Activating your cochlear implant

Get ready for the moment you'll hear for the first time with your new device and know what questions to ask your hearing health professional.

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What you'll find on this page

  • Questions to ask your hearing health professional.
  • What to expect on activation day and beyond.
  • A story about one person's switch-on experience.

As activation (switch-on) of your new sound processor approaches, you'll probably feel nervous and excited.

To help you prepare, here's a list of questions to ask your hearing health professional about what to expect on activation day and beyond.


  1. What happens during the appointment?
  2. What does activation of the cochlear implant feel like?
  3. Will I hear right away?
  4. How will it sound? Will it sound just like I remember, or will it sound mechanical or high pitched?
  5. How long will it take to adjust to the new sound?
  6. How do I put on my sound processor?
  7. How does my device work?
  8. Do you have any tips for using my new sound processor?
  9. How often will I need to charge or change the batteries?
  10. Can I go swimming or take a shower right away?
  11. How do I store and care for my sound processor?
  12. What resources and activities do you recommend for rehabilitation?
  13. What happens if my hearing changes over time?
  14. How often will I have to fine tune and adjust my sound processor's programs.
  15. Is there a network of hearing implant recipients in our community? Can you put me in touch with them?

What usually happens on activation day

Your hearing health professional will explain how your sound processor works and how to care for it. They will programme your sound processor and set the volume and pitch levels that are right for you.

It may feel like this is taking a long time, but it's normal. This process is called mapping.

The aim of this appointment is for you to tell the difference between a loud or soft sound. If you can tell the difference, you're on your way.

Don't worry if you can't hear clearly right away. It can take days or weeks of practice to train your brain to understand the signals it's receiving.

You may be lucky enough to enjoy an activation moment like Pamela.

"It's more than I expected. I didn't expect to be able to hear today. I thought I would hear noises but not be able to understand what anyone was saying."*¹

- Pamela, Cochlear™ implant recipient

After your sound processor is switched on

Over the next several months, you'll probably have some appointments with your hearing health professional. This is to fine tune the programmes on your sound processor and help you get the best possible results from your new hearing — such as how accessories may help you when using the phone or listening to music.

You'll need to follow the guidelines on how to maintain your device. To help, we offer many "how to" videos and our customer service team can answer your questions.

Rehabilitation is fundamental to your hearing progress and success. You'll need to practise listening and speaking as much as possible to ensure the best outcomes.

Practice and patience

Keep in mind that progress may take time, so persistence and consistency is a great help. Everyone's hearing is unique. While some can hear well after one or two mappings, others take longer.

Practice and patience helps your brain to learn how to interpret the sounds. That's why we offer easy-to-use rehabilitation programmes we can tailor to your needs at every learning level.

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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 follow the directions for use. Not all products are available in all countries. Please contact your local Cochlear representative for product information.

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