Compare Nucleus® Sound Processors

Whether you choose a Cochlear Sound Processor that sits behind-the-ear or off-the-ear, you can be sure you’re getting the technology you need to help ensure you always hear your best.

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What you'll find on this page

  • Understand the difference between behind-the-ear and off-the-ear sound processors.
  • Get to know the different sound processors in the Nucleus® portfolio.

With the Nucleus System, you can choose the way you want to hear with your sound processor options. These include the behind-the-ear Nucleus® 8 Sound Processor and the off-the-ear Kanso® 2 Sound Processor. Both are easy to use and feature advanced technologies to help you hear your best. Compare the processors below to see which is a better fit for your lifestyle.

Learn how they compare

Compare the features of our latest sound processors to help you choose the one that best suits you. We also recommend speaking with your Hearing Implant Specialist about the right Cochlear Sound Processor for your hearing needs and lifestyle.

Sound Processor type

A Nucleus 8 Sound Processor

Nucleus® 8 Sound Processor

A Nucleus Kanso 2 Sound Processor

Nucleus® Kanso® 2 Sound Processor

Behind-the-ear (BTE)

A BTE sound processor is worn on the ear and a small coil is held in place against the head with a magnet. The Cochlear Nucleus® 8 Sound Processor is our smallest, lightest and most advanced BTE sound processor.1,* It features SmartSound® iQ 2 with SCAN 2*** and improved ForwardFocus. Ready for next-generation Bluetooth® LE Audio technology¥, it will be easy to bring sound to you – in more places and from more devices than ever before.2-4
Off-the-ear (OTE)
An OTE sound processor provides a comfortable, discreet hearing solution with similar hearing performance as a BTE sound processor. The Kanso® 2 Sound Processor is worn off the ear as a single unit and features our SmartSound iQ, True Wireless™ Devices, rechargeable in-built battery, and coil into a single, easy-to-use unit without compromising hearing performance.


Hybrid™ Hearing

Designed to deliver a richer hearing experience, Hybrid™ Hearing^^ solutions can enhance your natural low-frequency hearing before or after surgery, while providing access to the sounds you're missing.
Sound processing technology

SmartSound® iQ 2 with SCAN 2***

SmartSound iQ with SCAN***
SmartSound iQ 2 is Cochlear's latest sound processing technology. Designed to optimise your hearing experience and focus on sounds that are most important to you, it works to filter out background noise and automatically adapts your listening settings.5-9 SCAN 2*** is Cochlear’s industry leading automatic scene classifier - designed to detect the unique features of sound and use them to determine the listening environment. The Kanso 2 Sound Processor features our earlier generation SmartSound iQ with SCAN*** technology.
Background noise reduction technology

Improved ForwardFocus

Hear better in noisy listening environments with ForwardFocus technology. Featured in the Kanso 2 Sound Processor, it reduces distracting noise coming from behind, so you can more easily enjoy face-to-face conversations. The Nucleus 8 Sound Processor features an improved and more powerful ForwardFocus to further enhance the clarity of speech coming from in front of you. It can be user-controlled or automated to help you focus on what's important in any situation.5
Nucleus Smart App
Adults have convenient control of their sound processor using the Nucleus Smart App.^ Developed exclusively for our latest range of sound processors, it is available for compatible Apple and Android™ devices. Parents may find the the Nucleus Smart App especially useful to manage their child's hearing.
mySmartSound™ technology
Fine tune your hearing settings to best suit your listening preferences. With mySmartSound technology, you can adjust bass, treble and master volume. This feature is clinician-enabled and can be accessed via the Nucleus Smart App.
Dual microphones
Understand speech more easily in noisy surroundings with the help of dual microphones, which work to reduce background noise.6
Remote Control
Manage your hearing in a discreet way using the Remote Control (CR310), which features a handy display screen for changing simple settings.
Apple and Android™ compatible
Stream your favorite entertainment directly to your sound processor. Using technology built into your sound processor, you can stream sound directly to your Nucleus 8 or Kanso 2 sound processor from a compatible Apple or Android device+ - without the need for any accessories.
Bluetooth® compatible

Next-generation Bluetooth LE Audio

Bluetooth Low Energy
The Kanso 2 Sound Processor allows you to stream sound directly from any Bluetooth Low Energy compatible devices, such as mobile phones. The Nucleus 8 Sound Processor is ready for next-generation Bluetooth LE Audio connectivity.¥ You will be able to bring sound to you – from more places and more devices than ever before and connect directly to what’s being broadcast at public venues such as airports, conference centres, sports clubs and gyms which support Bluetooth Auracast™.2-4

