Activating your cochlear implant

Prepare yourself for the moment you'll hear for the first time with your new device and know what questions to ask your audiologist.

Rudy sitting on couch reading on his iPad

What you will find on this page

  • Learn what questions to ask your audiologist
  • Know what to expect on activation day and beyond
  • Connect with others who have been there to get support and hear their stories

As activation day approaches, you’ll probably feel nervous and excited. To help you prepare for the big day, we've put together a list of questions to ask your audiologist about what to expect on activation day and beyond.

Questions to ask about activation and beyond

  1. What happens during the appointment?
  2. What does getting activated feel like?
  3. Will I hear right away?
  4. How will it sound? Will it sound just like I remembered, 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 device?
  7. How does my device work?
  8. What tips do you have for using my new sound processor?
  9. How often will I need to charge/change the batteries?
  10. Can I go swimming/take a shower right away?
  11. How do I store/care for my device?
  12. What resources do you recommend for rehabilitation?
  13. What happens if my hearing changes over time?
  14. 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 audiologist will explain how your sound processor works and how to care for it. They will then program 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 perfectly normal.

Your audiologist will then switch on the implant. The aim of this initial appointment is for you to tell the difference between a loud or soft sound. If you can tell the difference, you are 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.

On the other hand, you may be lucky enough to enjoy an activation moment just like Nan's. See the moment she heard again for the first time.

What to expect after your sound processor is turned on

Over the next several months after activation, you 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 will be critical to your hearing progress and success. You 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 needs at every learning level.


Please seek advice from your medical practitioner or health professional about treatments for hearing loss. They will be able to advise on a suitable solution for the hearing loss condition. All products should be used only as directed by your medical practitioner or health professional. Not all products are available in all countries. Please contact your local Cochlear representative.

Views expressed by Cochlear recipients and hearing health providers are those of the individual. Consult your hearing health provider to determine if you are a candidate for Cochlear technology. Outcomes and results may vary.

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