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Cochlear Limited

Cochlear Limited
Traded as ASX: COH
Industry Biotechnology
Founded 1981
Headquarters Sydney, Australia
Key people
Chris Smith (CEO)
Rick Holliday-Smith (Chairman)
Products Cochlear implants
Revenue A$752 million (2013) [1]
A$136 million (2013) [1]
Number of employees
2,700 in 25 countries (2013)[1]

Cochlear (ASX: COH) is a global biotechnology company that designs, manufactures and supplies the Nucleus cochlear implant, the Hybrid electro-acoustic implant and the Baha bone conduction implant.[2]

Based in Sydney, Cochlear was formed in 1981 with finance from the Australian government to commercialise the implants pioneered by Dr Graeme Clark.[3][4] Today, the company holds over two-thirds of the worldwide hearing implant market,[5][6] with more than 250,000 people receiving one of Cochlear's implants since 1982.[2]

Cochlear was named Australia's most innovative company in 2002 and 2003,[7] and one of the world's most innovative companies by Forbes in 2011.[8]


  • Products 1
  • Corporate Affairs 2
  • References 3
  • See also 4


Cochlear produces three implants for different medical situations.

Nucleus is a system combining an electrical simulation device that is surgically implanted behind a patient's ear, a processor that captures sounds, and an electrode array that relays the sounds to the brain.[2][9] It is a direct descendant of the original cochlear implants, also known as Nucleus, developed by Dr Graeme Clark in Melbourne during the 1970s.[3] Nucleus was the first cochlear implant to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.[10] The system is upgradable, for example by installing a new sound processor, without surgery.[2] Cochlear's latest processor, Nucleus 6, was launched in 2013 after six years of development.[11] In 2013, the Nucleus implant recorded 99% reliability over the last 8 years, more than any similar product.[12]

Hybrid is an electro-acoustic system combining a cochlear implant with an acoustic hearing aid, suitable for patients who have residual hearing at low frequencies.[13] The implant of the Hybrid system is a smaller variant of Nucleus, with an electrode that relays only high frequency sounds,[13] while the acoustic component amplifies low frequency sounds and transmits them to the brain through the ordinary nerve pathway.[2] Hybrid was launched in 2008 and won Australian Engineering Excellence and International Design Awards in 2009.[13]

Baha (derived from bone anchored hearing aid) is a bone conduction system involving a small titanium implant that is ossointegrated with the bone behind a patient's ear.[2] A sound processor captures sounds, which is passed to the implant and directly transferred to the inner ear through the skull.[2][14] Baha was originally produced by Swedish biotechnology group Entific Medical Systems before that company was acquired by Cochlear in 2005.[15]

Corporate Affairs

Cochlear manufactures principally in Sweden and Australia, including at a purpose-built facility at Macquarie University in Sydney.[16][17] The company's products are supplied to over 100 countries internationally, with annual sales of $297 million in the Americas, $285 million in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and $123 million in the Asia-Pacific as of 2012.[2] Cochlear spent $119.3 million on research and development in 2012.[2]

In 2011, reports arose of Nucleus model CI500 implants shutting down, although less than 1% of devices were affected and the failures posed no health risks.[18][19] Cochlear funded a complete recall of the model, with an older version of the Nucleus implant being available as a replacement.[18][19] The company spent $101.3 million on the recall.[20]


  1. ^ a b c "ASX and Media Release FY13 Results" (PDF). 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Annual report 2012" (PDF). Cochlear. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "History: Who developed the cochlear implant and why?". Powerhouse Museum. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  4. ^ "History". Cochlear. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "Australia's Cochlear plans to return implant to market". Reuters. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  6. ^ "Questions mount over Cochlear's top status". 9 News. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  7. ^ "Cochlear named most innovative company". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  8. ^ "Most innovative growth companies". Forbes. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  9. ^ "The cochlear implant". Powerhouse Museum. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  10. ^ "Cochlear implants technical report". American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  11. ^ "Hearing company Cochlear stakes growth on new range". Herald Sun. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  12. ^ "Cochlear Nucleus Reliability Report 2013". Cochlear. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  13. ^ a b c "Cochlear Hybrid hearing system 2008". Powerhouse Museum. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  14. ^ "Baha implant". University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  15. ^ "Cochlear buys into Sweden". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  16. ^ "New technologies push growth of Cochlear". BioSpectrum Asia. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  17. ^ "'"Cochlear 'well placed for growth trend. Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  18. ^ a b "Hearing aid company's shares drop sharply as Cochlear recalls product". News Limited. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  19. ^ a b "Cochlear shares plummet on product recall". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  20. ^ "Cochlear reports $77.7m H1 profit as it recovers from recall". The Australian. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 

See also

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