Activating your cochlear implant

Activation is when your hearing care professional turns on and programs your sound processor for the first time. The experience is unique to each person and it is the beginning of your hearing journey.


What you'll find on this page

  • Setting expectations for your hearing journey and how to prepare for activation.
  • Learn what to expect during the activation appointment.
  • Find additional resources for your journey after activation and connect with other Cochlear implant recipients for support.

Like any journey into new territory, there are both expected and unknown experiences ahead. Some of the advice you’ve been given may work well leading up to and following activation of your implant, and some of what you experience on activation day and beyond may surprise you. Remember, your new hearing technology does not amplify sound like a hearing aid, it delivers sound in a new way. Improvements require hard work and deliver new connections to the world of sound.

Preparing for activation

phone.png Before you arrive at the clinic for activation of your sound processor, download the Cochlear™ Nucleus® Smart App* if you have a Nucleus® 8 Sound Processor, Nucleus Kanso® 2 Sound Processor or Nucleus® 7 Sound Processor.** The smart apps allow you to control features of your sound processor from your compatible smartphone. You can create a log in and password to explore the app in demo mode until your activation. Learn more about the Nucleus Smart App.

What to expect during activation

Come to your appointment prepared

check-list.pngYour Smart App may be paired to your processor during your appointment so you will need the app log in and password. If you experienced issues downloading the app and setting it up, bring your Apple® App Store or Google Play™ Store account log in and password information to your appointment.

You may also want to spend some time writing down a list of questions that you would like to ask your hearing care professional to get the most out of your activation appointment.

It’s time for activation

activate.pngYour hearing professional will provide you with a sound processor, connect it to your implant, and start programming. Programming is when your hearing care professional will fine tune the settings on your sound processor. Your brain may need time to adjust so that you begin to recognize the sounds you may have been missing.

Optimize your hearing

gears.pngYour hearing care professional will work with you to adjust your device settings as needed. Please keep in mind that your hearing needs may change over time. Your hearing care professional may make adjustments in the future if needed. And check out our rehabilitation resources to help you get started hearing your best.

Additional resources for after activation

The Cochlear Recipient Services & Support Directory will provide an overview of the tools and resources that may be needed along your hearing journey.

Learn more

Recipients share their activation stories


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.

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

Apple, the Apple logo, FaceTime, Made for iPad logo, Made for iPhone logo, Made for iPod logo, iPhone, iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad mini, iPad and iPod touch are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

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*For information regarding the compatibility of Cochlear's Sound Processors with Apple or Android devices, and True Wireless Devices, visit:

**The Nucleus 7 Sound Processor is compatible with the Nucleus Profile Plus, Nucleus Profile Series, CI500 Series, CI24RE (Freedom) Series, CI24R and CI24M implants. The timeframe for Nucleus 7 Sound Processor compatibility for other implants depends on research and development timelines, manufacturing processes and regulatory approvals.