Cochlear implant surgery

Getting a cochlear implant for you or your child is a big decision, so it’s important to know what to expect before, during and after surgery.

Hearing my daughter graduate was a magic moment

What you’ll find on this page

  • Learn how surgeons perform cochlear implant surgery.
  • Hear from a cochlear implant surgeon.
  • Listen to people who have undergone cochlear implant surgery.

What happens during cochlear implant surgery?

After a general anaesthetic, your surgeon makes a small incision on the side of your head. Sometimes they shave a small amount of hair.

Your surgeon then places the implant under your skin and inserts an electrode in your inner ear. Tests check whether the implant is working and measure your response to the device.

When your surgeon confirms everything is fine, they close the incision. They often use dissolvable stitches, so you may have no stitches to remove later.

How long does a cochlear implant operation take?

Getting a cochlear implant takes about one to two hours per ear. It may be done as an outpatient procedure.

How long does it take to recover from a cochlear implant operation?

After surgery, you or your child go to a recovery area until your anaesthesia wears off. This may take a few hours.

As this happens, you may feel a little pressure or discomfort around your implant area. Once your medical team is happy with your recuperation, you can go home.

Usually, your dressing can be removed a day or so after your operation. This is when you're also told how to look after your implant area. You should be back to your normal activities a few days after your surgery, but you need to take extra care of the implant area.

Your hearing health professional will let you know when they can switch on your implant and pair it with a sound processor. This waiting period is to let the implant area heal.

"Knowing how much it was going to help her was worth every fear that we had with surgery day. It wasn't as scary as we thought."

- Brian and Shelly, parents of Nora, Cochlear™ Nucleus® recipient


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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