Many wearers of the cochlear have normal ears (like myself) and it is difficult to tell they are deaf unless they tell you. It can be taken as a compliment if you forget later in conversation, but do try to remember as some deaf people have strategies which they like to implement to ensure they can hear and interpret as much of the conversation as possible, like reminding the speaker not to mutter.
Generation 4 was much lighter than the very clunky generation 3 (which looked similar to this, but had additional weight and a pull-down cover for the battery compartment) and had much better sound. The options for this hearing-aid were visible on the back, and the sensitivity controls were below a small LCD screen which showed you if there were any errors regarding the implant. The mould at the end was optional (I didn't have one) and you can instead get a rubber tube to surround the ear to keep it on, much like the old one (which the third generation really needed due to a terrible stay-on capability) but this one needed nothing. Sound was crisp, you could install multiple programs and it was simple to connect a cable to the bottom of the implant from a computer or other device so you can listen to music discreetly.
'Horrible' would be putting it quite lightly. From Generation 3 to 4 were much-needed improvements, but generation 5 drops many of these improvements to become lighter and more discreet (which is contradictory, looking at how the actual magnet casing at the top right is larger!) and as a result, it's so much harder to actually use. There is no LCD screen, but there's a flashing light at the front of the cochlear (again, not discreet, and not something you want going off in a cinema, I don't think) though you have to know what the flashing colours actually mean to be able to interpret it properly. I think the flash is really made for children whose mothers need to know if the magnet's fallen off the child's head. The coil between the computer (or music player) now fits at the back of the cochlear and is so cumbersome to fit in that you'll need to take the cochlear off in order to move the casing up, and you'll also need to ensure you have the new coil because otherwise the coil will stick out of the back and add more weight horizontally.
The major, major beef I have with this is the pure lack of ease of use. The cochlear comes with an EXTERNAL sensitivity controller, which looks much like a mobile phone or an ipod shuffle, or a cross between the two. Lose this and you're done. Additionally, changing programs resets the sensitivity to 12, something generation 4 didn't do. The external controller needs charging, something gen 4 didn't. The external controller's rather cumbersome, something gen 4 wasn't.
As an example, I was playing some music on program 3 (a program made for hearing music as it allowed some parts of sound to come out more than others, though I still can't hear tunes, tone or pitch in most cases) and someone came in wanting to talk to me. In generation 4, I'd just turn the sensitivity of my hearing-aid up so that it could take in more background sound in comparison to what I was plugged into. But for this, I had to scavenge for the controller. I clicked the sensitivity increase, but it only increased the volume of the sound. Annoyed, I turned it to program 1 and what felt like a blast of 200 decibels hit the side of my head. I yanked out the hearing-aid, cursing. The sensitivity was at maximum, the volume was all screwed and I was therefore unable to wear the cochlear after that due to a splitting headache. Just thank the heavens my cochlear was limited to about 100 decibels, the maximum I can hear before being in pain.
So the Generation 5 can't distinguish between plugged-in devices and external sounds anymore, only increase the volume of them. So I can't listen to music properly anymore.
Absolute rubbish, and far too different from the gen 4. We needed improvements, not drastic changes.
[Annoyingly I had to retype this below paragraph due to a lack of multi-copy in this day and age - I'd copied the web address after copying and deleting a paragraph!]