Cochlear implants

NEWSFLASH: A new site is available at with everything you ever wanted to know about cochlear implants!

MY HEARING JOURNEY – My personal learning curve, jumping from hearing aids to cochlear implants

I discovered during my cochlear implant journey that the medic team don’t give you a lot of information, just some general ballpark end-user results and info on the implantation process. Once I started digging, I discovered a whole lot of stuff which enabled me to make an INFORMED decision. As I’m the one wearing the thing for the rest of my life, I want it to be as effective as possible. Hopefully, the information here will help those considering a cochlear implant to make an informed decision too.

It’s important to remember that a cochlear implant will not give you normal hearing. However, it will give you better hearing than with hearing aids, and it can take up to 2 years for the rehabilitation process. Some will do well within a few months; others, particularly those born deaf, can take much longer. Many cochlear implant users report ongoing improvements for years after activation.

There is some debate around the criteria and testing used to determine whether you are a cochlear candidate or not. Myles de Bastion published his views on this subject, which I am in agreement with – ‘NICE Guidelines: Introducing a Flawed and Discriminatory Practice’.

All brands will work well for you. They are slightly different and one brand might suit your needs and wants better than another.

CHOOSING A BRAND – what you need to know

Having a cochlear implant implanted isn’t Plug ‘n Play. It’s like a computer – Garbage In, Garbage Out. You will need to work with the cochlear implant to help it along, and retrain your brain to recognise the new sounds. So, as well as keeping your expectations low, you need to do some rehabilitation work to get the most out of your implant.

REHABILITATION – resources to help you get the most out of your cochlear implant


Be aware that if you listen to these links through your hearing aids, you will be listening to sounds processed twice, once through your hearing aid, and again through a cochlear implant simulation. So OF COURSE it’s going to sound screwy. I’d suggest asking a hearing friend to have a listen and give you their thoughts. Don’t forget that your brain will adapt and learn to process the sound signal over time, so it will improve.

Listening demonstrations – a good representation of channel simulations and electrode depths
Health Affairs
UT Dallas
UT Dallas – children


Sometimes this goes away with a cochlear implant, sometimes it doesn’t. Roll the dice and see …


This is a very informative video as the surgeon comments on the surgery and cochlear implants throughout. Well worth a watch in my opinion as it you get the explanation along with it. (After the jump, click on High Bandwidth under the video screen, it seems to play better. Click on CC for captions or check the transcript button. Not for the squeamish!

Video of a cochlear implant operation
Tips on managing the hospital stay and operation.

Should you have a meningitis vaccine? Read about Kathleen.


SOECIC 2010 charges document – Southampton UK
Healthcare Blue Book – USA
Global Cochlear Implant – obtain cheaper implants abroad


Cochlear implants : Where we are and where we’re going – a Powerpoint slideshow by Amber M. Gardner, Ph.D., CCC-A University of Virginia Health System, which offers a fascinating look at the progress of cochlear implants with photos that will make your hair stand on end! There were some very brave pioneers and we are eternally grateful to them.

Cochlear implant hybrids (2006)

Totally implantable cochlear implants for middle ear deafness. A paper was presented, The development of a tympanic membrane sensor for a totally implantable cochlear implant or hearing aid, (1997) but as yet, nothing has been developed from this. However, see this article by Rahul Sharpeshkar, Analog VLSI and Biological Systems lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2006). You can read an explanation of their system at Mimicking the ear.

Considerations for design of future cochlear implant electrode arrays (2008)

The Neurelec Digisonic SP binaural cochlear implant moves away from bilateral implantation and allows the wearer to hear in stereo with one processor and two microphones. UK news item (2010).

NICE guidance TA166: Cochlear implants for severe to profound deafness in children and adults (Updated 2011)


Hearing Journey – the largest Cochlear Implant forum : the best place to meet cochlear implant users and ask for friendly advice. All brands are welcome however more technical advice can only be given for Advanced Bionics.

Bionic Ear Association – Join the cochlear implant community, connect to a mentor, use online rehabilitation tools

MedEl – User community

Cochlear – Nucleus CI community & Advocacy Programme

British CI Group – Find your local cochlear implant centre in the UK
National CI Users Association – Find your local cochlear implant support group and information on cochlear implants
UK Cochlear Implant Users Group on Yahoo
Case studies – read about cochlear implant user experiences
CI Theory – Optimize cochlear implant performance, downloads
NHS – Annual Evidence Update on Hearing Disorders
NICE – Cochlear implant guidance
Deafness Research UK – Cochlear Implant Research
Interview with Professor Graeme Clark
Comparison of bimodal and bilateral cochlear implant users on speech recognition
FAQ – Air travel with a cochlear implant

Love playing sports, or working in construction? Here’s my article on helmets for cochlear implant users, which is continually updated with new resources.

Photographs of inner ear anatomy and cochlear implantation (Source: UT Southwestern)

If you’re technically-minded and want a deeper look at cochlear implants, check out this book: Programming Cochlear Implants

MAUDE (Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience) – FDA database of reported cochlear implant problems. Open the Product Class drop-down list, and choose ‘Implant, Cochlear.’ Choose the results per page at the bottom and date range. You will be able to see how many problems occurred with each manufacturer and what they were.

