How well you will do with your cochlear implant depends to a large extent on how much time you spend wearing it and working at listening to lay down a mental map or ‘database’ of sounds. It is particularly important that children wear the cochlear implant for every waking hour that they can, to maximise the window of opportunity they have.

Spend as much time as you can on training your brain to recognise sounds. It will take some time to ‘unlearn’ your old hearing-aided sounds and relearn the cochlear implant-aided sounds. The key is patience, persistence and practice.

Where possible, I have attempted to include British English sources for rehabilitation.

This document is continuously updated by an audiologist, Tina Childress: Apps for Kids and Adults with Hearing Loss.


Find Sounds – check out different sounds. Great for starting off your rehabilitation.

Soundboard – over 294,000 sounds to listen to.

National Trust – Time to Think. A collection of sounds to help train your ear.

Bird calls – RSPB has an identification website which plays typical calls. They also sell a CD, British Bird Sounds, for £16.40


The Listening Room

Listen to English – podcasts for English learners, with script (British)

Learning English: English at Work – podcasts and scripts, up to 7 mins long (British)

BBC – Learning English

BBC Radio 4 – podcasts

Audio Book Radio – internet radio channel

UK shipping forecasts and transcripts

Maritime Coastguard Agency

Storynory – Children’s stories

HearBuilder for children

Aesop’s Fables

English Listening Comprehension Exercises

Digital Dialects – language learning games

Jerry Seinfeld – 3 short video clips which change each day. No captions.

Your local library: Borrow audio books with tape or CD and read whilst listening. Make sure it is an unabridged version, which is word-for-word.    Tip: Read a few pages ahead of time so you are  aware of the story before you hear it.

Free unabridged audio books are available from The Audio Book store

Free Books


Digital Audio Books



Try the unabridged version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. This is read by Stephen Fry who has a lovely clear voice.  It’s cheaper to download the audio book from iTunes (to your pc or MP3 player) rather than buy the CD from stores such as Waterstones.

Randall’s ESL Lab – Choose easy or medium or hard, take tests, use the quiz scripts to read along and listen. Different voices are used – very handy as some voices might be easier for you to follow than others.

ESL Independent Study Lab

Career Player has short videos of careers advice. Click on the page icon under the video to call up the accompanying transcript.

Lip reading classes will help you. You can find a local lipreading class at ATLA.

Computer based lipreading training programme, Seeing & Hearing Speech – Available from the USA ($85)

Computer based training programme, Phonomena, which reinforces the brain’s ability to distinguish between phonemes, the building blocks of language. Tests have shown that this language based training programme is of benefit to implant users. Available from the UK (£40)

Mighty Book

Medel’s Sound-Scape for adults

Many Things – Words in American English

Auditory Verbal Training – A list of resources for newly implanted teens and adults.

CI Rehab Not Just For Kids

ESL Cyber Listening Lab – Listening activities by topic.

Tellitagan – Children’s stories.

Voice of America News – Available in different languages.

For something more difficult, try Jeff Wayne’s musical version of The War of the Worlds. (text)

Learners Dictionary – This website has exercises to help you perfect your pronunciation. You can listen and follow the text, choose activities that highlight certain sounds, or that focus on syllable stress.

Wav Central – On this website, you can type in text and listen as the computer generated voice speaks it or select from a number of sound samples collected from movies, TV shows, and commercials, many of which have the text written out for you to follow.

Basic English Class – Listening practice with words, sentences, songs and short stories. Lyrics and text provided with the audio files.

Medlineplus – Listen and learn about medical conditions

Weather – Spoken weather reports (with background music) and some text

BCS Bedford St Martins – Learn about and learn to differentiate orchestral music and instruments

Thirteen – Name that instrument. Listen to a short sound clip and then pick out the correct instrument out of a group of 4-5 different choices.

Caroline Bowen – For use with a listening coach, this site contains downloadable lists of words called “minimal pairs” (for example, tip/chip) that can be used to practice differentiating similar sounding words. Start with the discrimination level (do the words sound the same or different?), and move on to identification of each word.

Text-to-Speech – TTS (Text-To-Speech) is the creation of audible speech from computer readable text. Type up to 300 characters and listen to your result.

Elllo – They have great pictures and the voices are really natural. The games are varied but the idea is listen to a clip, answer a question and then move on.

Many Things – Modeled after the child’s card game “Memory”, the object of this game is to listen to short sound clips and find matches. There are no pictures or words provided – listening only!

Beenleigss – A wonderful site with links to dozens of stories that vary by levels of difficulty.

University of Iowa: Phonetics – Very detailed website about how consonants and vowels are produced including video clips and audio clips demonstrating the sounds.

Browsealoud – Download a free screenreader, such as this one. With your mouse, you select words on the computer screen and the program will read them to you.

miRoamer – The world’s largest and widest collection of internet audio content in one platform – for free.

Internet Archive – Audio – over two hundred thousand free digital recordings ranging from alternative news programming, to Grateful Dead concerts, to Old Time Radio shows, to book and poetry readings, to original music uploaded by users. Many of these audios and MP3s are available for free download.

A handbook for educators – Teaching children who listen with a cochlear implant

Facebook video: English language in 24 accents


* Cell phones are rated for microphone and telecoil compatibility (United States Federal Communications Commission).
* Phones rated M3 or M4 meet or surpass the standard for microphone compatibility, with M4 being the best.
* Phones rated T3 or T4 meet or surpass the standard for telecoil compatibility, with T4 being the best.
* If there is no M or T rating, the handset has not been tested or does not meet the ANSI standard.
* Telecoil is like an invisible assistive listening system delivering sound by magnetic induction. Try using your telecoil to talk on a cell phone.
* Test handsets in cellular providers’ stores prior to buying.
* Explore cell phone accessories to enhance your telephone listening experience.

