How to upgrade

Begin by understanding the steps to upgrade, how to navigate insurance and where to begin.

2 young girls on a camp wearing Cochlear implant

What you will find on this page

  • Learn how the sound processor upgrade process works
  • Steps in the upgrade process

If you plan to use insurance to purchase a new sound processor, our specialists can help you get your order started and our Reimbursement and Insurance Services group can help you navigate the insurance process.

Below are the steps for demonstrating the medical necessity of a sound processor upgrade.

If you're ready to talk to a customer service specialist, call 800-790-8737 or email

Steps to upgrade

  1. Complete an insurance intake form if your insurance company, clinician or home address has changed or if this is your first order through Cochlear Reimbursement and Insurance Services.  

  2. As a durable medical equipment (DME) provider, Cochlear will request a physician’s order and/or a signed Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) from your clinician on your behalf. This serves as a prescription that allows Cochlear to provide you with the sound processor(s) you ordered and justifies they are medically necessary for your cochlear implant to continuously function.

    Health plans have their own definitions of what is considered medically necessary, but typically includes anything that improves your hearing, or is required for the cochlear implant to function, such as sound processors, cables, coils, magnets, and rechargeable batteries.

  3. Cochlear's Reimbursement and Insurance Services team will work with all health plans to help recipients upgrade. Cochlear is the only manufacturer of the sound processor devices that are compatible with your cochlear implant. When Cochlear is considered out-of-network, a one-time-agreement (OTA) must be negotiated with your insurance company.

  4. Read the understanding insurance coverage section for more information or visit the Paying for upgrades section to learn three ways to pay for your sound processor replacement.


Information provided by Cochlear Americas regarding insurance coverage or reimbursement is provided as guidance only and is not intended as reimbursement or legal advice. Cochlear Americas makes no representation or warranty regarding such information or its completeness, accuracy, fitness for a particular purpose, or that following such guidance will result in any form of coverage or reimbursement from any insurer. Information presented is subject to change at any time. To be sure that you have the most current and applicable information available for your unique circumstances, please consult your own experts and seek your own legal advice regarding your reimbursement needs. In all cases, products or services billed must be medically necessary, actually performed and appropriately documented in the medical record. Coverage determinations and out-of-pocket costs may vary for individuals with private insurance.