82 responses

3 01 2010
Howard Samuels

Hi Tina,

Holy smokes, you have done a lot of research on implants! I’m an engineer, and didn’t have nearly the amount of information you have available to you when I received my first implant.

You will find a lot of personal stories on Hearing Journey, and some technical posts, but probably nothing that you haven’t already figured out for yourself.



9 01 2010


i had a CI meeting and i was interested in having the implant but did not like the idea of having an big hearing over my ear with a wire loop attach to a round plastic to stick to the back of my head! 😦

I was hoping something more invincible.


23 08 2014

they do have an invisible Cochlear Implant that implants inside your head Nicky with batteries and no outside parts, But its super expensive!! like $30,000 dollars! :-O its called the “Esteem Hearing Implant” & you have to have the batteries changed surgically every 10 years.

24 08 2014

actually regular cochlear implants cost more between 50,000 and up so yeah.. I just had to do a little research so not bad for the invisible Esteem Hearing implant by Envoy. I contacted them and they send me a nice free info package by mail with a DVD included with captions. I’m 20 years old so I was looking for something a little less noticeable too. If you where born deaf for medical reasons, I don’t know if it will work as good though. I’m surprised the site didn’t add it to their list above. Sorry if sound gimmicky, Not advertising nothin. Just thought I’d share the info if it helps someone.

9 01 2010

This is the reason why most men with short receding hair don’t go for a CI. On the otherhand, women can cover theirs up and you bet we have more women cyborgs lol.

24 01 2011
Derek Trayler

I have short receded hair and I would rather put up wih it than hear no sound. I do wear a hat sometimes.

14 09 2011

I have keep shaving my side of head and I can’t cover it up because falls off I hope come up better idea women wouldnt have keep shaving that spot crazy to me but I love my CI

2 10 2012
Jennifer Bergman

Need someone to show you how to put the wire on
the right way

30 01 2014

can you wear cochlear implant with wet hair

30 01 2014

Yes you can. Some cochlear processors are shower proof or waterproof too.

25 01 2010
Dan Schwartz

Hi Tina, Nicky, Howard and Bluesky!

@Tina: It was nice having both you and Katie-louise check in for the Hearing Journey roundtable chat Thursday night!

There’s one minor correction/update: The deal for Phonak (OK, Phonak’s nominal holding compay Sonovus) was completed the first week of January, when the $489 million in cash actually exchanged hands.

@Howard: Tina has done one hell of a job in her own research, getting useful information from Jo, the audiologist in Wales, as well as accumulating other counsel from her surgeon and CI audiologist.

@Nicky: Nobody said deafness would be easy: I ran into this when I was a hearing aid dispenser, with patients who wanted the subminiature CIC (Completely-In-Canal) hearing aids, despite them not working very well. Other patients had no problem with a body-worn processor pack and wire going to a BTE earpiece w/mic & receiver if it meant they could hear better (the original Nicolet digital hearing aid, and the original AVR-Sonovation Trans-Ear were two in the 1988-1993 time frame). Most all CI users fall somewhere in between the two extremes, with the trend of older people concealing their processor & headband, and younger people — Especially kids — flainting theirs, with bright colors, decorations & jewelry, and their hair pulled back to show off their hardware. It’s the kids leading the way with their attitude towards their bionic ears of “Hey, it’s not a flaw: It’s a feature!.” Katie-louise “Bionic Bailey” has been blazing the trail over in England proudly strutting her stuff, with many other teenagers in England and America following her lead.

[Disclaimer: Even though I’m in my 40’s, my own hearing aids are bright red & have Tube-riders on them; and when I get my CI it’s going to be air-brushed fluorescent orange-red!]

Getting back to the subject of the difficulty of deafness itself: Only you can decide how much of a hinderance your own hearing loss actually is: Some people aren’t really bothered by it; while for others (yours truly included) it’s a devastating career-ender. You have to balance how well you want to hear with how much you want to display: AB’s processor is admittedly large and bulky, but has the best performance; while MedEl’s Opus2 is the smallest, and you sacrifice some performance (though many find the remote control handy). Cochlear’s new Nucleus 5 is the same size as the Freedom 4 it replaced & is slightly larger than the Opus 2.

@Bluesky: I don’t have the statistics for the UK; but over here in America women consume almost twice the healthcare resources as men — That is why they are more expensive to insure. [This is an ongoing part of the healthcare policy debate here: Should men have to pay more than the actuarial cost of their insurance to subsidize women to be “fair?”]

26 01 2010

Wow, Tina! You’ve certainly done a lot of research!! I will be bookmarking this page for future use also many useful pages from this blog! You go, girl!! Keep informing us of many useful things.

29 01 2010

Tina, you did a fantastic job in your research! I have bookmarked this page to share with others who inquire on CI. It is jampacked with information!

31 01 2010

Wow. I’m glad I came across this post. This post will be valuable when time comes for me to decide which to pick. I was leaning more to Cochlear, but now, realized that I need to give each company a fair look and go from there. Definitely bookmarking this one. Thanks for your time in compiling all these information, which I’m sure was time consuming.

7 02 2010


I congratulate and thank you for such a wonderful work. This website is testament to your determination to excel with your CI. Ultimately, it is a gift to those with hearing-loss and their families.

