Cochlear Limited

Cochlear manufacturing

Inspired by his relationship with his deaf father, Australian inventor Professor Graeme Clark began, in 1967, researching the possibilities of an electronic implantable hearing device, setting in train the cochlear implant industry as we know it today.

Commencing operations in 1981 in the Sydney suburb of Lane Cove—where it still has a manufacturing site—Cochlear Ltd made the first multi-channel cochlear implant system to obtain US Food and Drug Administration clearance.

In 2018, more than 475,000 people of all ages from more than 100 countries can hear because of a Cochlear product. This includes more than 13,000 people in Australia.

With its global headquarters at Macquarie University, Cochlear has more than 3,500 employees in 30 countries across the world. Around 1,600 of them are based in Australia, with the majority working in manufacturing, logistics and research and development.

Cochlear invests more than A$150 million each year in research and development and participates in more than 100 collaborative research programs worldwide aimed at better understanding and treating hearing loss.

It is one of four Australian companies in the global top 1000 spenders on R&D (PWC Global Innovation Study 2017).

In 2017 Cochlear sold 32,554 cochlear implant units, with sales revenue of $1.24 billion and net profit of $224 million around the world.

Made in NSW

Cochlear’s engineering team is based at its global headquarters located at Macquarie University in Sydney.

The company is committed to providing people with innovative solutions to disabling hearing loss to help them reach their full hearing potential, which includes bringing them the benefits and conveniences of the company’s ‘Made for iPhone’ technology.

Cochlear has been working with Apple for more than eight years to bring to market the first implantable hearing solutions certified under the ‘Made for iPhone’ program. In 2015, Cochlear released the Baha® 5 Sound Processor—the first bone conduction sound processor in the ‘Made for iPhone’ program, for people with moderate to severe hearing loss. In 2017, Cochlear introduced the world’s first Made for iPhone cochlear implant sound processor—the Nucleus 7 Sound Processor—providing access to the digital world like never before for people with severe to profound hearing loss.

With the Nucleus 7 sound processor, people with a Cochlear Nucleus implant can stream sound from a compatible iPhone, iPad or iPod touch directly to their sound processor.

The Nucleus 7 is also the first sound processor to be connected to the cloud, paving the way for patients in regional and rural areas to receive remote care.

The smallest and lightest behind-the-ear sound processor available on the market, the Nucleus 7 sound processor is manufactured at Cochlear’s industry-leading manufacturing facilities at Macquarie University and the manufacturing site at Lane Cove. It is then exported to markets including the United States, the EU and, subject to regulatory approval, China.

In 2018, the Nucleus 7 received international acknowledgement from leading design and technology award bodies. This includes a Red Dot Award for product design and a Good Design Award® Best-in-Class in the Product Design category in recognition for outstanding design and innovation.

New markets

In July 2017, Cochlear expanded its manufacturing footprint into China and emerging markets, announcing plans to build a new $50 million facility. It is expected to commence production within four years and will have the capacity to increase global cochlear implant production by around 50%. Cochlear also acquired Sycle, the global leader in audiology practice management software.

A major part of Cochlear’s business is also in developed markets like Australia, North America and western Europe. Over the past decade there has been a shift to cochlear implantation in over-65 year olds driven by the ageing population and the high incidence of hearing loss in this group.