Nucleus Freedom – The Good and the Not-so-Good

The Nucleus Freedom has been out on the market for almost two years, and according to the studies performed by Cochlear Corp. and others, the results are very impressive.

However, us parents may not be as satisfied. Although we definitely love the processor’s water resistance and it’s smaller size, the durability of the device leaves room for improvement. Since almost all the parts are major components of the device (no more just short wires and long wires), it does not make sense to carry around these expensive and hard-to-come by items. If you are away with your child, and something happens to any of the wires, you most likely will not have a replacement handy.

Our daughter uses the Body-worn battery pack. Apparently, since it is only a battery pack and not a processor, they have made it of inferior quality. We have the Freedom implant only about a year, and we are already on our second battery pack.

Nucleus Freedom (Broken)This image shows how the copper strip that is located under the power and select buttons has come up, which makes it unable to turn on.

Cochlear does have pretty good customer service, and they usually FedEx the replacement parts for free within a few days. However, after the three year period, the warranty expires, and the cost of the replacement parts is borne by the consumer. That is somewhat troublesome given our experience with their durability. Additionally, since the wires are major parts of the system, replacing worn and broken wires after the three year period will be costly. Perhaps it may be worthwhile to invest in Cochlear’s Service Plan.

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1 Comment »

  1. Jeanine Lormand said

    Cochlear and the elliptical logo are trademarks of Cochlear Limited.
    January 8, 2010
    Delivered by email – jl_305@yahoo.com
    TO: Mrs. Geisendorff
    Mrs. Geisendorff:
    Cochlear Americas’ (“Cochlear”) customer service department forwarded your demands to me,
    due to your threat of litigation. Cochlear appreciate that you provided us additional time to
    evaluate and respond to your demands. Please forward this letter to your lawyer if you have
    engaged one.
    First of all, please note that it is very unlikely that a valid legal claim exists against Cochlear
    relating to the issues your children have had with their Cochlear sound processor parts. The
    1976 Medical Devices Amendments (“MDA”) provide clear pre-emption of state claims for
    FDA PMA approved Class III devices. Your sons’ cochlear implant devices are Class III
    devices that were approved pursuant to the PMA process. Courts consistently uphold this
    preemption, which eliminates state asserted product liability, negligence, strict liability, and
    implied warranty claims. See e.g., Riegel v. Medtronic, 128 S. Ct. 999 (U.S. 2008).
    Additionally, the wear and tear issues your sons are experiencing are not design defects. It
    appears that your sons’ are primarily having issues related to the external part called the bayonet,
    which attaches the sound processor to the controller. This type of issue does occur periodically,
    especially with child recipients. Children are inclined to have slightly more breakages with the
    external parts. You have received the appropriate remedies in accordance with the warranty on
    the products. The warranty provides the remedy for any product found “not to be of
    merchantable quality, reasonably fit for the purpose or purposes for which it was supplied, or if it
    has defects in workmanship or materials during the warranty period.” Among the remedies are
    to replace the product, which Cochlear has consistently done in your sons’ situations. A copy of
    the warranty card is attached.
    We regret your dissatisfaction with your sons’ Cochlear implant external device. However,
    Cochlear has satisfied its obligations to you. It has provided your sons with replacement parts as
    needed, at no charge, all in accordance with the warranty on the parts.
    Cochlear and the elliptical logo are trademarks of Cochlear Limited. 2
    Nevertheless, Cochlear remains willing to try to address some of your inconvenience and general
    dissatisfaction with your sons’ parts. We would like to have one of our clinical application
    specialists (“CAS”) arrange to meet with you at your audiologist’s offices to review each of your
    sons’ processors and associated parts to see if we can provide you with any suggestions to
    minimize the wear and tear on the parts and to assess the condition of the existing parts. If there
    are parts needing replacement, the CAS can facilitate the replacement with equivalent Freedom
    parts. If you would like to take advantage of this offer, please contact Sara Causin at 504-834-
    7852 and she will make the arrangements.
    Kind Regards,
    /s/
    Debra O’Connor
    General Counsel
    cc: Tanya Anderpont at Ochsner Clinic
    Sara Causin

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