I encourage you to continue growing and updating the information. There are few, if any, places where shuc valuable information is available in such a candid and succinct manner.

I echo Howard’s comments : Even as a Surgeon, I did not have quite this breadth of information at my fingertipse when I was first implanted. You are quite a remarkable researcher !

Dr.V. (See you on HJ)

14 02 2010
Matt Covington

Tina this is a job well done.

10 03 2010
Michelle G

Tina –

Thank you so much for this information. My son will be getting a CI in his right ear and I am so scared that I will make the wrong brand choice. I want him to get the best, but its hard just listening to the manufactures. Of course they all say they are the “worlds best”. My son is 2 years old and is deaf in his right ear and has only limited hearing in his left.
I listed to the CI demos and it’s frightening. Not that he will hear differently (I think it’s a miracle), but rather the type of CI really does matter! I am having a hard time figuring out what is truly the best for clarity. 12 channels sound the best to me, but I am sure there is more to it then just that. I also can’t seem to find a recent document that describes the top rated CIs (Nucleus 5, Harmony and MAESTRO)
Thank you again for bringing all this information to one spot. It has been very helpful.

12 07 2010
Dan Schwartz

Michelle, I’m not sure if your son has received his implant yet; but the warranties on the implanted electronics (at least here in the US) is 3 years for Cochlear, five years for MedEl, and 10 years for AB.


17 01 2011


Cochlear’s warranty for internal device is actually 10 years, not 3 years. Here is the source:

31 03 2012

The internal implant is 10 years warranty with all 3 companies.

How you get your numbers Dan ?

15 01 2011

Hi Michelle,

Yes, all Manufacturers will say “we’re the best”. But you’re doing the right thing right now– you’re doing your research. I encourage you to personally meet cochlear implant users and ask them about what they like about their brand.

I am a Cochlear user and I’ve been with them since I was 9 years old, so that’s 18 years now. I got my second implant 2 years ago. They are the oldest company and I can say the quality is supberb. The nice thing about the Nucleus 5 is that it is water-resistant and the ear-level design is great. I went from a heavy Spectra bodywear in ’92 to this ear-level device, so you know you can count on Cochlear to stay cutting-edge. Of course, I am biased, so I would encourage you to speak to other CI users.

I would also encourage you to think about his rehabilitation program and speech therapy… I recommend auditory-verbal therapy because these therapists will help your son learn to use what hearing he has and using the most of his cochlear implant to improve his speech and listening skills.

Please, please do not take those listening demos seriously. There’s just no way anyone can hear the way a person with a cochlear implant can. In fact, that’s why we have mapping. Every cochlear implant user hears differently from another one. I can hear all the original sentences with clarity with my Nucleus 22 on that site. And your son will too in time.

Generally though, the more channels he has, the better it is because there is a bigger range of low and high frequencies. But that is for an audiologist to decide– they may even turn a channel off for better clarity. I have four channels turned off in my map.

Don’t be afraid. This cochlear implant technology is the greatest gift you will ever give your child. I promise you.


15 01 2011

I will be writing a blog post on water resistance of cochlear implants as there is a lot of confusion on this issue. If a Cochlear CI-user damages their CI through water, they will void the warranty – just check the Cochlear handbook. More details to come…

17 01 2011

@Funnyoldlife regarding water resistance of Cochlear’s cochlear implants, there is a difference between a water resistant device and a waterproof device. You can’t go swimming or take a shower with it. Patients must understand the difference. But being the athlete I am, I go to the gym a lot. So I sweat. Sweating is a natural part of living. A little mist is also part of living.

I have noticed a tremendous difference between the Nucleus 22 device and the Nucleus 24 device which is the first water-resistant cochlear implant. My Nucleus 22 would degrade in sound quality much more quickly so I had to send it in for replacements more often. It’s not so for the Nucleus 24 or Nucleus 5.

I’m interested in seeing this statement by Cochlear– where did you find this? If this is by accident, Cochlear will take cake of you. Cochlear cannot guarantee that they can repair any water-damaged part, but that doesn’t mean they can’t replace the part or exchange it for a new processor.

17 01 2011

Tina –

As a Cochlear CI user like Leah who has been with Cochlear since late 1980’s, I can definitely tell you that your information about Cochlear voiding the warranty if CI users damages their CI through water is absolutely false. Cochlear’s Freedom sound processor has an IP rating of 44 which means that it is splash proof. Recipients can play in the sprinklers with their Freedom processor. Plus, people can get as sweaty as much as they need to with while their sound processor is on. Cochlear’s Nucleus 5 sound processor has an IP rating of 57 which means that in addition to the fact that it’s splash proof, it can be submerged in still water for up to 30 minutes. This scenario is for when people go canoeing or kayaking and if the processor accidentally falls into the water, someone can pick up the processor without worrying that it would be damaged.

The warranty will NOT be voided if the water gets in the processor and if the person was using their processor appropriately. It’s when if someone was using the processor inappropriately such as swimming with it or taking a shower it, the warranty of course will be voided.

As someone who has had processors being damaged due to water and moisture being trapped in them, Cochlear has always been delighted to swap my processors for new ones without any problems. I know several other people who are Cochlear recipients who had water or moisture damage their processors and had no problems getting their processors fixed or swapped under warranty.

