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Cochlear Implants

Cochlear implants are one way of managing hearing loss; they are electronic devices that help if you have severe-profound deafness. Having a cochlear implant fitted is a surgical procedure. An internal receiver is fitted under anaesthetic, which then attaches to an external speech processor by a magnet. This not usually attached until about four weeks later to allow the skin to heal.

It works by stimulating the hearing nerve with small amounts of electrical current. The nerve then sends signals to the brain where they are interpreted as sound. 

You may already have one or be assessed for one in the future. As part of exploring if a cochlear implant may be suitable, you will come in for an appointment to see several different professionals. These might include:

  • Audiological scientists, who carry out hearing tests
  • An ear, nose and throat consultant, who will talk about the operation  
  • Speech and language therapists who can help access your listening and spoken language skills. 
  • Teachers of the deaf

There are others in the team including a psychologist who you might see. They can help with managing your feelings about going for surgery and changes alongside signposting to other services for emotional support if needed.

Cochlear implant surgery is usually done as a day case although you may need to stay overnight if you live far away or the team need to keep an eye on you. Surgery if you are under 16 years old takes place at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children. If you are over 16 years old it takes place in the adult hospital, the BRI.

You can find out more about the assessment, having surgery and looking after your cochlear implant here