Optimised for room loops


Via the Cochlear Wireless Mini Microphone 2+

Connect to hearing loop systems for everyday convenience. A telecoil picks up electromagnetic signals and turns them into sound.
Compatible with Cochlear True Wireless™ devices
Stream clear audio directly to your sound processor using True Wireless™ Devices. Leave your phone in your pocket and enjoy clearer conversations with the Phone Clip and set your own personal volume and stream sound from your favorite movie straight to your sound processor using the TV Streamer. And whether you're in class, at an office meeting or on the sporting field, the Mini Microphone 2+ transmits sound to your sound processor to make listening easier.
Bimodal/Bilateral streaming
Cochlear sound processors can be worn with any hearing aid, so no matter what hearing aid you're using, you'll get the benefits of hearing with both ears. If you have a Nucleus 8 or Kanso 2 Sound Processor and a compatible ReSound hearing aid#, you can take advantage of our smart bimodal solution which enables you to stream directly to both ears from a compatible Apple or Android device.
FM connectivity
Having options for better hearing in school is important for academic success and social development. Being able to connect to FM systems can be important for children, especially at school. The Mini Microphone 2+ is an affordable and portable alternative to FM systems and can be used in and out of the classroom.
The Nucleus 8 Sound Processor turns on automatically when you connect a battery. The Kanso 2 Sound Processor turns on automatically when you place it on your head for convenient, button free control.


Size Smallest BTE sound processor
Smallest OTE sound processor
The Nucleus 8 Sound Processor is the world's smallest behind-the-ear sound processor and the Kanso 2 Sound Processor is the smallest off-the-ear sound processor available.1
Weight Lightest BTE sound processor
Lightest rechargable OTE sound processor
Designed for comfort, the Nucleus 8 Sound Processor is the world’s lightest BTE processor and the Kanso 2 Sound Processor is the lightest rechargeable off-the-ear sound processor available.1
Colour range 6 colour options 5 colour options
A range of colours are available, based on preference and lifestyle. The Nucleus 8 Sound Processor is available in silver, black, brown, grey, white and sand. The Kanso 2 Sound Processor is available in black, chocolate brown, sandy blonde, silver and slate grey.
Water and dust resistance ratings

Water and dust resistant (IP68)

Water and dust resistant (IP68)
The Nucleus 8 Sound Processor and Kanso 2 Sound Processor are splash-proof and dust-proof, with the highest available water-resistance rating in a sound processor (IP68).9
For added peace of mind, add the Aqua+, a soft, flexible silicone sleeve that fits over the sound processor. Whether you're in salty, fresh, soapy or chlorinated water, it offers enhanced protection so you can enjoy your favorite water-based activities.
P2i coating
P2i is a water-resistant nano coating which is designed to protect against the effects of corrosion from sweat, humidity and general water damage.
Simple interface

One button design

Button-free design
The Nucleus 8 Sound Processor has a one button interface for basic control functionality. The Kanso 2 Sound Processor has a unique button-free design.


Disposable batteries

Disposable batteries typically last several days depending on a recipient's power usage needs. Battery life may vary by individual.
Rechargeable batteries

Compact and Power Extend options

Built-in rechargeable battery
The Nucleus 8 Sound Processor has compact and power extend battery modules. The Kanso 2 Sound Processor has a built-in rechargeable battery.
Battery Life± Typical expected battery life of 20 hours with a Power Extend battery module** Up to 18 hours
Cochlear sound processors are designed with efficiency in mind, to deliver long-lasting battery performance.
Rechargeable battery charger
The Nucleus 8 Sound Processor features an additional USB charging option, allowing you to charge from a PC, or in the car. The Kanso 2 Sound Processor uses a new all-in-one Home Charger that charges, stores and dries your device at the same time. A Portable Charger is also available.

For parents

Tamper-resistant battery
For added safety, Nucleus 8 Sound Processors have tamper-resistant battery modules and the Kanso 2 Sound Processor's battery is built into the sound processor unit. Helps prevent children from opening the battery cover.
LED status monitoring
An easy way to quickly and easily assess the status of your child's sound processor.
Monitor sound quality

Compatible with monitor earphones

Sound Check in the Nucleus Smart App
Enables parents and carers to check the sound quality of the input from a loved one's sound processor or accessories.

Wearing and retention options


Comfortably secures the sound processor to your ear.
Tamper-resistant earhook
Earhooks with additional tamper resistance.

Helps keep the sound processor securely in place, especially for active adults and children.
Hugfit™ feature

Helps keep the sound processor securely in place, especially designed for smaller ears.
Mic Lock

Helps keep the Nucleus 8 Sound Processor secured on the ear when used with an earmold or the earmold adaptor.
Koala Clip

Clip-on retention device for babies and younger children.
Safety cord
Provides additional security when taking part in activities where you risk losing your sound processor.
Hair clip
Clips onto the hair, reducing the risk of losing the sound processor.
Kanso Halo accessory
Clips onto the sound processor and is secured to the head with two Hair Clips, reducing the risk of losing the sound processor.
Earmould adaptor

Attaches to an earmould to help keep the sound processor securely in place.
Headworn adaptor

For temporary use only. Holds the sound processor and coil together in place on the side of the head.
Optional accessories that hold either a, Nucleus 8 or Kanso 2 Sound Processor in place. Useful for children and during physical activity.