Tina – would you please mind telling me your background? I’m asking because you sound like you’re a “know-it-all.”

17 01 2011

Tina –

Here is information on Cochlear’s warranty regarding water resistance:

“Excessive water damage

The warranty will be void should we find evidence of use in water that is not in accordance with the Product’s water resistance properties or with the care and maintenance guidelines mentioned in your Product’s User Manual. Make sure to consult your Product’s User Manual for proper use and care in and around water.”

“that is NOT IN ACCORDANCE with the Product’s water resistance properties” – This means that if the sound processor was not used properly such as swimming with the sound processor, warranty will be voided, but if the Freedom sound processor gets wet from sweats or the N5 sound processor is submerged in still water for no more than 30 minutes, warranty will NOT be voided because it was used IN ACCORDANCE.

7 02 2011

Hi! so Nucleus 5 is good for you? because that what I am getting this Friday, on my day of surgery, it will be a month after before they activiation it on. I am lookin for someone who has experiences with nucleus 5 to stay in touch with and communicate with.
If you are interest to let me know your experiences with Nucleus 5.

30 11 2017

Have u ever thought about teaching your some American Sign Language as well as giving him a cochlear implant. It is easy to learn.

1 05 2010
John Hopper

I finally got a chance to spend some time reading your blog. As I imagined, you have done a fantastic job. I have a couple of people that are interested in CI’s and will refer them here for information.

You are quite an organizer and an asset to the hearing impared community.

Keep up the good work. See You on HJ. (the avtivation video with captions is awesome).


12 07 2010
implanty zębów

Super text, I will add this blog to my favorites.

29 10 2010

Hi All,

I am planning cochlear implant for my sister. She has sever to profound hearing loss. Her age is 20. She has an excelent IQ. She has this hearing loss since birth but still has some speech.

I am confused about choice of hearing aid (Between Cochlear Neucleas 5 and Digisonic.

Can some one help me here??? PLZ PLZ PLZ…

29 10 2010

Hi Richa

Are you looking at a hearing aid or a cochlear implant?

If you want a cochlear implant, there are 4 brands. You can read the research I have done on my page about the brands at Choosing a Brand. Alternatively, you can check out Sounding Board or speak to a cochlear implant BEA mentor at Connect to Mentor (UK) or Connect to Mentor (USA).
If you are looking for a hearing aid, then it would be best to speak to an audiologist.

7 02 2011

I chosen Nucleus 5 because its newest tech, and its waterproof, also it has a remote that helps you “zoom” in the sound of conversation in large crowd, which i think will be very useful for me. Its my opinion, I am getting C.I. surgery this friday.


14 04 2014

go with AB clear voice would be best it will help filter out the back ground noise

6 01 2011


Thx for your comment.

My sister has got operated. We chose Cochlear Neucleas 5.

Now i am quite apprehensiev about teh speech therapy and teh results.

Can some one guide about best practices in speech therapy for a cochealer implant patient?

and can some one suggest how much improvement can we expect in her level of hearing ? Will she be able to talk on mobile? will she be able to hear us from back?

She got operated a month back. Can you tell me what is mapping and how crucial in the hearing process??


15 01 2011

Hi Richa,

Congratulations on your sister’s new implant!

This is a very exciting time… and also a very scary time because there are so many unknowns. I’ll share my story. I was born with a profound hearing loss and was implanted at age 9, and I’ve been using the implant for 18 years, and recently got a second one on my other ear. It has been the greatest gift in life.

This is not something that magically happens overnight. Yes, your sister will hear. But her brain has to learn all the new sounds. And part of that process is by going to a speech therapist. There are many different approaches to speech therapy. I was learned in the auditory-verbal therapy, which emphasizes listening and talking. That’s the therapy that I would recommend for your sister, so that she can make the most use of her cochlear implant.

Can you provide a little more background regarding your sister’s hearing loss? How old is she? Where does she live?

Yes, she will hear crickets chirping and learn how to speak on the phone… but it will take time and lots of patience and faith. Don’t give up hope.

5 08 2011
Not all deaf people want to be ‘fixed’ | Hearing Aid News

[…] more deaf people now have them, and they have become more accepted in the deaf community (here is a fantastic blog charting the jump from hearing aids to cochlear implants). Several deaf people I know recently […]

6 08 2011
Not all deaf people want to be ‘fixed’ | Charlie Swinbourne | Birmingham Link

[…] more deaf people now have them, and they have become more accepted in the deaf community (here is a fantastic blog charting the jump from hearing aids to cochlear implants). Several deaf people I know recently […]

25 08 2011
Not all deaf people want to be ‘fixed’ | Usefulref Best online reference

[…] more deaf people now have them, and they have become more accepted in the deaf community (here is a fantastic blog charting the jump from hearing aids to cochlear implants). Several deaf people I know recently […]

