Radio aids – optimising listening opportunities: Guide

Gill Weston, Pauline Cobbold, Cate Statham and Helen Maiden with contributions by James Mander, Gary Webster and Brian Copsey | View as single page | Feedback/Impact

with Cochlear Implants

There are three main manufacturers of Cochlear Implants and each provide specific wireless devices to go with their product.


Nucleus with     Cochlear mini microphone 

Advanced Bionics

Naida  connecting wirelessly to Naida


Sonnet and Rondo     Wireless connectivity is explained on the Med-el website

Each of these devices can be connected to a radio aid.  Some Cochlear Implant devices will only connect to certain radio aid systems and in some cases, an upgrade of a speech processor may mean a change of radio aid system is needed.  Each manufacturer has different ways of connecting a radio aid.  In some instances, they also have their own system that may not be compatible with other systems. (This is something to consider when there is more than one radio aid user in one setting).

It is important that the family, Teacher of the Deaf, and the Cochlear Implant Centre all work together on this.  The audiologists at the CI Centre will need to enable the speech processor to work with a radio aid and make adjustments to the internal settings through the manufacturer’s software.  

The Ear Foundation Sounding Board website gives information on different systems and how they are set up with the different Cochlear Implant devices.  This is especially useful for some of the older systems, but see also the websites of the Cochlear Implant devices above and the manufacturers of the radio aid systems.

Radio aid readiness for CI users

The fitting a radio aid with a Cochlear Implant user needs careful timing and planning.  It may seem unusual that an older child who has previously been using a radio aid, post CI surgery may need to wait before resuming the use of a radio aid.  This is because in the first six months post-implant, the CYP will have many tuning appointments at the Implant Centre.  If the CYP is unhappy with their listening experience after a tuning appointment it would be difficult to know if was due to changes to the mapping of the speech processor(s) or the addition of a radio aid, therefore a stable map is needed.  There may be the occasional exception where a CYP can report accurately on their listening experience.

The Cochlear Implant FM training tool  and  the FM ChIP are useful tools which can help with ascertaining the CYP's readiness to be fitted with a radio aid.

Further details on connecting radio aids to Cochlear Implant devices can be downloaded here. 

Whyte, Bealing and Cross from University of Southampton Auditory Implant Service gave a presentation on Cochlear Implants and Radio Aids at the BATOD 2017 conference.

An article by Stuart Whyte in the May 2018 BATOD Magazine explains about setting up cochlear implants with radio aids and the protocol to validate the settings.