionics System – Naida
- Universal Headpiece (UHP)
- Earhook/T-mic and covers (if applicable)
- Microphone covers
Cochlear System – Nucleus 5/6
- Microphone covers
Spares to keep at home
All patients should have a spare of the following essential items at home:
- Lead/Cable (one for each processor)
- Rechargeable battery
If you use your spare equipment at home during troubleshooting, please ensure you request a replacement, either from ourselves or direct from the manufacturer if you are signed up for their repair scheme.
Please remember that most parts of the speech processor are covered by a lengthy warranty. It is very important that you return any faulty equipment to validate this warranty. If you are signed up to the company repair scheme they will send you packaging with your replacement in which to return the faulty items. If you get your spares from us then please return the faulty item to us with a note stating your name, address and replacement spare required. Please try and keep up to date with your spares as changing a lead/cable can solve most problems and may prevent you having to come in to the hospital.
If troubleshooting with your available spare does not resolve the problem please either contact the company directly if you are signed up to their repair scheme (you will have been sent contact details through the post) or call our ‘Appointments and enquiries’ line on 01642 854068 to either discuss the problem or arrange a face to face repair appointment.
Items we do not maintain/replace
The items we are not able to replace are:
- Audio cables
- Lapel microphones
- Aqua kits
- Wireless accessories
If you have any problems with the above accessories or they need replacing, you need to contact the manufacturer directly regarding this. Extra spares and accessories are available to purchase if required (please see below for further details). These are usually available either from the manufacturers, retail partners of the manufacturers or Connevans (see ‘useful contacts’).
We will continue to replace the following items as necessary:
- Dry box
- Dry bricks
- Battery chargers
- Remotes (if applicable)
- Neptune Connect (if applicable)
This is always subject to on-going review as new devices and equipment becomes available.
There are two ways in which you can obtain spare equipment and arrange repairs of broken parts:
- Company repair scheme – This is the most efficient way to manage your personal equipment from home. Your Audiologist will have asked you to complete a consent form in order to register your processor with the company who have provided your internal cochlear implant and processor kit. Should you need any replacement parts, there will always be someone at the company offices to receive your call and they will be able to provide replacement parts often within 24hours if required. Equipment is delivered via post or courier who will collect faulty items also. Items can be delivered to any specified address including your place of work and also offer a Saturday delivery. The company may also give advice regarding helping you to troubleshoot problems at home in order to isolate the problematic part.
If you have an appointment coming up, please make sure you contact the company for any replacement equipment before attending for your appointment.
Details of the company repair schemes can be found via their websites:
- NERCIP repairs – Should you require replacement components for your device please contact our ‘Spares and repairs’ line on 01642 854018 or email us at to NECIP@stees.nhs.uk to request these. Should no one answer please leave a message with your name and date of birth or hospital number, and the item you wish to be sent to you, specifying colours and sizes where appropriate. Equipment will be posted via the second class postal system from The James Cook University Hospital and therefore items may take a few days to 1 week to reach you. Please note we do not routinely return calls regarding spares and repairs, unless clarification is needed.
If the speech processor is faulty we can swap it through the post but, due to the high value, this must be done by special delivery.
We cannot send a replacement processor without the special delivery tracking number (given by the post office) of the one you are sending in. This will mean you will be without your equipment for up to 24-48hrs. We will also return the new processor to you by special delivery.
Please note our last post for special delivery is 2.00pm so please get the tracking number to us by 1:45pm or there will be a delay in returning the replacement.
If you use your spare equipment at home during troubleshooting, please return the faulty item to us and with a note stating your name, address and replacement spare required. Please try and keep up to date with your spares as changing a lead/cable can solve most problems and may prevent you having to come in to the hospital.
If troubleshooting with your available spare does not resolve the problem please call the ‘Appointments and enquiries’ line on 01642 854068 to either discuss the problem or arrange a face to face repair appointment.
If you have an appointment coming up and you require spares it would be helpful if you informed the team prior to your appointment as not all stock of components is kept at our offsite clinics.
All additional accessories provided by the company such as wireless accessories and aquakits are covered by a 12 month warranty. Within this time frame, if there is a fault with your accessory, you will need to contact the company in order to arrange a replacement. If the fault occurs outside of the 12 month warranty period, you will still need to contact the company for a replacement but you will be expected to provide payment in order to maintain or replace the faulty or lost equipment.
Please be aware that the speech processors are very expensive and cost in the region of £5,000 each. It is therefore very important to have some way of securing it to your ear. There are various options available to secure the processor, such as a ‘huggy’, ‘snugfit’, an ear mould or ‘Stick ‘n’ Stay’. Your clinician will go through the options with you in your first week of implant use.
Please also be aware that speech processors are regularly lost by putting it in a pocket or bag; please use your travel case.
If you do lose or damage a processor you will need to contact the NERCIP (01642 854068) where you will need to attend a clinic to complete a lost or damaged device form. You will be charged a £150 fee for each lost or damaged processor.
As funding must be requested to replace the lost or damaged processor, this also means your date for processor upgrade will be delayed by 5 years i.e. you will have your processor for a period of 10 years rather than 5 years.
Examples of damage due to neglect include:
- Exposure to excess moisture from showers, baths, swimming or rain.
- Damage from domestic appliances such as washing machines, microwaves or ovens
- Tampering with the device, such as gluing parts together or inserting the battery incorrectly
- Adding permanent decoration to a device by glue, paint or varnish
- Marks of damage through neglect or poor storage such as rust, grime, melted casing or teeth marks
- Poor or inappropriate cleaning of a device which causes irreparable damage
If you are ever subject to a charge the following groups will be exempt:
The following patient groups will not be charged:
- Hospital patients or those in residential care at the time of the loss
- Patients not capable of looking after themselves
- Children under the age of 18 years old
- Patients registered blind / partially sighted
- Victims of crime of house theft or mugging where the processor is stolen (a crime number relating to the reported theft of the device to the police is required)
- Those in receipt of one of the following benefits or an exemption certificate (proof required):
- HC-2 or HC-3 certificate
- NHS Tax Credit Exemption Certificate
- Income support (IS)
- Income-based Job seeker’s Allowance (JSA-IB) paid on its own or with contribution based ESA
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA-IR)
- Pension Credit (Guarantee credit)
If patients feel they should be exempt for any other reason a written appeal is required. Appeals must be made in writing to the Appeals Committee via the Business Support Officer, or verbally via the PALs service. Any appeal must be submitted within 2 weeks of reporting the loss.
If you are under the company repair schemes, you should then contact the company to ask for a replacement processor which you should receive within 24 hours.
If you are under the NERCIP for repairs, we will then order a replacement processor for you which you will need to collect in person from the hospital. We will offer a loaner processor during the course of the replacement which may differ in colour depending on stock availability.
It may be possible to insure your processor against loss or damage with some home insurance providers. Patients are encouraged to contact insurance providers directly to enquire about this if they are keen to explore this option. If NERCIP are able to successfully recover the cost of the replacement processor from your insurance company there will be no penalties applied.