14 09 2011

I have nucleus 5 I had implant from april 7,2010 and had for a year now and I am loving it everybit up til June 2011 got infection and couldn’t wear it for few months i go back sept 29th..hope i wear again …I born with sevre hearing loss sinced birth and worn 2 hearing aids from agae 2 up to 35 years old , when 35 years old hearing aids no longer helped me to hear so took me about 5 months later, decide to speak to CI specialist and ask all questioins I think of and all and so I speak very well so i candiated for it …really great!!! I heard alot of noises I never heard before…I loved it ..but hardest part is hearing voices because of incoming noises in background overwhelm me but I had speech therapist helped me throught it and learn to ignore that noises but tell you worst place I went is Mall , it went crazy I heard every little thing and noises but couldn’t focus on human voices as well but regualr normal hearing person tell u that that is normal they have that problem too so not only me that overwhelmed but I couldn’t trade for world how much I love hear my kids voices again and all sometiems its frustration but we all not perfect and God made us this way and brought us into this world and tells us to accept who we are and this new techonolgy that was invetned and helping us for our new future and Im glad this was invented and great technology but I hope that one Im on not RECALL on it if so I hope we all get whate3ver and contiue to hear with CI…..if you all have anything u want to ask just ask me I tell u more experience and more about it ,,,really miracle fo me …I loved it

13 11 2011
dana bray

hi i am real deaf for grow up since i get ci age 33 i love ci for 10 year but i am 43 now i am cerebral palsy in wheelchair also .smile i learn sound smooth i like it i happy

12 03 2012
syed zahir naqvi

my son is 12 year old i am from pakistan and he is dam and daf and i need echo plant sergeory cochlear implant plz gide me and hallp me

26 04 2012
Salvo La Rocca

Can you legally enter the United Kingdom (England), if so you should immediatelly seek to become a resident, register your son as a resident and then obtain a national insurance number number for him, once he his a resident of the UK you should bring him to the Manchester Cochlear Implantation Center, there you will find a possible solution to his problem..
It will be the best gift he will be receiving from you.

26 05 2012

Re: Whomever produced the remark that this was an excellent web site actually needs to possess their brain reviewed.

26 05 2012

Re: Thank you Judy for your kind comment! And your excellent, informative website is….??

15 07 2012

This is a great website, i am on a waiting list for a CI op on my left ear,i am bilateral profoundly sensorineural deaf due to Cholesteatoma. I hoe to have CI op in late September/October. I have spent a few weeks researching on the net for the best suited CI for me, this website has helped me alot.

Many Thanks

15 07 2012

Hi Dave, you’re welcome. Good luck with your hearing journey. You might also want to check out the new website and the shopping guide for cochlear implants there.

20 09 2012
Schwartz Laser Eye Center Reviews : Improve Eyesight Without Glasses

[…] 16.Cochlear implants « I look so I can hear…. This is a very informative video as the surgeon comments on the surgery and cochlear implants throughout. Well worth a watch in my opinion as it you get the … […]

11 11 2012

I would like to know if the sound from a CI is the same with the sound that a hearing person hears?..and if not how different is it?…If someone knows and could inform me i would be thankful..

11 11 2012

Hi Maria

I have asked friends who were hearing then went deaf and got a cochlear implant (or two). They say the sound is mostly the same. There are a few musical notes which are not quite the same – this is coming from trained musicians with a finely tuned ear! and some say the quality is not quite the same – these users are likely not to have done as much rehabilitation as those who say the sound is the same. The capability of the cochlear implant to give a very good replication of sound is possible with today’s technology – I would recommend looking at the Shopping Guide and comparing the ability of each implant to process sound. Your brain will do the rest.

12 11 2012

Thank you very much for your answer…I am very glad to hear that the sound is almost the same :]

Have a nice day

9 01 2013

If one person receives cochlear implant , how much distance a person can hear the sound effectively

18 01 2013

I have been research is there any massages therapy for cochlear implant ? I have it since I was 6 now I’m soon 30s.
Hope hear u soon.


18 01 2013

Hi Kimi
Can you explain more. Massage therapy for which part of the body?

23 01 2013

I just wondering if anyone had massage at head area where cochlear implant at. Or any information for massage therapy schools that study about cochlear pains or sores try to erased the stress free pains ? I have hard times find one around to do that kind learning about healing for cochlear in head. Tea tree oil helps but I want more… Deep look up for study on cochlear massage. More people use cochlear they need more massage therapy for that. Have u ever touch Ur head where cochlear implant at u feel different it something.

5 03 2013

Hi Tina,

Thank you so much for this site. I went deaf during the last 20 years, nothing is left on my left site, on my right I’ve got HA, but it is going down very fast. I actually made my decision for a CI and hope to get it by June. After my research I prefer the Cochlear Nucleus 5 and hope this will be the right choice.
2 years ago my doc have told me, that I’m a good candidate for a CI, cause I was not deaf born and my brain will adapt the signals very soon. It had been a difficult decision for me, not while I’m afraid of the surgery, but getting loss of my cranio-sacral move ability. While I’m working as an osteopath it is the major rule, that everything in the body has its free move ability, especially the bones of the skull, meninges and nervous system.
@Kimi a osteopath or cranio-sacral therapist is the one you are looking for. He may help you. You describe the thing, I’m most afraid of.
But I made my decision for me, my family (I’ve got a 3 year old daughter talking sooo much I would like to understand better) and now I am looking forward to june

Excuse my writing, I’m not native…

Age, 38

5 03 2013

Guten Abend Thorsten,

Congratulations on starting your CI journey. Please make sure you check the latest, and unbiased, cochlear implant comparison chart at

I would be interested to know how you made your choice. A lot of people choose their CI based on size alone….

