Our Tips On What you need to know about cochlear implants   

Many of our clients often have questions and queries about cochlear implants:

  • What is involved in surgery?
  • How will things sound after an implant?
  • Will I still have access to new technologies?

Below is a list of frequently asked questions, but please also visit our community tips section and post a question to our clients or experts if you don’t find your answer here...

Am I too old for an implant?

Client need is the priority in receiving a cochlear implant, and age is not a factor. Need is assessed through an in-depth process with audiologists and hearing health professionals, with many mature clients being the recipient of implants.

What’s involved in the assessment?

The assessment is quite intensive and usually takes place over two days. A hearing test is conducted first in a comfortable sound-proof booth, then an audiologist checks how well your hearing aids are functioning for you and may fit you with an alternative.

Your speech perception is then checked. This simply involves you watching a specially recorded DVD of broadcaster Judy Bailey reading aloud. The hearing health professionals then assess how much of what she said you can understand.

Afterwards, you get the chance to meet someone who already has a cochlear implant to discuss the pros and cons of implants from a client’s perspective.

A meeting is then schedules with the surgeon who assesses your medical suitability for implant surgery.

If you are suitable for an implant, you are invited to go on a waiting list for surgery. The greater the person’s assessed need for surgery, the higher up the waiting list they go. Private surgery is also an option for some people.

Will an implant further damage my inner ear?

Cochlear implants have been engineered and designed with a unique electrode array to help protect the delicate cochlear structures of the ear and minimise any damage to residual hearing. However, there is very a small risk that the residual hearing may be affected. Your audiologist will be able to discuss your concerns in-depth with you.

How will it sound when I get my implant?

Some clients have commented people’s voices can sound a little bit like Donald Ducky, to begin with. Once activated though, everyone’s initial experience with a cochlear implant is different and unique. Most cochlear implant users say that the sound changes over time and gets better every day. The daily practice and listening patience are important to the process.

What can I expect with surgery?

Cochlear Implant surgery is a routine procedure performed in the hospital. The surgery usually takes one to three hours and is performed by an Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon (ENT).

The day after surgery, your sound processor is programmed to meet your unique hearing needs before it is switched on. Many clients have told us this is their most memorable it is the point where their life begins again.

Can I take advantage of future advancements?

Yes. A common misconception is that choosing a cochlear implant now will exclude you from future improvements. As more advanced implants and processors are designed, clients are able to have to benefit from future upgrades, without the need for additional surgery.