Implant compatibility Not compatible with Nucleus 22 implants Not compatible with Nucleus 22 implants

Nucleus comparison chart

Download a full copy of our Nucleus comparison chart.

Nucleus comparison chart

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Please seek advice from your health professional about treatments for hearing loss. Outcomes may vary, and your health professional will advise you about the factors which could affect your outcome. Always read the instructions for use. Not all products are available in all countries. Please contact your local Cochlear representative for product information.

Views expressed are those of the individual. Consult your health professional to determine if you are a candidate for Cochlear technology.

For a full list of Cochlear’s trademarks, please visit our Terms of Use page.

Apple, the Apple logo, Apple Watch, FaceTime, Made for iPad logo, Made for iPhone logo, Made for iPod logo, iPhone, iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad mini, iPad and iPod touch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

Android is a trademark of Google LLC.

The Bluetooth® word mark and logos are registered trademarks owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and any use of such marks by Cochlear is under license.

*Compared to Nucleus 6 and Nucleus 7 sound processors.

***It is recommended that SNR-NR, WNR and SCAN be made available to any recipient, ages 6 and older, who is able to 1) complete objective speech perception testing in quiet and noise in order to demonstrate and document performance and 2) report a preference for different program settings.

¥When the technology becomes available for the Cochlear Nucleus 8 Sound Processor, a firmware update to your sound processor will allow you to connect to Bluetooth LE Audio compatible devices.

^^The Acoustic Component should only be used when behavioral audiometric thresholds can be obtained and the recipient can provide feedback regarding sound quality.

ForwardFocus can only be enabled by a hearing implant specialist. It should only be activated for users 12 years and older who are able to reliably provide feedback on sound quality and understand how to use the feature when moving to different or changing environments.  It may be possible to have decreased speech understanding when using ForwardFocus in a quiet environment.

Compared to Nucleus® 7 Sound Processor with ForwardFocus on.

^The Cochlear Nucleus Smart App is available on App Store and Google Play. For compatibility information visit

+The Cochlear Nucleus 8 and Kanso 2 Sound Processors are compatible with Apple, Android and True Wireless Devices. For compatibility information visit

#For compatibility information and devices visit and

~The Cochlear Nucleus 8 and Kanso 2 Sound Processors are dust and water resistant to level IP68 of the International Standard IEC60529. The Nucleus 8 Sound Processor and Kanso 2 Sound Processor with Aqua+ is dust and water resistant to level of IP68 of the International Standard IEC60529 when you use a Cochlear Power Extend Rechargeable Battery Module or Cochlear Compact Rechargeable Battery Module for the Nucleus 8 Sound Processor. The Nucleus 8 Sound Processor and Kanso 2 Sound Processor with Aqua+ can be continuously submerged under water to a depth of up to 3 meters for up to 2 hours. The Aqua+ accessory should be used when participating in prolonged water activities. Refer to the relevant user guide for more information.

±Battery life may vary by individual.

**Typical expected battery life is calculated using default map settings used with a CI660 Series or CI500 Series Implant.


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  2. Cochlear Limited. D1631375 Nucleus 8 Sound Processor Product Definition
  3. A Technical Overview of LC3 [Internet]. Bluetooth® Technology Website. [cited 2022 Feb 28]. Available from:
  4. Cochlear Limited. D1964109 Clinical Investigation Report CLTD5804 – Feb 2022
  5. Mauger SJ, et al. Clinical outcomes with the Kanso off-the-ear cochlear implant sound processor. Int J Audiol. 2017, Apr; 56(4): 267-276. [Sponsored by Cochlear].
  6. Mauger SJ, Warren C, Knight M, Goorevich M, Nel E. Clinical evaluation of the Nucleus 6 cochlear implant system: performance improvements with SmartSound iQ. International Journey Of Audiology. 2014, Aug; 53(8): 564-576. [Sponsored by Cochlear]
  7. Wolfe J, Neumann S, Marsh M, Schafer E, Lianos L, Gilden J, O'Neill L, Arkis P, Menapace C, Nel E, Jones M. Benefits of Adaptive Signal Processing in a Commercially Available Cochlear Implant Sound Processor. Otol Neurotol. 2015 Aug;36(7):1181-90. [Sponsored by Cochlear]
  8. Cochlear Limited. D1864200 SCAN-X Design Description. Apr 2022.
  9. Cochlear Limited. D1980144 CP1110 IEC60529 IP68 Certificate & Test Report.
  10. Cochlear Limited. D1671736, CP1150 IEC60529 Ingress Protection Test Report IP68