7 03 2013

Hi Tina,
I´m on my way and doing my due dilligence^^, my head is feeling like a steam engine. the site is giving me alot of information, but of course a lot of questions too.
In my understanding so far it is basically important, that the part wich are implanted are the best, cause you can´t change without another surgery. All outer head parts could be changed or upgraded.
I have a question about the Elektrodes, Channels and these pitches.
The Cochlear parthas got 22 Elektrodes, which themes to be more than the 16 elektrodes the AB have got. But in my understanding the AB Processor and Software (Fidelity 120) is able to pimp this up, creating more virtual channels. The Cochlear Software is not able to do so??
By starting my journey I was a little bit focused to the CI from Cochlear and the Nucleus 5 , but now I´m not so sure, if this is the best for me.
Maybe someone here can me help to understand this hardware stuff and witch system is the better? What weight should I lay on the hardware and what on the software?

Thanx a lot,


10 03 2013

Hi Thorsten

You should be placing more weight on the hardware as this will stay inside your head for a very, very long time. Your software and processor can easily be upgraded, but the implanted hardware is only replaced when it fails or you have an explantation for other reasons such as infection.

The most up-to-date and comprehensive comparison chart for the major cochlear implant brands is at

THere is a good explanation of electrodes and channels at You are correct in saying that Cochlear cannot create virtual channels.

I have 3 electrodes switched off in each ear and my hearing tests as absolutely fine in the testing booth, with 13 electrodes. My brain has more to learn in processing sounds, and a simpler map has (for me) resulted in higher speech perception scores.

3 09 2013

I just posted a reply below about upgrades. This is a very important question. My son’s internal processor has been upgraded twice. Well, more than that, but two very significant upgrades. The external processors have been upgraded several times, too. We’ve never had a problem with moisture, and he just picked up his completely waterproof processor today. Next week (hopefully) he’ll get his newest processor, with equipment that can link it to external devices via Bluetooth. I’ve been doing this with him (and his youngest brother, too) for about 12 years now. The technology continues to blow me away, never stops to amaze me.
The number of electrodes and channels may be important to you, but also look at the dynamic range of input, the amount/range of sound that can be processed at one time. How many decibels? Speech and music at the same time? My son does well with speech, but also a wide range of other sounds, to include music.

3 09 2013

RE: water resistance… My son just had his second CI activated today, is now “bilateral”. There is a difference between water resistance and water proof. We’ve never had any problems with moisture at all, but he just received an actually waterproof processor today, and can’t wait to use it.
RE: upgrades of internal processor… The internal processor software CAN be upgraded. My son has lived through two very amazing upgrades already. A deaf bilateral CI adult (post lingually deaf) described the difference as going from scratchy AM radio sound to FM, then from FM to CD, then high res w/hearing individual instruments and notes vs. just music. You do have to think long term, potential for future upgrades, not just the flashy pieces you see in front of you now. My oldest son is now fully mainstreamed in 10th grade, advanced courses, Arabic (B last year), no outside support, not even an FM. We never stop being amazed at the possibilities he has ahead of him.
He’s had his first implant for 12 years, is now sitting in front of the TV with only his new implant processor on (newly implanted ear), watching with GOOD closed captioning. He says he hears patterns right now, softly. When both are on he hears kind of an “echo”. And he’s quite excited. What amazing technology! 🙂

22 09 2013
Julie Ladeira

Does anybody have experience with hybrid cochlear implants?

26 09 2013

I’m back and with wrap-up questions this time. I understand AB reps will fully support the product they represent (sounds a bit redundant). Med-El reps do the same. However, without the support of an audiologist and surgery scheduled within 3 weeks, I really need a bit of advice. While I’m more adept at the lingo than I was some months ago, I need a bit of a break if I mess it up. I’ve worn BTEs since ’64/’65 and that is truly my area of expertise.

My choices are Med-El that offers the Rondo “free” as a second processor. and nothing is free. The Rondo eats 675 batteries at a rate of three/week. That’s expensive. I know the pros and cons to the company (most importantly, they are not publicly-owned).

I’ve viewed the comparison chart a number of times. My biggest concern was the joules but the difference between them is small (I ride a motorcycle and just tend to drop them from a dead stop).

My other choice is AB. AB offers a second unit only if I go to a hospital in NC and the fact that the rep offered that info last week knowing I had been to Chapel Hill (I told them I would not go back to have surgery there) and am now going to TN (Vanderbilt). The AB rep. recommended Duke and I clearly said NO – I cannot go to a third hospital. She has recommended the Naida, of course. My concern is while NC hospitals offer a second processing unit, TN does not. It’s marketing, I get that, but it appears rather important.

I understand everyone processes sound differently. I grew up hearing and had the ability to listen to wonderful music. I’m also 59. So, an implant that lasts 20 years is likely beyond my lifespan based on family history.

Tina, if you feel this is beyond the scope of this forum, feel free not to post it. It’s crunch time and no audiologist from Vanderbilt has responded.

