Cochlear speech processor, ESPrit 3G behind-the-ear type, plus carry case, metal / plastic, made by Cochlear Ltd, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 2003
Australian company Cochlear Ltd continues to lead the world in the development, manufacture and sale of cochlear implants and associated speech processors that enable recipients with severe or profound hearing loss to hear speech and other sounds. By 2003, over fifty thousand people in more than 120 countries had received implants. In that year, the inventor of the implant, Professor Graeme Clark, received the rare honour of being made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine.
The behind-the-ear processor is much smaller and lighter than earlier Cochlear processors as the electronics are all located on a microchip and only three small zinc-air batteries are needed. The built-in telecoil is an innovation that frees recipients from the need to connect their processor by wire to use a telephone. Like earlier processors, it can be programmed to suit the individual and updated as new strategies become available.
This system represents a change in design approach, with recipients being encouraged to consider the processor as a fashion accessory as well as a communication interface. Although it fits behind the ear and is available in a beige or brown finish, a choice of other colours is available, from silver to fluorescent orange. A company brochure uses a wide range of faces in positive poses and refers to the choice of 'funky metallics' and 'bright colours' in 48 mix and match combinations. It also emphasises the freedom provided by long battery life (50-65 hours), small batteries, and the ease of telephone use.
Debbie Rudder, Curator, 2003
This is a product of in-house development and design.
Made at Cochlear Ltd's factory in the Sydney suburb of Lane Cove in 2003.