Your child's cochlear implant surgery

Surgery can be stressful. Learn how to care for your child after surgery and help them on their road to recovery.

A child wearing an implant listens to her mother read a book

What you'll find on this page

  • Tips on caring for your child after surgery.
  • When your child can return to school and activities.
  • How long it may take to recover.

40 years and counting

Deciding on surgery is always difficult for parents, especially when children are young. You worry if the procedure will go well. Afterwards, you're concerned your child may be in pain or discomfort.

It's normal to feel anxious, but know that you're not alone.

Surgeons have performed cochlear implant procedures for more than 40 years. In that time, Cochlear has provided more than 600,000 implantable hearing devices worldwide — more than any other hearing implant manufacturer.

Understanding what to expect, and how to care for your child after surgery, will help you manage your own feelings as well as theirs.

After your child's procedure

After cochlear implant surgery, your child's head will be wrapped in a bandage to protect the incision behind the ear.

Your child will likely have a bandage after surgery for a day or two. You will be given instructions on how to care for the implant site after the bandage is removed.

When the bandage is removed, there may be some swelling around the incision. Once it heals and the swelling disappears, you may have a slightly raised bump where surgeons have placed the implant. Don't worry, this area is typically covered by hair.

Recovery requires patience, but it's important your child has time to heal, so they're ready to go when it's time to switch on their device.

How to care for your child after cochlear implant surgery

This post-surgery period is a time to rest. Here are some tips and recommendations to help your child get better.

  • Follow all your doctor's instructions, including making sure your child takes medication exactly as directed.
  • Your child may want to spend the first few days in bed.
  • Encourage quiet indoor play for the first few days.
  • Your child will have a bandage over their incision. Your doctor will advise you when it is OK to remove the bandage, usually about three days after surgery.
  • Follow-up care is an important part of your child’s treatment. Make sure you attend all the appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having any problems.

Take this opportunity to help your child get ready for the upcoming visits to their hearing health professional and speech therapist, if necessary.

How long does it take to recover?

The surgeon will set a recovery period before your child's device is switched on.

Every child recovers at a different pace. And the care they need will vary as well, depending on their independence and lifestyle.

Most children can go back to nursery or school one week after surgery. However, it's usually best they don't take part in sports for three to four weeks afterwards.

Talk to your doctor about how much activity is safe for your child.

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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. 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]