Activating your child's cochlear implant

Help prepare your child for the moment they'll hear for the first time with their new device and know what questions to ask their audiologist.

A toddler wearing an implant laughs as she sits on her mother's lap

What you'll find on this page

  • Learn what questions to ask your child's audiologist
  • Know what to expect at their activation appointment and beyond
  • Connect with other parents who have been there to get support and hear their stories

As your child’s activation approaches, you’ll probably be feeling far more nervous and excited than your child is feeling. To help you prepare for the big day, we've put together a list of questions to ask your child's audiologist about what to expect at the activation appointment and beyond.

Questions for parents to ask about activation day and beyond

  1. What happens during the appointment?
  2. What does getting activated (switched on) feel like?
  3. Will my child hear right away?
  4. How will it sound?
  5. How long will it take my child to adjust to the new sound?
  6. How do I put on my child's device?
  7. How does it work?
  8. What tips do you have for using the new device?
  9. How often will I need to charge/change the batteries?
  10. Can they have a bath/go swimming right away?
  11. How do I store/care for the device?
  12. What resources do you recommend for rehabilitation?
  13. What happens if my child's hearing changes over time?
  14. Is there a network of families of cochlear implant recipients that I can connect with?

What usually happens on activation day?

Your child's audiologist will explain how the sound processor works and how to care for it. They will then program it and set the volume and pitch levels that are right for your child. It may feel like this is taking a long time, but it's perfectly normal.

Your child's audiologist will then switch on the implant. Don’t worry if your child can’t hear clearly right away. It can take days or weeks of practice for their brain to understand the signals it’s receiving.

On the other hand, they may be lucky enough to enjoy an activation moment just like Cooper's. See the moment he heard for the first time.

What to expect after your child's sound processor is turned on

Over the next several months after activation, your child will most likely have a series of appointments with the audiologist to adjust and fine tune the sound processor's programs to help ensure optimal hearing performance. You will also need to follow the guidelines provided for care and maintenance, which vary based on device. We offer many "how to" videos, and our Customer Service team can help answer questions you may have.

Just as with any surgery, rehabilitation (both at home and with specialists) will be critical to your child's hearing progress and success. Your child will need to practice listening and speaking as much as possible. Please keep in mind that progress may take some time, but persistence and consistency can help a great deal. That’s why we offer robust and easy-to-use rehabilitation programs through The Communication Corner that can be tailored to your child’s needs at every learning level.


Please seek advice from your health professional about treatments for hearing loss. Outcomes may vary, and your health professional will advise you about the factors which could affect your outcome. Always read the instructions for use. Not all products are available in all countries. Please contact your local Cochlear representative for product information.

Views expressed are those of the individual. Consult your health professional to determine if you are a candidate for Cochlear technology.

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