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Date: 18 April 2024

Time: 14:41

The external parts of a cochlear implant

Implant switch-on

Switch-on refers to the fitting of the external sound processor, which activates the internal parts. It takes place approximately three to four weeks after surgery and is the beginning of a comprehensive programme of rehabilitation.

The switch-on takes place at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Audiology Centre (QEHAC), usually over three appointments in the same week. We encourage you to bring your partner or family member with you. The appointments are with the audiologist and hearing therapist.

Appointments with the audiologist involve the programming of the sound processor via a computer. This is necessary to find the optimum settings to suit the individual patient needs. When these have been established, you will hear through your implant for the first time.

Programming can be time-consuming; over the first year this may involve many visits to QEHAC and demands a high level of commitment.

After programming, you will be seen by your hearing therapist who will help you to understand and recognise the new sounds you are picking up. You will be given a home listening programme to follow. This is necessary because the sounds from the implant may be difficult to interpret at first. Consistent use of the implant over time usually leads to an improvement in the sound quality.

It is important to remember that an implant will provide you with significant hearing ability, but it cannot restore normal hearing.

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