26 09 2013

If anyone wants to respond, be sure before you hit the “send” button. I’m mighty fed up with being asked to delete a string of blog posts.

27 09 2013
Amit Soni

I am planning MED-EL opus 2 bilateral cochlear implant for my 2.6 yrs old daughter. She loves water activity more than anything, so in future, I will have to go with Waterproof upgradation. Is MED-EL planning for waterproof implant in future? or I shall go with Advance Bionics which already has this option? Please guide me as the surgery date is already finalized which is 10th Oct. and I will have to finalize the implant before 3rd Oct.

4 10 2013

My dad will have his first implant on 14th of October. I did lot of research on the different devices available and which should we choose and why. I like Med-El for having full cochlear coverage. I like Cochlear for 22 electrodes and I like Advanced Bionics for their 16 independent current sources of 16 electrodes so it should be programmed better for better sound recognition. I checked comparison charts many times, I read all the reviews. All messages, all videos on different implants were checked. From the charts it looked like Med-El has better cochlear coverage with their custom electrodes array and so deepest penetration but our surgeon said that this may cause my dad face muscles to twitch and may have to turn off a few electrodes. After considering everything, I made up my mind to go with Advanced Bionics new processor Naida ClQ70 with mid-scala implant. To order the implant I met with my dads audiologist. She’s helping patients and programming these devices in our university hospital since 1989. I asked her all the questions I had. She answered all then she said, “well whatever your are saying about the devices and their specifications is true but frankly they all work the same and no matter what you choose for any reason you will not regret. None of these are bad. I have seen best performers and really bad performers on all three devices. She added if you had come a few months ago then I would have asked you to avoid Advanced Bionics but I recently went to their new software training and I am impressed with their new technologies and their new device Naida ClQ70 is really nice.”
I still believe her recommendation to go with Advanced Bionics was only because she felt that I was more inclined towards it. I chose AB because I was told that its voice zoom and clear voice technology helps better. So I was thinking even if the device doesn’t perform the best, still it has bluetooth which will help in talking on the phone, watching tv, and connecting ipad etc. My father loves to watch TV so I thought it would be helpful.
I never took Cochlear as an option because I thought its too old and with only one current source for all their 22 electrodes there is not much you can do with the software and so the devices are not future safe. But now I think, even though my first impression was right but still, what they have currently is more than enough for a person to listen and communicate probably even better than any other device.

30 01 2014

My PERSONAL feelings, you hit the nail on the head with Cochlear. My oldest son has had his AB CI for 12 years now, and he’s had multiple SIGNIFICANT updates to his internal processor and external equipment which are just terrific. He is really liking music, and even wearing his Neptune in the school pool. When he received his new processor with voice zoom and clear voice technology, he noticed a HUGE immediate improvement in his speech recognition. An update from my older writing, he’s fully mainstreamed in 10th grade now, with no FM system, only using his cochlear implants.
With the implant company now under the hearing aide company, the bluetooth integration is wonderful, too.
I can only speak personally re: Advanced Bionics, but we are absolutely thrilled that we chose this brand. Simply put: excellent upgrades of all equipment (internal and external), waterPROOF (not “water resistant”), music recognition. I don’t care how many wires/electrodes are in the head, if you don’t have the processing power to handle a large window of input to accommodate speech AND music, you’re missing something.
My deaf son, with his CI, talks on the phone, plays the clarinet, is fully mainstreamed in school w/o any additional audio accommodation, I very highly recommend Advanced Bionics. 🙂

12 05 2014

I got CI in 20th Feb2014 after a long process and waiting. UCLH show me few companies lop and aid to chose so I select one (simple small remote control) and they put the other one in my head (bigger manual) that I havnt selected that I come to know when they call me to activate the lop and aid on 02 April 2014 …. I was very disappointed staff said we are sorry its first case in the history of University Collage London Hospital. As I see that I was shocked and though not to use it but I havnt got any other option so I let them activate it. I am constantly using it but there is no difference I cant recognize any voice/word but I do detect most of sound now .. I would like to say I let them did a terrible thing to me because from my left ear I can hear 30%and in right ear (CI) some disturbance voices I don’t know how long it will take that I will be able to hear properly or at least some…..
In my opinion CI should be for complete deaf person.
What I can do about their mistake/negligence I am very unhappy and there is no peace of mind.
Any suggestion , idea.


21 07 2014

You mention that sometimes a cochlear transplant will eliminate tinnitus for those people who are afflicted with this symptom. Can I just add that in my experience (and I bow down to those who are far more clued up than I) that this is probably down to the retraining of the auditory sections in the brain after the implant as this type of retraining therapy does have quite a good success rate with tinnitus sufferers.

5 08 2014
Pamela Pawlik

Has anyone heard of repeated failures of Cochlear’s CI512? I went through the fiasco of explant and reimplant in August of 2011 due to intermittent failures of a 3-month old implant. I was reimplanted with another CI512 two weeks prior to Cochlear’s recall (and before root cause of the failure had been determined). Yesterday I experienced a brief intermittent failure and don’t know if it was just a fluke or an indication of future total failure as it happened three years ago. I’m trying not to panic and am hoping to learn of any information regarding a repeated experience of this type of failure.

