When to upgrade

Learn about when you may be eligible to upgrade to a new sound processor.

Young girl wearing Cochlear implant

What you will find on this page

  • Identify when it’s time to upgrade your sound processor

  • How provincial and territory health insurance plans view replacement sound processors

  • How to start the upgrade process

Better hearing for life

One of the most exciting things about Cochlear technology is that it continues to evolve. Next-generation sound processors feature new capabilities, are designed to deliver clearer sound, and work with most existing cochlear implant or bone-anchored auditory implants.

When is it time to upgrade your sound processor?

Deciding when to replace your sound processor is a personal decision that can be supported by facts.

Reasons to replace your sound processor include:

End of useful life: Many provincial and territory health insurance plans may authorize the replacement of a sound processor when it has reached or passed a stated period of "useful life." 

Better performance: A demonstrated improvement in technology and hearing performance may offer sufficient medical reason for a new sound processor. A replacement sound processor is considered medically necessary to achieve functional improvement in auditory performance, minimize safety risk concerns, and improve quality of life.

Watch Bella P.'s family describe their Baha® 5 upgrade experience.

Bella P.'s Baha 5 upgrade experience

Watch Kenneth G. describe his Nucleus® 7 upgrade experience. 

Kenneth G.’s Nucleus 7 upgrade story

Understanding coverage for replacements and upgrades

A cochlear implant is a lifelong hearing solution that relies on advanced microphone and sound processing technology to treat severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss. Unlike hearing aids, this technology is considered a medical necessity and has been covered by many provincial and territory health insurance plans.

When speaking with your provinicial or territory health insurance plan representatives, the Cochlear Baha hearing implant technology can be referred to as a "bone-anchored auditory implant" or "bone-anchored auditory device".

"The Nucleus upgrade changed my life. I spend less effort trying to understand people. I just hear better.”

- Jack B. - Nucleus 7 upgrade recipient

How to upgrade 

When it's time for a new sound processor contact your hearing implant centre and they can can guide you through the upgrade process. Many provincial and territory health insurance plans coverage hearing implant upgrades.


Views expressed by Cochlear recipients are those of the individual. Consult your hearing health provider to determine if you are a candidate for Cochlear technology. Outcomes and results may vary.

Information provided by Cochlear Canada regarding insurance coverage is provided as guidance only and is not intended as reimbursement or legal advice. Cochlear Canada makes no representation or warranty regarding such information or its completeness, accuracy, fitness for a particular purpose, or that following such guidance will result in any form of coverage or reimbursement from any insurer. Information presented is subject to change at any time. To be sure that you have the most current and applicable information available for your unique circumstances, please consult your own experts and seek your own legal advice regarding your reimbursement needs. In all cases, products or services billed must be medically necessary, actually performed and appropriately documented in the medical record. Coverage determinations and out-of-pocket costs may vary for individuals with private insurance.