This can be quite an emotional experience for the patient and their family, and normally takes place three to four weeks after surgery. It takes about two to three hours for the external speech processor to be fitted and activated.
When hearing through the implant for the first time, the sound is likely to be very strange. It takes several weeks or months to become accustomed to the new sound.
Initial programming takes place at the SCIP. The Audiologist fits the external parts of the cochlear implant and the programming of the speech processor is started. It is important to note that this is the first of many programming sessions before the processor is set up optimally.
Programming and assessment continues over the following months and years. The total number of appointments depends on individual needs. Hearing tests are completed on a regular basis.
During the first few months of implant use a great deal of learning must take place. When initially switched-on, the implant may sound very strange and it can be difficult to understand speech or identify environmental sounds.
Rehabilitation sessions with a hearing therapist allow patients to learn about their device and how to use it effectively. Activities may include listening to recorded speech, using assistive listening devices or using the telephone. Patients are encouraged to bring their partner or another supporter with them, as advice on how to practice at home is provided.
What ongoing support can I expect following surgery?
The following is an approximate outline of the contact you can expect with the team following your cochlear implant. You can contact SCIP at any stage should you have any questions or concerns.
|2-3 weeks after operation||Switch-on device over two days and written report|
|2 weeks after switch-on||Audiology and Rehabilitation|
|1 month after switch-on||Audiology and Rehabilitation|
|2 months after switch-on||Audiology and Rehabilitation|
|3 months after switch-on||Audiology and Rehabilitation|
|6 months after switch-on||Audiology and Rehabilitation|
|9 months after switch-on||Audiology and Rehabilitation|
|1 year after switch-on||Audiology and Rehabilitation|
|18 months after switch-on||Audiology|
|24 months after switch-on||Audiology|
What is the outlook with cochlear implants?
A cochlear implant will not “cure” your deafness, but it should provide a useful sensation of hearing sound. However, it takes a lot of time, patience and practice to use it as well as possible.