Activating your child's cochlear implant

Prepare your child for the moment they'll hear with their new device for the first time, and know what questions to ask their hearing health professional.

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

What you'll find on this page

  • Questions to ask your child's hearing health professional.
  • Information about your child's activation appointment and beyond.
  • Why practice and rehabilitation is important.

As your child's activation (switch-on) day approaches, you'll probably feel nervous and excited. To help you prepare, we've compiled a list of questions to ask your child’s hearing health professional.

These questions will help you know what to expect at the activation appointment and get everyone ready for life with a new hearing device.

Questions for parents to ask about activation day and beyond

  1. What happens during the appointment?
  2. What does activation feel like?
  3. Will my child hear straight 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 or change the batteries?
  10. How do I store and care for the device?
  11. What resources do you recommend for rehabilitation?
  12. What happens if my child’s hearing changes over time?
  13. Is there a network of families of cochlear implant recipients I can connect with?

What usually happens on activation day

Your child's hearing health professional will explain how the sound processor works and how to care for it.

They will program the sound processor and set the volume for different pitch levels that are comfortable for your child. This may take some time, and your child may have mixed emotions about the process, but this is normal.

Your child's hearing health professional will then switch on the implant.

Don't worry if your child can't hear clearly straight away. It can take some time for their brain to understand the signals it receives from the sound processor. Speak to your child's hearing health professional about their progress.

Born with profound hearing loss, two-year-old Cooper hears his mother’s voice for the first time.

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

Over the next several months, your child will probably have a series of appointments with your hearing health professional to fine tune the sound processor's programmes. This is to make sure your child's hearing performance is at its best.

You'll also need to follow the guidelines for care and maintenance, which vary for each device. We offer many "how to" videos and our customer service team may answer your questions.

Patience and persistence pays off

As with any surgery, rehabilitation (at home and with specialists) is important to your child's hearing success. They'll need to practise listening and speaking as much as possible.

Please remember that progress may take time. However, being patient, persistent and consistent will help a great deal.

Cochlear provides rehabilitation programmes you can access via your clinic.

M image

Contact us

Get in touch with Cochlear



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.

For a full list of Cochlear’s trademarks, please visit our Terms of Use page.


  1. Sharma SD, Cushing SL, Papsin BC, Gordon KA, Hearing and speech benefits of cochlear implantation in children: A review of the literature, Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2020 Mar 9;133:109984. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2020.109984. [Epub ahead of print]