Advanced Bionics offer telephone practice with tip sheets. (USA)

Cochlear offer telephone training. (USA)

The Speaking Clock (UK) or Last Call Return (US and other countries)


Dig out music tracks you are familiar with and keep listening to them. Sit back and enjoy instrumentals without straining to hear the lyrics. Here’s one where Amanda said the opening blew the magnet off her head (no lyrics):
Rockit by Herbie Hancock (1983)
Autodrive by Herbie Hancock: MTV video, semi-live video.

Music links – archive of music sites to explore

The Virtual Piano – playable on any OS platform

Advanced Bionics offer Musical Atmospheres (free for AB users) and is available online or on CD, where new music is discovered through 3 hours of recorded musical examples, each containing increasing levels of complexity in musical appreciation, helping to establish a firm foundation for musical memory. AB also offer A Musical Journey through the Rainforest and Music Time for children.

Med El offer Noise Carriers, a musical composition available on CD from – see Listen,Hear! newsletter no.20 for further information.

Cochlear offer Sound and Way Beyond, a computer-assisted training program based on House Ear Institute’s research, and Hope Notes.


Lyrics in music can be quite difficult. Subtitled music tracks can be found on YouTube.

Cochlear Implant Music Scene

Most of the current cochlear implant systems offer a wide variety of accessories designed for a variety of different listening situations. These include – Lapel Microphones, Lapel Clips, Ear Hooks, Telecoils, FM Cables, TV/Hi-Fi Cables, Personal Audio Cables, Processor & Battery Pouches, Conference Microphones, Direct input cables for Mobile Telephones.

With an Advanced Bionics cochlear implant, you can use a computer headset exactly how people with normal hearing use them. Just put them on, and listen with the T-mics. With the iPod, there are two solutions. The regular ear buds direct the sound into the ear canal, which isn’t quite right. Some people use them that way, though. You can use on-the-ear headphones (not the big over-the-ear type) or earbud modifications v2 (courtesy of Howard, Tom & Sam) to block out background noise.


3 responses

22 02 2010

Thanks for all this info. Very helpful……….even more so when the op is finally done. Really looking forward to seeing how you get on with the CI and clearvoice.
Best wishes,

14 01 2011
Dan Schwartz

I’d like to add to your article that the missing ingredient when buying hearing aids is often auditory rehabilitation (AR), especially for those who are sold hearing aids for mild to moderately severe hearing loss like we have. AR is typically given along with speech therapy for hearing impaired children, and is especially important. AR is also (usually) included at some of the 250 CI centers in the US, and at all 23 CI centers in the UK:

* To underscore the importance of what happens when AR is not done, one need only watch the superb and touching HBO documentary “Hear and Now,” as filmmaker Irene Taylor Brodsky accidentally documents what happened when her parents did .NOT. get the AR they needed. Please see my detailed review on the “Hear and Now” page for a more extensive discussion of this issue.

* Well-respected Univ. of California-San Francisco (UCSF) audiology professor Robert Sweetow has the very good Neurotone “LACE Listening Program” AR (auditory therapy) DVD and Web based program with many dozens of exercises. I have received good reports from audiologists, including one who dispenses hearing aids and includes it in her package. There are sample exercises you can download on the Neurotone website.

Dan Schwartz
Editor, The Hearing Blog
Cherry Hill, New Jersey

1 04 2011
Dan Schwartz

Here is an article in The Hearing Blog I co-authored titled Auditory Therapy: The Missing Ingredient that goes into additional detail as to the importance of auditory therapy, especially for infants and small children; as well as providing many additional resources beyond Tina’s already-extensive list above.

In addition, the article has a very important comment by well-renowned New York City pediatric Audiologist Dr Jane Madell, PhD, which bears repeating here:

“There is a lot of evidence that indicates that there is a window of opportunity to learn to use hearing. The research of Shama and Dorman shows that auditory brain development is accomplished before age 7 or is difficult to accomplish. The extensive Moog and Geers study also shows that children who learn to use hearing early have significantly better skills, including reading, than children who do not learn to use hearing. One reason for this may be that English and ASL have different grammars so if a child is using ASL as their basic language they are communicating in a different language than the one used for reading. The words may be similar but the word order is not. It would be difficult to speak English at home and try to learn to read Italian. They are different languages. Same with spoken English and ASL. This is not to say that ASL is a bad thing but it is important to understand the effect of using ASL on academic skills. The research on brain plasticity is extensive. It is accomplished best in the first few years of life. My experience as a pediatric audiologist for more than 40 years has convinced me that if we do not fit appropriate technology and provide appropriate therapy to kids in the early years, giving them auditory information later in life, even in teen years, is not successful. I have seen too many disappointed families when kids who had not been taught to use hearing got CI’s [cochlear implants Ed.] as teens and could not use them. On the other hand, kids who had hearing aids and auditory therapy, even if they were struggling, do learn to use CI’s when they get them later. On the other hand, after developing auditory skills, kids can learn to sign and then have use of both systems. Unfortunately, it does not work the other way around. if it did, things would be easier. But it does not work.]

[Comment by Jane Madell — January 30, 2011 @ 1:05 pm]

Lastly, for the readers in the UK and EU, the HBO documentary Hear and Now is also available from as well as; and DVD’s from both sources are region-free, i.e. they will play on any DVD player worldwide.

Dan Schwartz
Editor, The Hearing Blog
Cherry Hill, New Jersey

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