7 08 2014

Thanks for this blog.. I appreciate the insight you’ve provided for someone who is deciding on a cochlear implant… I am bilaterally implanted myself with the Medel. I’ve been using their new Opus2 processor on one ear (I can’t wear bilateral at this time because insurance won’t cover anything). I got Opus 2 as a result of an upgrade which made my old processor obsolete, and I am VERY disappointed.

First, the equipment is very cheap- I’ve had it a year, and the battery prongs are already bent. I am sure this has some affect on the amount of batteries I use- but it is absurd that I have to use 9+ 675 batteries a WEEK.(these things are NOT cheap!) Oh, listen to music on headphones, you’re gonna burn through more. It is absolutely ridiculous.

I was stoked when I found out about Opus 2- a digital, remote operated that was supposed to be better all around. BUT the remote is a joke- the first time I used the Telecoil setting- that acts like a bluetooth on the phone and eliminates all background noise: BUT it shorted my car’s computer! Soo after that FIRST experience, I haven’t used that setting; and thus don’t get this perk.. Sadly though, the remote barely works half the time..

Sorry to be so negative regarding the Medel.. in the 13 years I’ve had them, it’s hit and miss on the quality for sure… they should start putting “Buyer beware” as I have had “new” equipment break same day I receive them! worst experience EVER for me- and sadly-unless I disconnect completely- it’s never ending.

Ps. is a good place to buy a variety of batteries, at low cost.

23 08 2014

I am trying to figure out how my father will do with an implant, and learning to hear all over again, for he has dementia and is getting worse. With the therapist helping him, I am afraid he will not comprehend why he is there. Has anyone gone thru this with their parent. Thanks.

22 10 2014

I will have a CI tomorrow. Since I am an IT consultant and used a Phonak with Compilot for years, I decided to go with .Advanced Bionics I was impressed with the latest technology for communication with my clients via Bluetooth on my cell phone. Also, I like that I can use the Compilot with with both my hearing aid in my left ear with the cochlear in my right ear.

During the month of March, 2014, my right ear took a dive and never regain.

23 10 2014

Good luck James! AB have such a great product 🙂

27 10 2014

My CI surgery on 10/23/2014 went well. Now, the waiting time for the post-op visits. I only had one crazy experience when I coughed during the first day while walking back to my house with the mail in my hands. I actually went sideways against my wall and ended up having ringing in my ear that evening. My advice, leave the mail in the mailbox until you have rested for a few days. Checks and bills are not going to fly away and do not forget to open your mouth when you cough.

27 10 2014

Congratulations James – and don’t blow your nose! That will knock you into next week.

26 12 2018

Hee hee. I’m really enjoying reading this forum! Thanks Tina for the incredible amount of work you do.

25 07 2016
Dr.Rakesh Sood

Thanks for Sharing this Great Blog

30 01 2017
Blog and websites about HAS and CIS ⋆ The Buzz

[…] Blog on CI – Thinking of getting an cochlear implant or want to know more about your implant? Check out this blog. […]

13 09 2017

I have had 2 cochlear implants for about 10 years and have male pattern baldness (a little tuff around the head), Not a great amount of hair to cover the button (I have the new Kanso’s w/o any BTE)…. I was always wondering if I could fill in the hair with a hair transplant to make a fuller area of hair where the button piece magnet is…. perhaps a strange question, but for so long I wished to know if a hair transplant in the implant area is doable or not and would jeopardize the internals themself….. thanks for your thoughts.

26 11 2017
Scott Bradley

Why don’t they make a fully implantable WIRELESS electrode with a wireless power supply.

With one or two minurature Wireless movable mics. These mics could be placed any where the user wants to put them. One could wear them as a tie-clip, necklace, brooch or even earrings.

All driven by a Wireless sound processor/power device. Like an iPhone type device. This wireless sound processor/power supply devise could be kept in your pocket or purse and still serve all sound processing and power functions.

Completely invisible.

Much smaller internal processor would be needed. No wires, no magnates. Far less intrusive and traumatic surgery. So much less stuff to cram into ones head.

Somebody please tell me why the CI industry has not imbraced modern technology?

With the exception of, a soft bendable electrode array, there has not been any significant advance since 1980. This fact is a travesty and quite frankly disgusting.

They are developing electrodes that can stimulate sight. Crystal Liquid Polymers. (CLP). CI’s still use the same technology they did in three decades ago. Use this new technology to dramatically enhance CI electrode. Come on Big 3 get with it and offer your customers something that is state of the art. Seriously.

The industry has access to technology, especially electrode technology, that could revolutionize this device.

Help me understand why this industry hasn’t embraced 21st century technology.

Perplexed and Concerned

8 09 2018
tushar pandey

thanks for the blog
Having a cochlear implant implanted isn’t Plug ‘n Play. It’s like a computer – Garbage In, Garbage Out. You will need to work with the cochlear implant to help it along, and retrain your brain to recognise the new sounds. So, as well as keeping your expectations low, you need to do some rehabilitation work to get the most out of your implant.
can you explain this?

13 11 2019

Hi. You need to train your brain really to recognise sounds, understand them, and especially when understanding speech. With a hearing aid, however, you just put it in and it transmits sounds to your ear. With the CI, your brain does the work of hearing, not your ear.

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